An incredible gastronomical experience awaits in Jammu & Kashmir. Both flavoursome and diverse, the cuisines of this North Indian state is an integral part of the state’s tourism as well as hospitality. The food of Jammu & Kashmir can be divided into three - Jammu Cuisine, Kashmiri Cuisine, and Ladakhi Cuisine; each of which is unique in their way. However, one can find some commonality between the cuisine of Jammu and Kashmir regions. Contrary to this, the Ladakhi cuisine boasts exclusivity and a strong influence of Tibetan culture. Jammu & Kashmir is a state of flavours and aroma that melts the heart and can make any food lover fall in love with the food here.
In Jammu, the dishes of Dogra cuisine are quite popular. This region is incredibly famous for rajma chawal, with rajma (kidney beans) being a local crop. Rajma chawal served with chutney of Anardana is particularly renowned in Peerah, a town in Ramban district and Assar in Doda district of Jammu. In the Chinta Valley in Doda district also, this mouthwatering dish is amongst the most popular. Dishes like Ambal, Khatta Meat, Kulthein di Dal, Dal Patt, Maa da Madra, and Auriya mark the prominence of Dogra cuisine in Jammu. The other traditional dishes that are a must-try here are Morel (Gushi) Palov, Madra (lintel cooked in curd), Oria (Potato/Pumpkin in mustard sauce), Maani, Khameera, Katha Meat (Sour Mutton), Shasha(raw mango chatni), Kasrod and Timru-di-Chatni,Shiri Pulav, and Mitha Bhat (Sweet Rice). For the holistic epicurean experience, the region also offers Chocolate Barfi, Sund Panjeeri, Patisa as desserts satiating the heart of every food lover. However, you cannot overlook the street food of Jammu comprising Gol Gappas, Kachaalo, Gulgule, and Rajma Kulche. The beautiful valley of Kashmir reflects a rich influence of Persian, Central Asian and Afghan food in its cuisine. In Kashmiri cuisine, spices like cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, and cloves are used, making the food delectable and aromatic. Kashmiri food is broadly categorized into two - Kashmiri Pandits/Brahmins Cuisine and Kashmiri Muslim Cuisines. While the Pandits use generous quantities of curd along with asafoetida and ginger in their food, excluding eggs, onions and garlic, Muslims use all these ingredients in liberal amounts for food preparations. The highlight of the Kashmiri cuisine is Wazwan, a collection of 32 veg and non-veg dishes. Wazwan is considered a mandate in every celebration, be it wedding or any other significant events.
Apart from it, some of the important dishes in Kashmir are Tabakhmaaz, Shab Deg, Dum Olav/Dum Aloo, Aab Gosh, Goshtaba, Lyader Tschaman, Runwagan Tschaman, Riste, Nader ti Gaad, Herath, Novroze, Yakhni, and the widely acclaimed Rogan Josh. The valley is also famous for its bakery tradition, and thus you can find here various kinds of bread. Tsot and tsochvor, sheermal, baqerkhayn (puff pastry), lavas (unleavened bread) and kulcha are some popular bakery items in Kashmir. The locals of Kashmiri are also fond of tea; hence, Kahwa and Noon chai/Sheer Chai comes into the picture.
The high altitude region of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh differs in so many ways with the other two regions, including food. Banking on its locally grown produce of potatoes, beetroot, pumpkins, beans, and barley the locals prepare several dishes that are both delicious and nutritious. Ladakhis also relish mutton and chicken dishes along with yak meat dishes, but these are usually an affair in the winter season. Amongst the most popular dishes in Ladakh is momos, since the region is highly influenced by Tibetan culture, skyu, thukpa, and thentuk. You would also see people sipping tea like gurgur cha and cha ngarmo. The local alcoholic brew called Chhang is also a must-try in Ladakh.