The cuisine of Jammu and Kashmir combines influences from Indian Hindus and Muslims, as well as, Persian and Afghan invaders. It is said that chefs from Samarkand were brought to Kashmir during the Timur invasion. They settled down and influenced Kashmiri cuisine to a great extent. This culinary skill is popular even today. Travelers from all over the world love the rich flavors and delicious aroma of these culinary delights.
Various tribes and sections of society have added their own flavor to Kashmiri food. The style of preparation of Kashmiri Brahmins or Pandits and Kashmiri Muslims are radically different. Brahmins use generous quantities of curd along with asafetida and ginger in their food, excluding egg, onions and garlic. Muslims use onions, garlic and egg liberally in their food preparations. Saffron and Kashmiri chilies are common spices in the cuisine of Jammu and Kashmir.
Meat - Mutton (specially), fish and chicken are essential ingredients in Kashmiri food. Meat is prepared in a number of ways and is usually mixed with vegetables and spices such as cinnamon, saffron, cardamom, cloves and so on. The Brahmins and Muslims in Kashmir prepare similar meat dishes giving their own unique twist to them. Some of the popular Kashmiri meat preparations are:
- Kashmiri Kebab
- Rogan Josh
- Methi Keema
- Syun Alu
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:
- 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
Kulcha is a popular bread made of wheat eaten in Kashmir.