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FLORENCE     Florence –  the capital of the Tuscany region and the cradle of Renaissance   We opted for Flix Bus while traveling from Venice to Florence. The road journey takes about three and a half-hour. In Florence, it terminates at the rear end of Santa Maria Novella (SMN) train station. One of Italy’s busiest stations, it got its name from Santa Maria Novella Church just across the plaza from the main entrance. We debarked at the station and refreshed ourselves at McDonald's before hiring a cab for our hotel. Florence, popularly known as ‘Firenze’ by the Italians, is located in central Italy. This dreamy city with a romantic name is the regional capital of the lovely Tuscany region.   Columbus Hotel, where we stayed, is located in Lugarno District. We always prefer to book our hotels through Booking.com as we always land up getting good hotels at good locations. Despite being a little away from the heart of the city and Santa Maria Novella station

Wazwan in Kashmir - more on GREAT TASTES

Great Tastes - Wazwan

Where better to fall in love with wazwan than in Kashmir? In October 2013, I visited this beautiful valley along with my wife for the first time in my life. Through all the breathtaking natural beauty, the rolling green mountains and valleys, and snow-peaked horizons, my focus, my greatest love, never wavered from the fantastic culinary tradition of this mountain state. Many things combined to create the mouthwatering wazwan Kashmir is so rightly famed for—from the Mughal past, where Emperors commissioned some of the most romantic baghs (gardens in the world), made as the earthly template of heaven, and were also incurable gourmands who searched far and wide for great chefs and gave them their one-point agenda: create exceptional dishes. Kashmir’s wonderful climate, which allows the growing of a mind-boggling variety of beautiful nuts, fruits, vegetables, and spices, including saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, played an equally crucial part. And of course, not the least, the wonderful chefs who continue to carry the tradition forward with their immaculate mastery and love for wazwan. It is courtesy these chefs that this blog features recipes of some of the wazwan dishes we enjoyed during our stay (and later recreated and experimented with at home). Wow! Believe me, it was a grand success.

The recipes are often long and involved, so you need a fair bit of time to make them – but every bit of that time and effort is worth it. All the recipes are on the basis of 500gm of mutton, which can be substituted with 750-800 gm of chicken.

 Rogan Josh

rogan josh
Mutton Rogan Josh

kashmiri wazwan
Rogan Josh and Rice


Hing (Asafetida) – 1/4 teaspoon
Cinnamon (darchini)- 2 pieces (1” each)
Clove (labanga) - 5 pieces
Black cardamom (boro elaich) - 3 pieces
Whole black pepper  1/2 teaspoon
Juice of one whole large onion
coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Ratan Jote  - 1 teaspoon
Kashmiri Mirch powder – 2/3 Tsp
Hung Curd   250gm
Fennel  powder - 1teaspoon
Ginger powder - 2 teaspoon
Vegetable oil – 1 tablespoon

Boil 500 gm mutton in roughly 500ml water till soft and keep the stock and the mutton separately aside. Put a large pan on the gas and add oil. When the oil is hot (but not smoking) add the whole garam masalas and black pepper. When the spices start popping, add the meat and then slowly add the onion juice. Stir fry on low heat. When meat becomes almost dry and the onion juice has been completely absorbed, add hung curd, coriander powder, cumin powder, fennel powder, asafetida, ginger powder, Kashmiri chili powder, and ratanjote. Keep frying on slow heat and when the mutton again becomes almost dry, add salt to taste and two pinches of sugar. Pour the entire mutton stock and let it simmer for 5-6 minutes.
Bon appetite!

 Kashmiri Chicken Curry

Kashmiri Chicken Curry and Rice we had at Prince, Pahalgam.  On the left of Chicken curry is Mutton Kati, another Wazwan dish.


750-800gm chicken
Chopped Onion – Finely chopped from 2 medium-sized onions.
Whole dry Red Chilli – 3-4
Kashmiri Chilli Powder – 2 Tsp
Garlic chopped - 6 /7 flakes
Coriander Powder – 1 Tsp
Cloves – 6/7 pcs
Cardamom – 6/7 pcs
Cinnamon – ½ pcs
Cashew nuts – 50 gm
Almonds – 25 gm
Hung Curd – 150/200 ml
Coriander leaves – approx. 1 sprig

Method :

Grind cashew nuts and almonds with the curd till it forms a paste. Marinate the chicken pieces for about half an hour in the paste. Fry the chopped onions in a kadhai till it starts browning. Then add the dry red chilis, chili powder, and all the other ingredients except the marinated chicken. Saute for 3-4 minutes and then add the chicken. Sauté till the chicken pieces take up a deep brownish hue. Then add around 2/3 cups of water, and add salt to taste. Simmer in low heat for about half an hour. Garnish with Coriander leaves.
Bon appetite!


wazwan recipe
Mutton Gushtaba at Adoor's, Lal Chowk, Srinagar. The ball is cut into four segments.

Ahdoors-a famous Wazwan restaurant located at Srinagar

Inside Ahdoors restaurant

srinagar wazwan
Gushtaba garnished with coriander leaves


Finely minced mutton – 1/2kg
Kashmiri Garam Masala- 2/3 tsp
Kashmiri chili powder – 2/3 Tsp
Fennel seed – 1tsp
Ginger powder – 1 Tsp
Whole black pepper – 2/3 tsp
Cardamom – 4/5 pcs
Coriander powder – 1tbsp
Khoya – half cup
Hung Curd – half cup
Milk – approx. one cup
Ghee – 2 tbsp


Make a smooth paste with the Kashmiri chili powder, fennel powder, ginger powder, coriander powder, garam masala, minced meat, a little curd, and ghee. Then form balls of around 2-inch diameter. Heat the ghee and add Khoya, curd, garam masala and salt to taste. Pour the milk after some time and then add the Koftas. Simmer in low heat till the liquid evaporates partly. Each Gustabha meatball is quite large in size and soft after it is cooked. Suggest slice each ball into four equal segments to savor it with plain rice or tandoori roti or naan.
Bon appetite!

Mutton Rista at Gulmarg. The size of Rista is almost the same as a standard Nargisi Kofta


Ratan Jote – 1 cup
Saffron soaked in water – approx. one cup
Kashmiri Chilli powder – ½ tsp
Ginger powder – 1 Tsp
Cardamom – 4/5 pcs
Fennel powder – 2tsp
Cinnamon sticks – 2/3 pcs
Cloves – 3/ 4 pcs
Hing – roughly a pinch
Bay leaves

Method :

Make around one inch balls from minced meat after mixing cardamom powder, a little salt, and one tsp ginger powder. When the oil gets heated, add all the ingredients except the koftas, saffron and ratan jote. After a few minutes add the keema balls and stir-fry gently till the Koftas turn reddish brown. Then add saffron soaked in water and a cup of Ratan jote. Add salt to taste and simmer on low heat for around ten minutes. The Koftas after cooking should have a characteristic rubbery bite in contrast to Gustabha where the meatballs are soft and melt in the mouth. Best served with plain rice or roti.
Bon appetite!



Ghitza said…
Very nice description...I think gonna visit this place sometimes.Interesting food and culture there
Ghitza said…
Very nice description here...I think I'm gonna visit this place sometimes.VEry unique food and culture there
bob collins said…
Thanks for sharing your great site. It has plenty of wow factor
renitabalsara said…
Very Nice Blog about Kashmir. I have never visited and wish I too could visit one day and taste all the delicious dishes. I would like to make them too. Thanks for the receipes. I will note them too.
Renita Balsara said…
Nice Blog on Kashmir and their food. I would also like to visit Kashmir one day and taste the dishes. Nice receipes. Will note them too.
Unknown said…
Nice work. Very good receipes and blog well done. I w'll be here time to time...

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