In winters, Kashmir turns into an aesthetic snow-carpeted heaven. As the temperature in the valley decreases, it’s beauty increases. This relatively severe winter calls for hot drinks and comforting meals to warm the soul! Even when winter temperatures dip well below freezing, Kashmiris still venture outside for the piping hot comfort of street food.
From masale tsot, to nader monje and the kenke masal there is a plethora of snacks to choose from. Churned out along the length and breadth of the valley, these popular street snacks are cater to the passionate foodies all through the year, but take on an extra dollop of deliciousness during the cold winter months.
Ready to take your taste buds on a captivating tour? Then forget about fancy restaurants and cafeterias (at least for now), because you’re gonna discover the best of street foods in Kashmir this winter!
Loosen your belt and enjoy the trip!
1. Masale Tsot:The ultimate Kashmiri go-to snack, masale tsot is an ultimate crowd-pleaser. It incorporates a selection of hearty, healthy and local ingredients into a wrap. It consists of a lavaas bread stuffed with flavoured mashed chickpeas and generously slathered with a spicy chutney made up of curd, onions, radish and spices.
2. Nader Monje:This is the Kashmiri version of French fries. This delicacy is made with lotus stems cut into slender fries like shapes, which are dipped into a batter of gram flour and rice flour and then deep-fried in oil with a pinch of salt. The crispy outer texture of these tasty fritters leave behind a taste that’ll keep you craving for more.
3. Harisse:What is a Kashmiri winter without harisse! Every Kashmiri’s favourite, this lip-smacking dish is prepared using chunks of mutton that are heated along with a variety of spices and oil till it gets reduced to a thick paste. This authentic age old mutton recipe is usually eaten during winters and best served with Kashmiri bread known as kander Tchot.
4. Halwe Paraath:Take a walk through the streets of hazratbal, and you can’t resist the whiff of sweet halwa and fresh dough being rolled and fried! The aroma will draw you in like a moth to a flame.
Halwe paraath is an exotic yet simple street food that is found very frequently on the streets, especially outside shrines. Halwe is made from Sooji (Semolina) and the Paraath is made from white flour. This paraath is usually quite huge (about 3 feet in diameter). This dish is one of the oldest and most popular items on the menu of Kashmiri street food.
5. Tujje:A walk across the Dal lake is incomplete without a seek-tujje serving!
The yummiest of all the street-foods, tujj means nuggets of mutton or beef that is cooked over hot red embers using skewers. Served with a variety of chutneys along with Lavasa -traditional Kashmiri bread, this Kashmiri street-side delight is marinated with fresh spices and left for a few hours for the flavours to sleep in. Tujje is definitely worth every minute and penny you spend!
6. Kenke Masal:This snack serves as a high energy booster, and due to its high nutritional content it is also one of the go-to-snack for your everyday street food snackers as well as weight watchers as it is free of fat, cholesterol, and oil.
Kenke masal involves boiling black gram beans till they become tender, then mixed with salt and a few spices and served hot in paper cones.
7. Tille Karre:Tille Karre is a popular Kashmiri snack. These are crispy fritters made either from chickpeas or dried green peas, dipped in rice flour batter and are then deep fried in hot oil until golden brown. Besan, known as Gram flour or All-purpose flour or mix of these can also be used. This quick snack curbs hunger pangs and each new mouthful is more delicious than the previous one.
8. Laayi:Laayi is coloured puffs, that are made with puffed rice, sugar, and some food colour. As soon as you put it in your mouth, it melts right away leaving behind a delicate sweet taste. You can easily spot a street vendor selling these as they can be identified by the presence of heaps of multi coloured puffs.
9. Beasrakh:Another popular sweet delicacy in Kashmir is beasrakh. This grenade looking thing is actually going to leave a blast of taste in your mouth. It is made from flour and ghee, cooked, and then dunked into sugar syrup. The flavour of Basrakh is then enhanced by the addition of dry fruits like almonds, cashews and raisins. Heavenly to eat, this popular ball of goodness tastes as unique as it sounds.
10. Laale Shangram:Laale shangram is made of flour, sooji, and sugar and then deep-fried in ghee. These sure looks like Cheetos but are quite sweet and is best enjoyed with Kahwe. It is crispy and rough on the outside, but has a gooey texture as you chew it. These balls of heaven melt in your mouth, with a sugary aftertaste, leaving you wanting more.