Caraway, the fine dining Indian restaurant at the Grand, is running a Kashmiri food festival until the 30th of January and it is not to be missed.
Festivals are happening aplenty but what separates this is that it showcases mainly Kashmiri Pandit cuisine. For the uninitiated, Kashmiri Pandit cuisine differs (from the Muslim cuisine) insofar that it does not use garlic and onions. Also, there are many more vegetarian dishes to choose from and the festival clearly showcases that.
Chef Sanjay Browne and Sunil Tickoo, who runs a hospitality company -Saal, are responsible for putting up this superb menu together and dishes are full bodied in flavour and take you back to the beautiful land of Kashmir.
The vegetarian dishes especially stole the show, not because the non-vegetarian dishes were bad but simply because the taste and flavours (and dishes) of the veg dishes were so unique.
The var – a kashmiri khichdi – the meal began with was exemplary. Simple food cooked with tremendous precision and balance takes it to a different level and this one dish exemplified that.
The other highlight veg dish is the chok wangun (khatte baingan). Cooked in tamarind and staple spices in the Kashmiri food stable – hing, fennel and saunth – it tasted wonderful.
The haak and the nadur yakhni were the other superstars. Suprisingly, the nadur in the nadur yakhni was so well cooked that it increased the yakhni taste no end.
My favourite non veg dish was the delectable Musch Ollu Bukhara. Minced mutton is filled with sweet plums and then cooked in a delightful, spicy Kashmiri chilli curry, this was a very novel dish for me and one that worked brilliantly.
Though Kashmiri cuisine does not have many desserts but I was pleasantly surpised with the Shufta. Shufta is basically a rich dry fruit and fruit mixture that is cooked in a buttery sauce. The description does not do justice to the taste – rustic, very rich and oh so tasty. Go for it.
The food at the festival is like having a delicious meal at someone’s home overlooking the snowy peaks of the magical land that is Kashmir. The food clearly takes you back there, there is always Google images for the snow sigh!