Monday 9 December 2013

Harissa, a winter delight that Kashmir loves

Harissa is a very popular meat preparation which is made for breakfast. It is usually slow cooked for many hours, with spices. And yes, hand stirred for hours and hours. With the sharp dip in temperature, Harissa is the most preferred delicacy in winter in Srinagar.

It is said that concept of Harissa making was brought to Kashmir by Mirza Hyder Duglat of Yarkand during Chak period in 1540. Some historians attribute Harissa’s origin in Kashmir to Central Asia, which influenced the art, custom, rituals, belief and the food-culture of the Kashmir. And thus they got the blessing in the form of a flavoursome delight, now known as Harissa.

Harissas' roots can also be traced to the Mughal period. It was during Afghan rule of Kashmir that Harissa was formally introduced in its present form in the Valley. At that time economic condition of Kashmir was so weak that they could not afford to relish Harissa. They boiled turnips as they were cheap as the alternative to Harissa. Gradually two Harissa shops were opened at Aali Kadal and Saraf Kadal in Shahar-e-Khaas which used to be thronged by customers.  But one at Aali Kadal was famous as it added milk to the delicacy. People gifted it to each other after they used to win bet of the snowfall. Harissa has now become a part and parcel of the culture.

The recipe that I have tried, and can vouch for :) and this time I wanted to prepare it especially because everyone told me its very complex, which it is not but does require loads of patience.


Meat (lamb) - 1 kg (chopped into very small pieces)
Garlic - 4 cloves
Onions (chopped in chunks) - 2 medium
Dried ginger powder (shounth) - 1 tablespoon
Salt (to taste)
Water - 1 liter

Cinnamon stick (daalchini) - 2
Big brown cardamom (badi elaichi) - 4
Green cardamoms (choti elaichi) - 8
Cloves (laung) - 4
Peppercorn (kali mirch) - 8
Fennel seeds (sauf, not powder) - 1/2 cup

Rice flour - 1/2 cup

Oil - 1 and 1/2 cup
Shallots (praan) - 4 (for garnish)

Whole Spices
Whole Spices (Fennel seeds)

  1. Add meat, garlic, onion, ginger powder, salt and water in a pressure cooker.
  2. Tie up the whole spices (cinnamon stick, cardamom, green cardamoms, cloves, peppercorn, black cumin, fennel seeds) into a small muslin cloth (potli), drop it in the pressure cooker.
  3. Cook on Medium-high heat, after 2 whistles turn down the heat to simmer.
  4. Let it simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. 
  5. Turn off the heat and leave it like that till all the pressure is released.
  6. Open the lid of pressure cooker and stir with a wooden spoon till all the ingredients mix up.
  7. Remove the bones, if any
  8. Discard whole spices from the potli
  9. Put the rice flour in 1 cup cold water and make a paste (USE COLD WATER).
    Rice Flour Paste
  10. Put the pressure cooker back on flame and add the rice flour paste and keep stirring the mixture.
  11. Add about 1 cup oil.
  12. Cook it on medium high heat, stirring every 2 minutes until you get the desired consistency (maybe for about 45 minutes to an hour) till oil starts leaving the sides of the cooker.

  13. For garnishing, cut the shallots in long slices, heat oil to very high temperature and fry shallots till they are crunchy golden brown, don't let the shallots turn black and avoid breaking the sliced onions in the pan.
  14. Serve hot with crispy fried shallots (along with all the oil) on top, preferably with Kashmiri bread.

PS: Chop the meat into very small pieces so that you won't require much more stirring.
When reheating before serving, if the consistency is too thick, add few 3-4 spoonful of milk.

Saturday 23 November 2013


Tehri was a Sunday lunch in childhood. 'Tehri' is yellow rice with potato and peas, I had a different version with meat once at a friends place and have not forgotten the taste yet. So a while back when my taste buds asked for it I was on phone talking to my friend and asked his mom for the recipe, thanks to her for the recipe.



Mutton, cut into pieces - 1/2 kg
Onion (chopped) - 1 large
Ginger (paste) - 1 table spoon
Garlic (crushed) - 4 cloves
Turmeric powder (Haldi) - 2 teaspoon
Chili powder - 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder (Dhania) - 1 teaspoon
Bay leaves - 2
Cumin Seeds (Zeera) - ½ teaspoon
Garam masala - 1 and ½ teaspoon (alternatively use crushed - cloves 2, black pepper 5, green cardamom 1 and black cardamom 1)
Salt (to taste)
Oil - 3  table spoon

Potato (cut into quarter) - 2 large
Green Chilli (cut into half) - 2
Green Peas - 1 bowl
Rice (basmati) - 1/2 kg

  1. Add 3 table spoon oil to a cooker.
  2. Once oil is hot add onions, fry till they turn golden brown in colour. 
  3. Add ginger and garlic and stir for some time.
  4. Add meat and salt, and stir it until medium brown.
  5. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder and continue to stir until oil separates.
  6. Add bay leaves and cumin seeds, stir for another minute.
  7. Add Garam Masala and stir for another 30 seconds
  8. Add 1/2 cup water and close the pressure cook lid.
  9. Cook until meat gets tender.
  10. Open the lid and add potato and green peas, cook for 2 minutes.
  11. Add rice, green chilly, water.

  12. Taste salt, add if necessary.
  13. Cover it with a heavy lid to prevent the steam from escaping. 
  14. Cook on low heat for about 15-20 minutes. 

Serve hot with pickles.

Sunday 8 September 2013

Mint Chicken Curry ( Pudina murgh )


Chicken - 1
Onions - 4 (sliced)
Curd - 1 cup

Black Pepper - 8
Green Cardamom - 7
Cloves - 5
Cumin Seed - 1 teaspoon
Cinnamom - 2 small stick
Red Chilli - 1 tea spoon (or to taste)
Salt (to taste)

Ginger Paste - 1 teaspoon 
Garlic Paste - 1 teaspoon 
Coriander Leaves - 2 table spoon (chopped)
Mint Leaves -  2 table spoon (chopped)

  1. Crush together 8 black peppers, 5 green cardamom, 5 cloves, 1 teaspoon cumin Seed and 1 small stick cinnamon.
  2. Add salt, red chilli, ginger and garlic paste to the spice mix.
  3. Take 2 big onions, slice and fry them, then make a paste of the fried onions and mix 1 cup curd to it. Add to spice mix.
  4. Add fresh coriander leaves and mint leaves.
  5. Take a baby chicken and marinate it in the above paste and leave for 2-3 hours in the fridge.
  6. Again take 1-2 onions, slice and sauté till golden brown. Add 1 small stick cinnamon, 2 black cardamom to it. 
  7. Add the marinated chicken mixture and bring to boil.
  8. Then cover and cook on low heat till chicken is properly done and oil separates out.

Thursday 29 August 2013

Chard Ghosht

Recipe that I have tried, and can vouch for :)

This is a combined version of 2 different dishes, sakhpaita (spinach and lentils) and daal ghosht (lentils and meat)


Green lentils (Moong dal) - about 2 cups
Lamb (small pieces diced) - ½ kg
Swiss chard (finely sliced) - 1 bunch
Coriander (chopped) - 1 Bunch

Onion (chopped) - 2
Garlic (finely chopped) - 4 cloves

Ground cumin - ½ teaspoon
Black pepper  - 5
Salt to taste

Olive oil - ½ cup
Lemon juice - 1 tablespoon
Water - 6 cups


  1. Pressure cook the lentils with the water, then simmer until the lentils are nearly cooked.
  2. In a separate pot, sauté the onion with half the olive oil for 5 minutes, then add the meat, cumin, salt and black pepper, cook until brown.
  3. Add lentils with their cooking water and cook for about 15 minutes until the lentils and meat are almost cooked.
  4. In a skillet, add remaining olive oil, sauté the garlic, add the coriander and cook for 1 minute. Stir in to the lentils.
  5. Add Swiss chard and lemon juice and cook over low heat for 3 minutes, and then remove from the heat.

Saturday 27 April 2013


This super-simple Italian dessert actually benefits from being made ahead, as this gives it time for all the lovely flavours to mingle.



Espresso coffee (strong, cooled to room temperature) - 2-3 cups
Eggs (separated) - 2
Caster sugar - 1/4 cup
Mascarpone cheese - 250 gram
Cream (heavy whipping cream or any cream with more than 36% milkfat) - 1 cup
Sponge Fingers - 250 Gram
Cocoa powder (for dusting)
Hazelnut (roasted and chopped, for dusting)


1. Put the egg YOLKS and sugar in a large bowl
2. Beat until mixture goes pale and thick
3. Add mascarpone and beat lightly to combine
4. It does not matter if it is marbled slightly
5. Whip the cream until stiff peaks hold, and fold gently into the egg mixture (use a spatula, or a metal spoon) - DO NOT BEAT
6. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks in a perfectly clam metal bowl (if there is any grease, they won't whip properly; make sure you rinse and dry your beaters well)
Egg White

7. Fold the whites into the cream  - DO NOT BEAT
8. It is important to retain as much air as possible
Mascarpone and Egg White mix

9. For serving you can use a big dish or individual glasses
10. Put coffee in a bowl
11. Dip sponge fingers in coffee one at a time (make sure to take the biscuit out quickly else it soaks a lot of coffee)
12. Drain well
13. Layer in your dish with sponge fingers, covering the whole bottom
Bottom Sponge Finger Layer

14. Place half of mascarpone mix on top and spread out
15. Repeat with remaining sponge fingers
Top Sponge Finger Layer

16. Smooth surface with mascarpone mix (finishing with creamy layer)

Topped with Mascarpone mix

17. Refrigerate overnight
18. Dust with cocoa and hazelnut (may use spoon to create layered effect)

PS: If using glasses for serving, break sponge fingers up into pieces that will fit in your glasses and do the same soaking and layering as above.
Do not oversoak the sponge fingers in coffee, take the sponge fingers out of coffee quickly.