Koshur Saal– The unique cuisine of Kashmiri Pandits, Hornby’s Pavilion

Kashmiri Pundit cuisine is a unique combination of Indian, Iranian and Afghani cuisines. I had no idea about this kind of food so I couldn’t give this a miss. Hornby’s Pavilion at ITC Grand Central, Parel is hosting a Kashmiri Pundit Food Festival until 26th of May. The visiting chef, Chef Suman Kaul is a Kashmiri Pundit herself who learnt her way around the kitchen at home. She inherited her skills from the elders in her family and quickly decided to let people know about this rare cuisine.

Kashmiri Pundit Food Festival at Hornby's Pavilion
Kashmiri Pundit Food Festival at Hornby’s Pavilion

From Chef Suman I learnt that Kashmiri Pundit food is all about slow simmering. You don’t flash cook the food. You let the ingredients create magic over several hours or marinating and simmering. They do not use any onions or garlic but use hing instead to flavour the dish. Contrary to what I believed, the gravies are delicate due to the use of milk instead or cream or cashew paste.

Chef Suman Kaul preparing the delicious Kabargah
Chef Suman Kaul preparing the delicious Kabargah

At the festival you will get to try dishes like Kabargah which is rack of lamb slow cooked in simmering hot milk with saffron and then dipped in curd before deep frying it. Must try the Kashmiri Chicken Pulav delicately flavoured with saffron and cardamom. The trout used here is specially imported from Srinagar. Vegetarians will love this fest too! You will also find Paneer and Potatoes cooked in milk and saffron, Pulav with Chholley and Paneer, Dum Aloo and my favourite Kashmiri Rajma.

Crisp Fried Lotus Stem
Crisp Fried Lotus Stem

Don’t let your meal end without trying the dessert section. Choose from the warm Rice and Saffron Kheer and Shufta which is assorted dry fruits in honey and saffron. All these sound rich but are surprisingly light and very delicately flavoured.

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What I love about this cuisine is that each dish has been given several hours to cook. The meat falls off the bone and holds true to its meaty flavour. Unlike other cuisines where the meat stops tasting like meat and starts tasting like the spices used, this one really surprises you. In spite of being a true blue non-vegetarian, I loved the vegetarian dishes. Everything is healthy and fresh.

The food festival is a part of the dinner buffet at Hornby’s Pavilion. Priced at Rs. 1950 plus taxes, this festival is absolutely delectable.

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