Koshur Saal: Rediscovering Kashmiri Pandit cuisine at The Park Hyderabad

Chef Rahul Wali and Chef Sidakpreet Singh Kalra aim to revive the lesser-known Kashmiri Pandit cuisine through a special event, highlighting unique dishes made without onion and garlic.
Koshur Saal: Kashmiri Pandit Chronicles
Koshur Saal: Kashmiri Pandit ChroniclesPhoto | Express

HYDERABAD : “There is a Purana that mentions Pandits having non-vegetarian food in Kashmir,” says Chef Rahul Wali as he takes us through Kashmiri Pandit cuisine at the event “Koshur Saal: Kashmiri Pandit Chronicles,” happening at Aish, The Park Hyderabad, until June 30. As we indulge in this delightful and fulfilling meal, we have the opportunity to taste the food and speak with Chef Rahul Wali and Chef Sidakpreet Singh Kalra, who curated the menu.

As we sipped the traditional Kashmiri hot beverage, we interacted with both chefs. Chef Rahul Wali shared his knowledge about Kashmiri Pandit food, saying, “People are not aware of this cuisine, and secondly, it was dying. To keep it alive, we had to start doing events and festivals to create awareness. Personally, this is home food for me. I started commercially after COVID, but I’ve been in the industry for 25 years. I was primarily a Western chef, specialising in Mexican and Italian cuisines. Working physically in hotels, I focused on Western food. After leaving the hotel, I realised that in India, you need to focus on Indian food to survive. I had the golden opportunity of having the source and moving forward with this food. I’m still discovering many things about why these dishes are called what they are. For instance, green leafy vegetables like hank and other ingredients like chicken yakhni are unique.”

Chef Sidakpreet Singh Kalra
and Chef Rahul Wali
Chef Sidakpreet Singh Kalra and Chef Rahul WaliPhoto | Express

Chef Sidakpreet Singh Kalra added, “We have been friends for about 8-10 years now. We started with events and sit-down dinners, collaborating to make this happen. We began by studying regional cuisines of India, with a focus on Punjabi and Kashmiri food. We started doing festivals and promotions of our cuisine. If you look at the Punjabi community in Srinagar and Jammu, the food is similar, but we add onion and garlic. Punjabi cuisine has thicker gravy, but Kashmiri food is different.”

During our sumptuous meal, we started with Kabargah, made with mutton ribs stewed and fried to perfection, with subtle masala. Next, we had Buzith Gaad, fish marinated in Kashmiri spices. We then enjoyed Rogan Josh, mutton cooked in a Kashmiri red chilli-based curry, and Mutton Qaliya, mutton cooked in a turmeric and milk-based curry. These dishes paired perfectly with Saffron Naan and Lavaas bread, which are fulfilling additions to the meal. Surprisingly, all these dishes are made without onion and garlic, yet they taste fantastic. The dal and aloo dishes are excellent, and the Saffron Rice and Sabzi pulao are also great options on the menu.

For dessert, the Kong Phirni and Apple Kheer are musttries, and you won’t hesitate to have another bowl of these sweet delights. Overall, this food spread is amazing, and it’s your turn to taste these treats.

Kabargah, made with mutton ribs stewed and fried to perfection, with subtle masala.
Kabargah, made with mutton ribs stewed and fried to perfection, with subtle masala.Photo | Express

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