Rich and redolent with the flavor of the spices used –cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, saffron, etc. –Kishtwari food can be the simple meal of a family. The staple food of Kishtwar is rice. They take plenty of vegetables but the favourite dish is the Khamira (Pathur) and sag. In the cities mutton is consumed in large quantities but in the villages it is still a luxury reserved only for festive occasions. Although they are the inhabitants of a cold country, Kashmiris abhor the use of intoxicating drinks. The traditional green tea with spices and almond known as Kawa is consumed during the winters of Kishtwar. Kashmiri Pulao is a common dish for Kashmiri vegetarians. Also spices, curd and condiments are common ingredients of Kashmiri cuisine. Muslims abstain from asafoetida (hing) and curds and Kashmiri Pandits abstain from using onions and garlic in their meals. Phirni is a sweet delicacy of Jammu and Kashmir.
Traditional Foods of Jammu are Morel (Gushi) Palov, Madra (lintel cooked in curd), Oria(Patato/Pumpkin in mustard sauce), Maani, Khameera, Katha Meat(Sour Mutton), Shasha(raw mango chatni), Kasrod and Timru-di-Chatni,Shiri Pulav, Mitha Bhat (Sweet Rice).
Amongst Kishtwari beverages, ‘Kahwah Chai’ and ‘Noon Chai’ (Chai meaning tea) are significant. The inhabitants of the Kishtwar are heavy drinkers and the tradition of serving and drinking tea can be traced back to ancient times. The Kishtwari cuisine comprises several other lip-smacking food items which are quite popular in the state.
Some of the popular Kashmiri meat preparations are: • Kashmiri Kebab • Rogan Josh • Rista • Jigar/Kaleyji • Methi Keema • Yakhni • Syun Alu • Kabargah • Marzwagan • Pasanda
Potato, cottage cheese and a variety of vegetables are used to make interesting combinations of vegetarian Kashmiri food preparations. Both fresh and dried vegetables are used for cooking. These are some delicious vegetarian dishes from Jammu and Kashmir: • Hak • Rajmah • Ladyar Tsaman • Nadeir Yakhaen Rice is a staple diet in Kashmir. It is grown in the lake shores and river banks. Popular rice preparations of Kashmir are: • Shree Pulao • Mutton Pulao • Tursh • Zarda