What Is Wazwan? Unravel The Magic Behind Kashmir’s Celebrated Culinary Tradition

Explore the rich tapestry of aromatic dishes, each meticulously prepared and steeped in tradition.

by Mallika Khurana
What Is Wazwan? Unravel The Magic Behind Kashmir’s Celebrated Culinary Tradition

Imagine entering a world where culinary artistry meets cultural heritage in a symphony of flavours and aromas—a realm where each dish tells a story and every bite is a celebration. Welcome to the mesmerising realm of Wazwan, the jewel of Kashmiri cuisine. In the heart of Kashmir’s vibrant traditions and festivities lies this opulent spread, a tapestry woven with passion and skill and an array of delectable dishes meticulously curated to enchant the senses and honour the most special of occasions. Join this gastronomic journey as we unveil the grandeur and elegance of Wazwan—a culinary saga that transcends mere food to become a cultural masterpiece.

Inside Wazwan, Kashmir’s Culinary Extravaganza

kashmiri cuisine
Photo Credits: Canva

Wazwan is a traditional multi-course feast in Kashmiri cuisine, often prepared for special occasions like weddings. It’s an integral part of Kashmiri culture and holds significant importance in their social gatherings and celebrations. At the heart of Wazwan is the expertise of the wazas, highly skilled chefs who meticulously prepare the dishes. The meal is elaborate, consisting of various aromatic and flavourful dishes, typically served on a large copper platter called a “trami.”

This feast is no small affair—it can boast up to 36 courses, predominantly featuring lamb in various delicious forms. However, this isn’t just about the food—it’s a cultural statement. It symbolises using every part of the animal and ensuring nothing goes to waste, a practice known as ‘cucina povera,’ or the cooking of the poor.

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This Is Where Every Dish Tells A Tale

seekh kebab
Photo Credits: Canva

Here are some key components of Wazwan:

  • Rice

The meal usually begins with a mound of long-grain, fragrant rice, often coloured with saffron, known as “Tsamik Maaz.”

  • Rogan Josh

This is a signature dish of Kashmiri cuisine. It’s a rich and aromatic curry made with tender pieces of lamb or goat cooked in a sauce flavoured with Kashmiri spices, including dried Kashmiri chillies, ginger, and aromatic spices like cloves and cardamom.

  • Tabak Maaz

This dish features tender, deep-fried lamb ribs that are marinated and cooked until they achieve a crispy texture on the outside while remaining succulent on the inside.

  • Yakhni

This yoghurt-based curry is typically made with chicken or lamb and flavoured with delicate spices like fennel, cloves, and cardamom.

  • Methi Maaz

It’s a flavourful dish made with chunks of lamb cooked with fenugreek leaves and spices, lending it a unique taste.

  • Seekh Kebabs

These are skewers of minced meat (usually lamb) mixed with spices and grilled or roasted to perfection.

  • Gushtaba

This dish comprises seasoned minced mutton balls cooked in a yoghurt-based gravy with aromatic spices.

  • Desserts

The meal concludes with sweet treats like phirni (a rice pudding flavoured with cardamom and saffron) or sheer khurma (a vermicelli pudding with dried fruits and nuts).

Wazwan is a symbol of hospitality, abundance, and the rich culinary heritage of Kashmiri culture.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva

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