I ate full meals naturally, too. 

A Wazwan is the the famously indulgent Kashmiri meal, varying from a few courses to 36 to, I’ve heard, a hundred.  Over the course of a couple nights, I sampled the basic elements. 

mgdrbrista.jpg 

This is Rista, a lamb meatball in a thin spiced tomato sauce which I ate with soft Kashmiri rotis at Mugal Durbar restaurant.

mgdrbr.jpg 

They were good. But not as tender as Bashir’s version.

bhai-shir.jpg 

The meat from the lamb (not goat) is meticulously cleaned and then pounded with a gigungous mallet for 30 minutes until a uniform consistency.  Bashir gave me a taste of his Seekh Kebab, Rista and Gushtaba to take back to my hotel to heat.  Normally he would have served me, but allowances were made in consideration of Ramazan.  The Gushtaba is the finale of the wazwan, similar to Rista, but bathed in a lovely slightly sour yogurt sauce.  You should be able to sort out which is which. 

seekhsideview.jpg

This side view of a seekh kebab shows something Jyoti and Rauf Trambo (of Highland Journeys) observed:  the thin-ness of a good seekh kebab.   

And here are some of the other basic elements of a Wazwan, which the nice owner of the Grand Hotel allowed me to pick and choose from their tasting menu. 

methimaaz.jpg

The first is methi (fenugreek leaf) maaz.  It’s a luscious stew of lamb’s intestines and perhaps stomach.  Don’t be a baby when you come to Kashmir–eat the methi maaz!  It’s quite good.

tabakmaaz.jpg

I also enjoyed this glossy Tabak maaz, a bit of rib chop from near the belly I think.  It’s rather like unsmoked bacon made from lamb, with sweet fat lodged between lacquered slips of meat.   But for me, the Rogan Josh was the winner.  Damn good. 

roganjosh.jpg

The tender, sweet lamb’s flesh in a succulent pool of spice, enriched by the gelatin and meat drippings.  I’ll need to put my chilis and mawal flowers and masala to good use if I make it past customs! The Grand Hotel’s Wazwan is served with a gesture to the vegetable kingdom, in case you incorrectly surmised that Kashmiris only eat meat.

grandsalad.jpg

Advertisements