A Kashmiri Kitchen
On normal days, the cooking, in both Hindu and
Muslim homes, is mostly done on a Dan which is an oblong clay oven, about
3' x 2' - and a foot and a half in height. It has a floor-level hole, through
which firewood is fed and has usually 3 holes on the top, on which the food, in
different pots, pans and vessels, ete., is heated or cooked. Nowadays, due to
scarcity of wood fuel, LPG and kerosene stoves are commonly used.
A typical Kashmiri Kitchen.
A big dinner, called a Sal, or a Vazavan,
is still cooked in a Vurabal which is an open-air kitchen. The
fire-place, for this sort of cooking, is called a Vura. It is about 10'
to 15 ' in length. In the shape of an above-ground drain, with air holes on both
sides, it is built with bricks or stones. Fire-wood is used as fuel. Heat of
such fires is very easily regulated for mass cooking. It is very convenient for
deep and slow frying in big iron Cauldrons called 'Kadahis', as well as, for
slow cooking and simmering, in earthenware pots especially. Here also the
contents in cooking vessels, are conveniently watched and stirred with different
types of wooden or metallic ladles. Such low-level Vura also facilitates
the time to time addition of ingredients. Generally, an hour or so berore
serving most of the Dishes, the cooking vessels are removed from the Vura
and are kept on charcoal or dry cowdung slow fires, for maturing of flavours and
arriving at the right consistency of gravy, and also the desired 'texture'.
Among Kashmiri Pandits cooking of most Vegetarian and
Non-vegetarian Dishes, is done mostly in pots made of baked clay. The pot is
called a Deg, a Degul or a Leij according to its shape and
size. Cooking in these pots gives the Meat, Cheese, Vegetable and other Dishes a
special aroma. Caking at the bottom of pots, and acidic and alkaline reactions
with metals, are also thus eliminated. Rice and some other dishes are cooked in
tinned brass vessels. Muslims cook generally in tinned copper pots. Pots used in
Kashmir are generally round bottomed, to make stirring and turning of the
contents easy, while cooking, and also while mixing Spices and Condiments, which
are called Masala.
A big round-bottomed, deep brass conking pot, with a
somewhat narrow mouth, is called a Digcha, by Pandits. It is mainly used
to cook Rice, and sometimes Pulavs or other Dishes prepared in larger
quantities. A similar pot, made of copper or aluminium and usually used by
Muslims, is called by them a Deg or a Digchavar according to its
being big or small.
Round-bottomed, deep wide-mouthed metallic cooking
pots, big and small, are called Patila usually. Pandits call these
generally Bahugan, which is plural of Bahugun. It is a Sanskrit
word meaning 'a thing having many good qualities.' Perhaps this name was given
to this metallic pot, when introduced in place of the easily breakable
earthenware pots (Handi) used earlier. These of course, are utilized for
many kitchen jobs, such as boiling, frying, cooking etc. of foods, and are
Kashmiri names of other Kitchen Implements
1. 'Athataech', - Cloth for wiying hands etc.
2. 'Bothlai' and 'Chhegla',- Pots for cooking rice
3. ' Chalan' and 'Raemb', - Broad spatulas.
4. 'Chhan', - Colander or strainer.
5. 'Chhonp', - Churning stick.
6. 'Chonchi' and 'Krechh',- Ladles.
7. 'Chumta' and 'Sanaes',- Tongs for holding hot
things and lifting hot pots.
8. 'Dakna',- Lids.
9. 'Damchula', - Iron charcoal stove.
10. 'Dul' and 'Kond', - Metallic and deep wash basins.
11. 'Hahkol', - Clay charcoal stove.
12. 'Kafgir', - Perforated ladle.
13 'Kray' , - Cauldron.
14. 'Krochh', - Fire spoon.
15. 'Taev', - Iron griddle.
16. 'Masala' Vatur', - Box for keeping spices.
17. 'Mujikond',- Grater.
18. 'Sikh', - Skewer.
19. 'Tilavar' and 'Krond', - Edible oil pot and its
20. 'Voakhul' and 'Kajivadh', - Stone mortar and
Kashmiri Overseas Association, Inc. (KOA) is a 501c(3) non-profit, tax-exempt socio-cultural organization registered in Maryland, USA. Its purpose is to protect, preserve, and promote Kashmiri ethnic and socio-cultural heritage, to promote and celebrate festivals, and to provide financial assistance to the needy and deserving.
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