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Why is saffron expensive?

Why is saffron expensive?

People often wonder; why is saffron expensive?

In this article, I am going answer your ‘why’!

Masala milk, biryani, malai kulfi; all of these dishes are truly incomplete without a hint of saffron added to them. Saffron is added to many more dishes in India, as well to those as around the world.

That touch of saffron immediately gives an exquisiteness to the dishes; along with giving them a beautiful color and a distinct flavor.

But, this exotic spice also comes at a price. In fact, saffron is the most expensive food in the world! Yes, even 100 grams of this spice costs thousands of rupees. 

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What is it that makes saffron so special?

I understand it is difficult to understand why would a spice be so expensive. Just as it is called, it comes at the price of gold. You see, ‘red gold’.

In this article, I will give you a detailed answer of what makes saffron the costliest spice. Or in clearer terms, I will answer , why is saffron expensive?

So, without further ado, let’s go deep into the question, why is saffron expensive?

Why is saffron expensive?

There are basically three reasons why saffron gets that pricey tag; its rarity, the harvesting process, and the medicinal and nutritional values that it holds.

The Rarity of Saffron

Saffron can only be obtained from one species of flower in the whole world. It is called ‘crocus sativus’. No other type of flower bears this spice. To make things tougher, this flower also does not grow everywhere.

It only grows in some specific parts of the world; including some parts of Kashmir in India. What makes it even rarer is the fact that this flower blooms only during the fall season. Meaning that saffron can only be harvested during those 6 to 10 weeks in an entire year!

Additionally, there are only three strands of saffron in every flower. This is one of the reasons that answer’s for, why is saffron expensive.

The Process of Harvesting Saffron

Harvesting saffron isn’t an easy task. It takes a lot of manpower. And every step needs to be done by hand only. The saffron flower is purple in color. It has three red-colored stigmas inside. These red colored stigmas are what exactly is ‘saffron’. 

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First, these purple flowers are handpicked with caution. These are usually picked only in the morning. After this, the flowers are laid out carefully. The next step in the process of harvesting is to separate the stigmas from the petals.

This, again, needs to be done very carefully as the stigmas are quite delicate. All of the hard work that goes into harvesting saffron is the reason why saffron is so expensive.

This isn’t all. After the stigma (or saffron) gets separated from the flower, the strands that are obtained then need to be dried out.

Thus, the harvesting process is very, very labour-some. About 150 to 200 flowers are required to yield just one gram of saffron!

The Medicinal and Nutritional Values it Holds

After all the processes that go into obtaining it, saffron is definitely worth it. Consuming saffron has an array of benefits. It also holds medicinal significance.

It is rich in substances like crocin, safranal and picrocrocin. These substances are the reason why saffron is good for you. This is yet another factor why saffron is so expensive.

This spice has various health benefits. They include

  • Cures cough and cold
  • Helps in reducing high blood pressure
  • Relieves menstrual cramps and pain
  • Has anti-cancer properties
  • Improves memory
  • Is also great for your skin and hair health 
  • Helps with anxiety and depression
  • Gives you a good night’s sleep
  • And much more…

Saffron also needs to be stored with utmost care. This is yet another task for saffron-growers since it requires some very specific conditions.

Thus, the people who work to get to us the priciest spice in the world toil very, very hard. The process right from the beginning to the end requires a lot of effort. All of these factors are the reasons why saffron is so expensive.

How to find real saffron?

Owing to all of the points mentioned above, finding real saffron is rare. Since the spice has become so popular across the world, its demand has increased. And to give in to the increasing demand, sellers all over the world make a business out of selling fake saffron to customers.

After all the hard work that goes into producing saffron, you must always remember to buy only authentic quality saffron. Authentic and high-quality saffron only comes at a price and hence, stay away from vendors selling it at a doubtingly low price.

Over to You

We must respect the people who work so hard and buy saffron only from genuine sellers. When you buy saffron from a genuine source you don’t just support the local farmers but also don’t support the fake sellers making a profit out of duping customers.

We hope this article cleared your doubts on why is saffron expensive.

Also Read:

What is the Best Saffron Brand in India?

What is the Best Saffron Brand in India?

When it comes to saffron, you should only trust the best saffron brand in India. But the irony is that, nowadays, finding authentic quality saffron has become quite a task. And with no clear established ‘brand’ in the country, the effort to find pure saffron multiply.

The demand for saffron is huge, but as you know the supply is scarce. Much because saffron grows only in Kashmir, Iran, and Spain. And out of the three Kashmiri Saffron is more liked and preferred. That’s because of the quality of the saffron found in the valley.

To bridge the gap between the supply and demand of saffron, a lot of vendors have started making a business out of selling fake saffron. Fake saffron made out of corn fibers, which are then colored with artificial colors is common in markets all over India, as well as online. This adulterated/ unnatural saffron isn’t good for your health and it can’t be.

Whereas, real and authentic saffron holds medicinal values. Real saffron is also known to have a lot of health benefits. It is good for treating colds, anxiety, high blood pressure, improves memory, relieves menstrual discomfort and much more. Hence, while buying saffron, you must ensure that you buy it only from the best saffron brand in India.

But, how to determine which brand is the best?

Here is how you can tell whether a brand is selling authentic saffron or not; If the brand is selling it at a very low price, it’s most likely fake.
Look at the other products sold by the brand. If the brand is selling an array of various products that are easily available anywhere, refrain from buying saffron from that brand.Whereas, if a brand is selling products that are rare to find elsewhere and are unique, the brand is most likely to sell authentic products.

Also, here are a few factors that set authentic saffron apart from fake saffron.

Real saffron:

  1. Has bright red color with long strands
  2. Has yellow ends (most of the times)
  3. Is expensive

Keeping all of the above factors in mind, it can be said that Kashmirica is a good brand in India to buy saffron from.

What makes Kashmirica the best saffron brand in India?

Here are all the reasons that make Kashmirica a go-to destination for buying saffron:

  • It is a brand born in Kashmir:

Kashmiri is a brand based out of the beautiful valley of Kashmir. And Kashmir is also the place in India where the ‘crocus sativus’ (the saffron flower) grows. This makes the saffron sold by Kashmirica the best; as it is cultivated and sold right from where it originates.

Not only that. The saffron sold by Kashmirica comes from the fields in Pampore, Kashmir which is the best place to buy saffron. All the saffron sold by Kashmiri is sourced directly from the farmers of Pampore, meaning right from the source. It cannot get any more authentic than this, can it?

  • Kashmirica sells the highest quality saffron:

Basically, there are four types of saffron: Mongra, Lacha, Zarda, and Choora. Mongra is the most premium quality of saffron that is available. And Kashmirica only sells the Mongra saffron. This variety of saffron is known to have a gorgeous red color and a very pleasant aroma. The pledge to sell only genuine premium products is another factor that makes Kashmirica the best saffron brand in India.

  • Handpicked and neatly stored:

The saffron sold by Kashmirica is carefully and very delicately handpicked by experts. It is also stored in a way that its aroma and originality remain intact. Kashmirica takes the utmost care to not let it get affected by any kind of external factors. The saffron is also very neatly packed so that it reaches safely to its designated customer. Herein, we pack the saffron only on demand.

  • 100% natural:

The fact that we cannot stress enough is that Kashmirica’s saffron is 100% natural There are absolutely no edible colors or other chemicals added to it.

  • Dedicated to selling authentic and exclusive Kashmiri products:

Another reason that makes Kashmirica the best saffron brand in India is that the brand is dedicated to selling only exclusive Kashmiri products. This means that our products are unique and are rare to find elsewhere. We wish to bring our products to the global audience. And authenticity is, of course, always guaranteed!

  • Kashmirica is helping local artisans:

Every time you buy something from Kashmirica, you support the local Kashmiri artisans who work hard to keep their legacy going. Artisans are often forced to sell their products to distributors at low prices; which is unjust to all the hard work that they put in.

However, we at Kashmirica, help the local artisans by directly buying goods from them and then listing them on our website. This also makes Kashmirica the best saffron brand in India which is impacting the lives of artisans directly.

Over to You

Saffron is an exotic spice that doesn’t just add a great flavor but also adds great color to all the dishes that it is added to. Saffron is great for pregnant women, as it has many health benefits. While it also grows in Iran, Spain and Greece, the place where the best saffron grows in India is Kashmir.

The distinct aroma and flavor of saffron set apart and add a hint of exquisiteness to every delicacy. One point to always remember – buy only original saffron from genuine vendors.

Now that you know about the best saffron brand in India, are you ready to buy it?

Buy Now!

Also Read:

11 Unknown Health Benefits of Kalonji

11 Unknown Health Benefits of Kalonji

Kalonji, or Nigella seeds, are one of the most beneficial seeds that mother nature has given us. They just don’t add value to the food, but they have tremendous benefits for the human body.

Whether you consume it in solid form like seeds, or the in a liquid form as an oil. Kalonji has many good effects on the body. But the irony is that many people do not know the health benefits of Kalonji. By the way, kalonji is also called black cumin in some cultures.

 

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What is Kalonji? 

Kalonji or black cumin is a spice that is not just meant for adding flavor to your dishes, but is one that can have a heavy positive effect on your health. Particularly Muslims are very fond of this spice. It is because, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has highly praised Kalonji. 

 

Kalonji

Kalonji or Black Cumin Seeds

 

The Prophet exactly said that, there is healing for every disease except for death. That’s the obvious reason that kalonji or black cumin seeds have seen great popularity in the Muslim medications. You will find a mention to it in details in the book, ‘The Prophetic Medicine’ by a medieval scholar Ibn al-Qayyim.

Digressing, Muslims love some foods and believe them to have serious health benefits. Honey, olive, fig, milk, talbina etc. Similarly, Hindu traditions show special affinity to shilajit. 

Anyways, coming back to the topic of discussion, here are the following 11 unknown health benefits of Kaloji.  I have called them unknown because most people are ignorant of this spice and thus are unaware of its benefits.

Let’s get started!  

Read: The Shilajit Story – Its Composition, Uses & Benefits

Benefit #1 – Controlling Blood Pressure

Kalonji has been proven to be very useful in controlling blood pressure/hypertension, drinking half a teaspoon of kalonji oil mixed with warm water followed by an effective diet regime has proven to keep blood pressure under control.

 

 

Benefit #2 – Weight Loss

Kalonji helps in speeding up your body metabolism and promotes a faster weight loss. When added to your everyday routine with daily exercises and a healthy diet kalonji helps lose weight in rapidly and constantly. Half a teaspoon of kalonji oil with two teaspoons of honey and in lukewarm water is an effective weight loss recipe

So, if you are serious about weight loss, this is nigella seeds are your go to super food. Nigella seeds is the English name of Kalonji Seeds. 

Benefit #3 – Preventing Hair Loss

Hair loss is a problem which earlier effected people, mostly men. But now it has spread to an epidemic degree. Hair loss has spread its roots effecting both men and women of all ages. There are many remedies available for battling hair loss and one of the most effective solutions is the oil of black cumin seeds known for preventing hair loss and stimulating hair growth.

So from the benefits of Kalonji oil is that it provides hair with moistness that it needs. This helps in the nourishment of hair tissues and reinforces strength to the roots of your hair. In this case, the benefits of kalonji oil supersede those of kalonji seeds. 

Benefit #4 – Boosts Memory

Kalonji is known to treat weak memory. Boosting of memory is from the benefits of kalonji that are rarely known. Kalonji has properties that can boost memory power, concentration, and alertness. Mixing kalonji seeds with mint leaves or honey in water and also adding half a teaspoon of kalonji oil to it works like a charm. This mixture helps in regaining memory and makes it sharper. From other benefits of kalonji are that it increases concentration and prevents forgetfulness. It is effective on all age groups, but is of particular benefit to people of an old age.

Benefits of Kalonji

Benefits of Kalonji

Benefit # 5 – Battles Asthma

Another disease that has crept its way into the lives of people of all ages is Asthma. Asthma is growing  with the increasing levels of pollution. It has started reaching dangerous levels in the last 5 years. Asthma has started targeting large populations and severely affecting both young and old people. There are many home-made therapies that battle asthma and kalonji is one of the most powerful remedies. Drinking a mixture of Kalonji oil and honey in some warm water brings instant and prolonged relief from asthma.

Benefit #6 – Antioxidant Nature

Kalonji seeds and kalonji oils act as antioxidant that prevents oxidative damage to cells and protects the human body against several types of chronic conditions, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. It consists of composites like thymoquinone, carvacrol, t-anethole and 4-terpineol which have powerful antioxidant properties.

Benefit #7 – Improves Liver Health

Liver ailments can be treated properly with proper medical care and under professional guidance and kalonji can be used as a supplement to fasten the recovery. Kalonji oil when used with the approval of a doctor reduce the toxicity of the chemicals in your body. Kalonji oil has a strong tendency to protect the body against liver and kidney damage.

The antioxidants present in kalonji reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. That’s the reason why both kalonji seeds and kalonji oil can be used every day as a supplement to fight liver damage.

Benefit #8 – Lowers Cholesterol

High amounts of cholesterol in your blood increase your risk of heart disease, as is known widely. But what is not known is that, a natural remedy can help you against cholesterol.  Kalonji has been proven to be effective in lowering cholesterol. Kalonji decreases the bad LDL cholesterol, as well as blood triglycerides.

Although in this case, kalonji oil is much more effective than kalonji seeds but seeds can also increase the levels of good HDL cholesterol much more effectively. Some experiments suggest that taking 2 grams of kalonji daily for 12 weeks reduces both total LDL cholesterol and also increases the good and total HDL cholesterol.

Benefit #9 – Fights Cancer

Like already mentioned, kalonji has antioxidant properties. That help in fighting many chronic ailments. The most dangerous among them is cancer. Studies have revealed that kalonji has some characteristics which can potentially be used as an anti-cancer weapon.

This is because kalonji consists a compound called thymoquinone which is said to fight and kill harmful cells causing blood cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer prostate cancer, cervical cancer, and skin cancer.

Benefit #10 – Normalizes Blood Sugar

Kalonji helps in keeping the blood sugar normalized. It also prevents dangerous adverse side effects of diabetes like increased thirst, unintentional weight loss, fatigue, nerve damage, vision changes and slow wound healing by improving levels of fasting, average blood sugar and insulin resistance.

Benefit #11 – Eases Joint Pain

Lastly, since ancient times kalonji seeds have been used for treating multiple ailments. The oldest use of these seeds has been to ease the pain in the joints. When kalonji seeds are mixed with essential oils like mustard oil etc, and applied all over the joints, the mixture is effective in reducing pain, inflammation, and stiffness. This helps in making the joints stronger.

Concluding Note  

Kalonji is used as a natural supplement to boost the body’s immune system and help fight diseases. That’s what kalonji should be used for. Its benefits go hand in hand with the actual medical procedures and should not be mistaken as a replacement for a medicine. When taken alongside a medicine or other medical treatments it also enhances the benefits of the treatment and provides quicker recovery.

Author: Rohwa Kitab 

The Shilajit Story – Its Composition, Uses & Benefits

The Shilajit Story – Its Composition, Uses & Benefits

Shilajit has been used as medicine both by Ayurvedic and Unani (Greek) treatment methods. Generally, both these treatment practices have suggested that shilajit has multiple uses and can cure various ailments. And the use of shilajit as medicine has historically been giving satisfactory results. 

Shilajit is believed to be a natural energy booster and its consumption been seen as completely harmless.

In the present scenario,  the amount of diseases we witness is worrisome. Undoubtedly, we have a huge well-developed health care sector but relying upon Allopathy is not always the right option.

 

Shilajit

Shilajit

 

Often times research and experience have found allopathic medicines to be ineffective and hazardous. This is because of the composition of these medicines. These medicines are composed of synthetic chemicals which are tested under specific temperature and environmental conditions. This leaves loopholes which may at times cause negative effects.  

In such a situation, many people resort to more natural medications. Remedies like Shilajit that almost have no side effects can prove to be more effective and may even help in eliminating the root cause of diseases.

 

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How is Shilajit Formed?

 

Basically, shilajit is a tar-like substance obtained from the Himalayan mountains. It is formed as a result of decomposition of plants.

Hold on, the decay is not an ordinary one, rather it is a decay has been going on for centuries.

For over centuries, due to slow decomposition of plants, the product derived is rich in Fulvic acid. Fulvic acid and Humic acid both are present in Shilajit. These substances are the components of Humus as well. Humus has a tendency to retain nutrients, water, oxygen for plant growth and probably this is the reason why the substance derived from it is considered to be one which rejuvenates one’s health.

 

Why do People Use Shilajit?

 

People, especially in the Indian Subcontinent, have an affinity to natural remedies. They believe if these remedies were good for their forefathers, they must be good for the current day as well. And often this analogy is quite true as well. 

 

Read: Kashmiri Wazwan: A Non Vegetarian Delight

 

Shilajit is not another common Ayurvedic remedy. It is a trusted medication. It’s usage since ages is vibrant proof of its effectiveness. The difference lies only in the form of consumption which gradually changed with time.

 

The Benefits of Shilajit 

 

Shilajit plays a vital role in either suppressing or eradicating different ailment from their roots. Since ages, it has played an important role in:

  • Giving an Energy Boost
  • Strengthening the Memory
  • Absorption of Nutrients from Food
  • Increasing Potency
  • Maintaining Blood Sugar Levels
  • Body Detoxification

I found a great infographic listing other important benefits of shilajit. 

 

Shilajit Benefits - Kashmirica

Shilajit Benefits

 

Shilajit Uses – A Thorough Account

 

There are a number of ailments related to different organ systems, hormones, ageing etc, against which the shilajit has shown remedial effects. Some commonly known diseases which shilajit can cure or at the least restrict are :

  • Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older people. This disease affects cognitive functioning like memory, decision making and memory. The power of thinking and recognizing is also affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

Although it starts at a slow pace, gradually there is a strong detrimental effect on the human body. So far there is no ascertained reason, but it is believed to be caused by the accumulation of some proteins inside and between the neurons which form plaques and tangles.

Fulvic acid which is an important component of Shilajit helps to prevent the proteins from getting accumulated.

 

 

  • Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness is basically related to change in air pressure and level of oxygen as we move to higher altitudes. When people are not used to such conditions and they encounter such a phenomenon, they find it difficult to breathe. Shilajit can be used in this case.

Apart from this, use Shilajit when you encounter;

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Breathlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Loss of energy

Besides altitude, this sickness may sometimes cause fatal diseases of the brain and the lungs. Shilajit which is rich in minerals and fulvic and humic acid helps in enhancing one’s immune system. Since shilajit is an energy booster as well, it lets the fatigue go off.

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome(CFS) 

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a kind of illness wherein a patient feels extreme fatigue even after continuous rest. According to research women are more prone to this type of illness than men. CFS is very difficult to diagnose because no tests are conducted for its diagnosis. The duration of the illness also cannot be ascertained. It may last for 6 months to 1 year, or at time be a life long affliction.

 

Read: 11 Unknown Health Benefits of Kalonji

 

CFS has some symptoms associated such as:

  • Extreme fatigue even after complete rest
  • Muscle ache
  • Unrefreshing sleep even after sleeping for hours
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Unable to concentrate or memorize things.

Many patients have gotten rid of this disease through the conscious use of shilajit. Shilajit is considered as an energy booster because of it’s constitutional properties. It can help to improve the metabolism of the body, reduce fatigue and increase energy levels naturally.

 

  Benefits of Shilajit for Some Known Health Issues

  • Heart Ailment

Heart diseases also known as Cardiovascular diseases is an umbrella term that covers a large number of diseases like Angina, Heart failure, Stroke etc. Some of the heart-related diseases are Congenital or some are induced because of stress. It is a form of a tension which causes high blood pressure and in turn affects the heart. Many of the heart diseases are also related to obesity, lifestyle and daily routines.

Consuming Shilajit helps to keep the heart in good condition. If one has some cardiac ailments, they are likely to be controlled. Shilajit also keeps control of the blood pressure because of its constitutional properties.

  •  Anaemia

When the count of red blood cells (RBC’s) or Haemoglobin in the blood is very less than the required count, it is termed as Anaemia. Haemoglobin is the carrier of oxygen in the bloodstream. If the level of red blood cells in the blood is insufficient, then the required amount of oxygen cannot be circulated within the body.

Anaemia as such is caused by a deficiency of iron in the body. Because of the presence of a high concentration of Fulvic acid and Humic acid, Shilajit helps in maintaining the iron levels in the body. Hence, Shilajit can nip the disease in its bud.

  • Ageing

Ageing is a natural and irreversible process of getting older gradually. As people begin to age, they get to have many problems like weakness, forgetfulness besides health issues. With age, our body organs also begin to age leading to flawed functionality. Ageing enhances the chances of developing many diseases like cardiac ailments, dementia, diabetes, blood pressure, obesity etc.

Fulvic acid present in shilajit acts is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound. As such, it may help in the reduction of free radicals and cellular damage in the body which may slow down ageing.

  • Obesity

When an excessive amount of fat gets accumulated within our body, such condition is termed as obesity. The fat accumulation can be because of overeating or consuming foods rich in sugar, carbohydrates, and proteins. Limited or no physical exercise to burn off the fats are also an important cause in case of obesity.

Many other health issues are interrelated to it such as unstable BP, high cholesterol level, high blood sugar, many cardiac issues etc. Obese people usually get tired in less time and therefore show less interest in the workout also. Shilajit consumption boosts up the genes which overall effects the skeletal muscles to get adapted to fitness and gain more strength.

 Shilajit Benefits For Men

Traditionally Shilajit has been believed to have some great health benefits for men. Being rich in minerals, energy radiants and antioxidants, it plays a vital role in the well-being of men.

It helps in maintaining the testosterone level which is a male hormone. Low level of this hormone often leads to hair fall, mood swings, less interest in intercourse, fatigue and insomnia.

 

Read: Know Everything About the Traditional Kashmiri Dress & Style

 

This remedy also plays a pivotal role in regaining fertility and potency in men. Infertility refers to the inability to conceive a baby. There can be a number of causes associated but in the case of men, the most common one is low sperm count or sperm motility. 

 

Shilajit Benefits for Men

Shilajit Benefits for Men

 

Other Uses of Shilajit 

 

The combination of a variety of minerals, humic and fulvic acids, amino acids, plant-based antioxidants all formed by the decomposition of plants for ages together distinguishes Shilajit from any other supplement.

Shilajit has a perfect integration of uncontaminated essential nutrients which is harmless to consume, thus making it one among the best natural supplements. Shilajit’s uses include:

  • Healing up wounds, burns and bruises
  • Making our bones stronger
  • Remedial effects on joint dysfunctioning 
  • Maintaining blood circulation
  • Boosting up energy even after a workout
  • Reducing physical weakness
  • Building up one’s immune system
  • Removing heavy metals and other toxins from the body.

           

Over to You 

 

Because of the presence of antioxidants in Shilajit, it has humungous health benefits. And the good part is that, since its price is pretty low, you can always test it for a few months to sense its benefits. Being a natural agent, you can stay relaxed about the side effects. There aren’t any.

Why don’t you head over to our store and learn about some unique Kashmiri products? 

Author: Muneeba Mushtaq 

 

Kashmiri Wazwan: A Non Vegetarian Delight

Kashmiri Wazwan: A Non Vegetarian Delight

Kashmiri Wazwan, the 36-course meal wonder that’s responsible for the peeping bellies of Kashmiris, and the answer to the oft-repeated question, ‘Why do Kashmiris love mutton so much?’

Yes, for all these Kashmiri Wazwan is guilty as charged!

Among other attraction of Kashmir such as beauty, the landscape, the kangri, pashmina, paper mache, the kahwa and the pheran, Kashmiri Wazwan is a world-renowned cuisine.

It is one of the most loved and cherished offering of the valley. Kashmiri Wazwan has mesmerized everyone who has ever tasted it. It is prepared and served by a team of professionals called waza in large copper pots, commonly called a deygh. Needless to say that it is prepared with a lot of hard work, skill, precision and lastly immense love.

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We Kashmiris are obsessed with our culture, we just love it. And we love our food. Why shouldn’t we? Such tasty food is seldom found in any other culture. 

Kashmiri Wazwan

Kashmiri Wazwan

The History of Kashmiri Wazwan

Kashmiris are predominantly non-vegetarians. The special banquet meal that all of us cherish is the Kashmiri Wazwan. It is prepared on special occasions like marriage ceremonies and even on professional and business events. 

Predominantly prepared with Mutton, you might find chicken and fish along with a multitude of vegetables and dry fruits as key ingredients. Some accounts suggest that Wazwan came to Kashmir in the 14th Century when a Mongol invaded India. 

Some historians say that this Mongol invader was Taimur. He was instrumental in making some skilled professionals like artisans, carpet weavers, pashmina experts and cooks migrate from Samarkand to Kashmir. This is why the culture of Kashmir resembles that of Kashmir to a great degree.

The main reason for the popularity of Kashmiri Wazwan in the valley was due to the influence of Persian and Central Asian immigrants to Kashmir. Even today a large portion of the population of Kashmir draws its roots back to Central Asia. 

Map of Silk Route

Map of Silk Route

   

The Preparation of Kashmiri Wazwan 

The word wazwan, although generally used as a name for the traditional Kashmiri 36-course cuisine, is actually a mixture of two separate words. Waz (pronounced as waze’) meaning ‘cook/chef’ and wan meaning ‘shop’. A team of Wazas comprises of a head chef, called the Wouste Waze along with a number of junior chefs.

The main ingredient of Kashmiri Wazwan is freshly-slaughtered lamb meat. Remember, it needs to be freshly slaughtered for the Wazwan to taste right. In many cases, you can’t just cook some dishes of Kashmiri Wazwan without the mutton being fresh.

If the people who are to be served are more in number like at weddings and similar occasion, Wazas start preparing the dishes a day before. Kashmiris cook Wazwan all night and spend their day preparing and eating Wazwan.  

Prepration of Kashmiri Wazwan

Preparation of Kashmiri Wazwan

All the spices used in preparing the Wazwan are processed at home by the Waza himself. Wazas are very specific about the brands of creme, yoghurt, ghee, butter, oil and rice they would use. They argue that in order to get the perfect taste of wazwan, the ingredients need to be extremely precise.

The mutton obtained is grouped on the basis of its origin. Different parts of the body of the animal taste different and each has to be differently cooked in wazwan. So, the waza groups the mutton and starts some initial preparations.

Some of the mutton is minced on a stone with the help of a wooden hammer while another lot is minced with a sharp knife on a wooden table. Once the mutton is prepared at a basic level, the wazas then go on to process it further. 

The Seven Important Dishes of Kashmiri Wazwan  

Although Kashmiri Wazwan comprises of 36, there are seven main dishes that stand out. Whenever you would order Kashmiri Wazwan in a restaurant, or even in a 5-star hotel, the serving will be based on these 7 dishes only.

These majestic 7 dishes are:

  • Tabakh Maaz
  • Koshur Kabab
  • Riste
  • Aab Goash
  • Rogan Josh 
  • Naate Yakhin  
  • Goshtabe  

Manner of Serving the Kashmiri Wazwan 

Kashmiri Wazwan is cooked to precision. It is not like any other food in the Indian Subcontinent which is deeply fried. Rather, Kashmiri Wazwan is cooked at a low flame for hours together. The general preference is that it is cooked in an open area and not in a kitchen, and personally, I find the taste of the Wazwan cooked in an open area to be very different from that is cooked in a restaurant’s kitchen.

Below are some short descriptions of the main dishes that are pre-placed on a Kashmiri Wazwan platter:

  • Seekh Kabab – A long tasty kababs roasted to perfection.
  • Tabak Maaz – Crispy ribs of lamb simmered in yoghurt till tender, then deep fried turning the fat hard and crunchy.
  • Meethi – Small servings of finely chopped mutton bits mixed with a spice containing dried methi leaves.
  • Daen – Medium shaped very soft full piece of mutton which is said to have been eaten by the Prophet Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) himself.
  • Chicken – There are two types of chicken dishes on the platter (trami). The much loved spicy red chicken made with the red sauce and the sweet and tender white chicken made in the white sauce.

We enjoy eating our food while sitting down on the floor in groups. You would need to sit in groups of 4 to enjoy this delicacy. Before eating there is a ritual of the washing of hands in a mobile basin called the Tash-t-naer, which is taken around by attendants, this ritual is called Dast-Paak.

Once, the platter full of these delights comes to you, you may get started with eating. Then one by one the waza brings in more dishes that are a cure for the growling tummy and a treat for the tasting buds.

These dishes are:

  • Rista – A juicy meatball prepared in a paprika-saffron-fennel spice gravy coloured with dyer’s alkanet.
  • Rogan Josh –  Tender lamb cooked deeply in spices, it is the patriarch of the meaty items.
  • Daniwal Korma – Exquisite lamb roasted with yoghurt, spices and onion puree, topped with coriander.
  • Mushroom – It is one of the vegetarian items of the trami cooked with onions and special Kashmiri spices.
  • Waze’ Palak and Baby Ristas – Spicy spinach cooked with small meatballs.
  • Martsewagun Korma – A spicy and hot version of the Rogan Josh.
  • Paneer – Soft pieces of juicy cheese squares cooked with a spicy tomato gravy.
  • Al – Strips or pieces of sweet pumpkins cooked to balance the spicy and sourness of the meaty items.
  • Lahab Kabab – Flattened sour and spicy mutton kababs cooked in yoghurt.
  • Quince Apple–Another vegetarian delight cooked to add some sour flavour to the platter, part of an elaborate variety.
  • Doudh Ras – A big lamb chunk cooked with a fennel-based spice mixture, cardamom and partially evaporated milk.
  • Yakhnee – The most loved and savoured gravy of the trami made of cooked milk with a perfect blend of salt and mint giving a perfect end to an exotic meal.
  • Goshtaba – A big meatball cooked in a spicy yoghurt gravy mixed with the yakhnee.

These are the main dishes that are served usually with the Kashmiri Wazwan, but there are some items that are a part of the grandeur but not served as frequently as the above-mentioned food items. These items are the shami kabab, nadru, dum aloo, tsok wangun (sour brinjal) etc. They are served on request.  Sometimes the trami is covered with a rumali roti to enjoy the vegetarian delights.

Over to You 

The old saying “the way to someone’s heart is through his stomach” is best suited when the food in question is the ever tempting Kashmiri Wazwan. The wholesome meal fills the stomach and the heart with lots of joy. Its taste remains in the mouth hours after relishing it and the impact remains forever.

This is the story of Kashmiri Wazwan. I am excited to know if you have ever tasted the Kashmiri Wazwan or if you would like to taste it in the future? Catch you in the comments below : )  

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