Jammu & Kashmir is the northern most state of India which shares a border with Himachal Pradesh and Punjab in the south and an international border with China & Pakistan in the East, North East and Pakistan in the west. Jammu Kashmir consists of three regions; Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Srinagar is the summer capital and Jammu is the winter capital of the state. Kashmir is beautiful with its mountain landscape and Jammu has many Hindu shrines. Ladakh is scantly populated region of the state that lies between the Kunlun mountain range and the Himalayas. The culture in this region is similar to that of Tibet and is mostly inhabited by Buddhists.
One of my first school trips from school was to Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi and Agra. I was so young that I hardly remember anything from the trip. All I remember from Jammu & Kashmir is the boat ride on Dal Lake, the boar houses and a horseback ride in Srinagar. I do not remember anything about the cuisine.
Kashmiri cuisine is influenced largely by the Kashmir Pandits and the Buddhists. Later the cuisine was influenced by the Persians, Central Asians and the Mughals. Most of the Pandits are non-meat eaters but the Kashmiri Pandits are an exception. Meat is an integral part of the cuisine however, beef is forbidden and Muslim Kashmiris respect this as well and follow the Kashmiriyat. Kashmiriyat is the ethnic, social and cultural values of Kashmiris. Kashmiri Pandits cuisine uses lots of yogurt, oil and spices such as red chili powder, ginger powder, fennel and do not use onions and garlic.
Wazwan is a multicourse meal in the Kashmiri Muslim tradition. Almost all the dishes are meat based and beef is generally not served in Srinagar area but is cooked in other districts of the state. Some of the popular dishes from of the state are Rogan Josh, Yakhni a yogurt based lamb gravy, Rista a gravy with meatballs, Syoon Olav ~ meat with potatoes, Syoon Pulav ~ meat pulao, Dum Olav ~ whole potatoes in a spicy gravy are a few name. Tea is also an integral part of Kashmiris. It is often served in place of desserts. Some of the popular flavors of tea from this region are Sheer Chai, a salted tea with almonds and Kehwah a sweet green tea with almonds and cardamom.
Deciding a dish for this state was an easy task for me. I first thought of Dum Aloo or Dum Olav but soon changed it to Rogan Josh. I decided on the dish without even doing any research on the cuisine. When I was looking for Rogan Josh recipes, I came across many recipes and almost all the recipes used yogurt but onion was also part of the ingredient list. But the ingredients that caught my attention were almonds in some of the recipes. I knew no matter which recipe I followed, with or without almonds, I knew it would taste good. Also other ingredients were onions and poppy seeds. Some recipes used it and some did not. That is when I started researching about the cuisine and found that traditional Kashmiri Pandits do not use onions and nor do they use almonds and poppy seeds. Off course the Rogan Josh is such a popular dish that the recipe has transformed over the years to suite the palate of the people. In fact, I was surprised when more than half the results on the first page of Google search were from non-Indian sites and blogs. That explains how popular this dish is worldwide. Anyway, I was glad I did some research on Kashmiri cuisine and that made it easy for me to shortlist the Rogan Josh recipe. And I think the recipe I chose is a traditional Kashmiri Pandit recipe.
Source: Creative Chandra
Total Time: 45 minutes + time for the pressure from the cooker to subside
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4 – 6
- 1 kg or 2.2 lbs. Goat Meat (I used little over 1 kg, 1.054 kgs. or 2.3 lbs. and can also use lamb. I used the meat from the goat leg, with bone)
- 6 tbsp. Oil
- 1/8 – ¼ tsp. Asafetida (I don’t use Asafetida in cooking so added less than ¼ tsp.)
- 1” – 2” Cinnamon Stick
- ½ tsp. Cumin Seeds
- 8 – 10 Green Cardamoms
- 4 Black Cardamoms
- 4 – 5 Bay Leaves
- 3 – 4 Cloves
- 1 ¼ – 1 ½ cups Yogurt
- 2 tbsp. Kashmiri Chili Powder
- 1 ½ tsp. Red Chili Powder (Adjust to taste)
- 1 tbsp. Ginger Powder
- 2 tsp. Fennel Seeds, Powdered
- ¼ tsp. Turmeric
- 3 – 4 tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 – 1 ½ cups of Water
- Wash goat meat and keep it in a colander or a strainer to drain the water. I usually buy a goat leg cut into small pieces.
- Crush cinnamon and keep aside.
- Heat oil in a pressure cooker, add asafetida, crushed cinnamon, ½ tsp. cumin seeds, 4 green cardamoms, black cardamoms, bay leaves, cloves and sauté on medium heat. I used a 4 liter cooker, 3 liter would work too, but at least a 4 liter cooker is recommended.
- Add goat meat and fry for 12 – 15 minutes or until all the juices released from the meat are absorbed and the meat turns brown.
- Add chili powders; Kashmiri chili powder and red chili powder, and yogurt. Fry until yogurt changes color and oil starts separating from the yogurt mixture. This will take about 8 – 10 minutes.
- Add ginger powder, fennel powder, turmeric, salt and give it a good stir until spices blend into the meat mixture.
- Add 1 cup of water, cover the pressure cooker and cook for 5 whistles on medium high – high flame and 3 minutes on low OR until the meat is cooked. Turn off the flame and keep the cooker aside. If cooking in a pan, add more water, cover and cook the meat on medium flame for about 30 minutes or until the meat is tender.
- Once the pressure drops, open the cooker and add more water to adjust the consistency of the gravy. The gravy was too thick and I added another ½ cup of water and boiled it for few minutes. If the gravy is too thin, boil it until the gravy thickens.
- Powder remaining ½ tsp. cumin seeds and 4-6 green cardamom and sprinkle it on the gravy. Give it a good stir.
- Taste the gravy and adjust salt and chili powder. If adding chili powder, cook it for a minute or two.
- Turn off the heat, cover the pressure cooker or pan to retain the aroma. Or transfer the meat to a serving bowl and keep it covered to retain the aroma.
- I used 1 ½ cups of yogurt and the gravy was thick. 1 – 1 ¼ cup might be enough. Adjust water accordingly.