1.         “If there’s heaven on earth, it’s here in Kashmir”. As it is justifiedly mentioned that Kashmir is heaven on earth and therefore the enriched beauty about this heaven enhances in winter season. In winters Kashmir turns into white-carpeted heaven. Kashmir is in a different zone from December to March, the enriched beauty of Kashmir increases with decrease of temp.  The snow covered mountains with shredded chinars leaf, lovely pine trees, and frozen lakes boost Kashmir’s beauty and the people get hypnotized. The temperature in Kashmir drop as low as -6 to -8 degrees. In Kashmir the coldest are forty days from Dec 21 to January 31 and are known as ChilaiKalan. At this period, Kashmiri locals have different things which are specially designed to be used in winters and to shield the body from the weather condition. In the houses they have Bukharis to keep them heated. Bukhari is also utilized in houseboats, hotels, huts etc to keep them heated. Folks within their house wear Pheran and keep kangris to stay themselves warm. In winters, folks in Kashmir enjoys the fancy winter sports like skating, skiing etc. There are many changes in the food habits and lifestyle of people throughout winters to apt with the climate changes.

(a)    Noon Chai – It’s popularly called Sheer Chai. It’s a conventional tea of Kashmir which is the essential of Kashmiri breakfast. It’s made of tea leaves, bicarbonate and milk. It’s pink in color and is served with a topping of Milk cream (malai) and dry fruits. It’s typically made in a copper vessel called Samovar. It’s additionally served in states like Manipal and Chattisgarh. There it’s created by adding sugar in it however in Kashmir salt is added to it. Salt in Kashmiri is known as Noon ie why it’s known as noon chai. It’s generally served in marriages in Kashmir with great charm.

(b)       Al Hachi – Al Hachiare is dried long and slightly thick strands of Lagenaria siceraria, whose drying methodology is comparable as that of Wangan Hachi. The bottle gourds are peeled, sliced and dried in sun. Al Hachi is generally cooked with light spices or with mutton.

(c)        Guran – It is a type of fish which is the size of a finger. These small fishes are found generally in small rivers of Kashmir. Guran can be consumed as fresh or it can be dried & then can be eaten. It is cooked in a similar manner as a normal fish is made of. Guran provides warmth to the body and is best to be consumed in winter.

(d)       Gogji Aar – Gogji Aar or dried turnips are another part of our Winter Menu. Although dried turnips are eaten in alternative parts of Asia like China, in Kashmir they’re dried in a very specific manner. The turnips are peeled, washed and thickly sliced. Then a hole is sculpt out from a pointed knife within the middle of the slice  and all the slices are tied to a string to dry in sun. The Gogji Aar is cooked with cottage cheese (paneer), mutton etc.

(e)       Farrigad or smoke-cured fish – These fishes are placed on grass before smoking them, then the grass is torched to smoke fishes and smoke keeps billowing till fishes get roasted. The fishes are not cleaned or gutted before smoking it.

Capt Manish Rana

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