The world's costliest spice, Kashmiri saffron is prized for its aroma, colour & flavour. Grown in the town of Pampore near Srinagar, the fields are carpeted with pale mauve blooms of Saffron in the month of November. The caviar of the spice kingdom is widely used in Kashmiri Pandit cuisine because of its thick, long stigmas that offer a strong flavour & aroma.
Var masala (Tikki masala)
Var masala also known as Kashmiri tikki masala is one of the essential spices used in every Kashmiri kitchen. The tikki is deep in aroma as it is a combination of pulverized cloves, jeera, Kashmiri red chillies, fennel powder, fenugreek powder, asafoetida, turmeric & garam masala. It's dark red in color & offers an earthy flavour. It can be used in leafy vegetables to add a robust dimension to the recipe.
Kashmiri Red Chilli (Laal mirch)
India is the largest producer, consumer & exporter of chillies in the world. Kashmiri red chillies are mainly grown in the regions of Pampore & Noor Bagh in Kashmir. This chilli is fragrant, mild & full of flavour without being too spicy. Kashmiri red chillies are popular because of their bleeding nature as their signature fiery colour seeps into the dish.
Kehwa leaves is a unique combination of aroma, delicious taste & health benefits. These green tea leaves improves metabolism, builds immunity, acts as an energy booster, relaxes the mind & is a great remedy for cold. Add these leaves with dry fruits & you've made yourself the special green tea from the valley - Kehwa! Recipe available in drinks & snacks section.
The golden spice Turmeric found in very Indian masala box is a miracle spice. It not only adds the yellow hue to our food but has many antiseptic & medicinal values. India is the largest exporter & consumer of the spice, growing 80 per cent of the world's crop. Kashmir's love affair with turmeric is centuries old especially because spices are an integral part of Kashmiri Pandit cuisine. Turmeric has anti - inflammatory effect, is a strong antioxidant & boosts the immune system.
Rich, warm, woody, sweet with an undertone of heat - Cinnamon is one of the most common spices used around the world. It's aromatic fragrance, sweet flavour & medicinal values makes it the king of spices. Cinnamon manages type 2 diabetes, help manage metabolic diseases & fights fungal & viral elements in food.
World's most ancient spice Cardamom is native to India. Now widely grown in different parts of the world, cardamom is used for its intense earthy flavour with lemony tones. The second most expensive spice in the world acts as a stimulant & helps in indigestion, obesity & protects against heart inflammation.
Black cumin grows all over the Kashmir valley. The high altitude, soil & climatic conditions makes black cumin better & a more fragrant spice. The iron rich spice is fairly fragrant & releases oil when roasted & sauteed. Cumin adds a peppery fragrant aroma, lowers cholesterol, controls blood sugar & contains anti oxidants.
Fennel Powder (Saunf powder)
Kashmiri Pandit cuisine gets it flavors & textures from its spices being slow cooked with the ingredients. The cuisine promotes healthy combination in every dish. Fennel powder is mainly added to heavy meat dishes because it aids in digestion & adds a distinct aroma that enhances the look & taste of the recipe.
The secret spice in Kashmiri Pandit cuisine is asafoetida. As onion is not used in the cuisine, asafetida is heavily used for its pungent smell & its ability to elevate the dish. Referred to as the "Food of the Gods'', asafoetida treats stomach problems & heals inflammation in the body.