‘Chefs Across Boundaries’ is a group of Chefs who set up challenges every month to encourage the participants to innovate, think out of the box and explore the culinary world. It is an initiative started by a handful of food bloggers and food enthusiasts who have taken up the challenge to explore unique and traditional recipes with a motive to expand culinary knowledge as well as to promote the hidden gems which are yet to make an impact in the culinary world.
The monthly challenge at ‘Chefs Across Boundaries’ this month is the cuisine of beautiful Kashmir. The challenge was set up by the very talented Nidhi S Raj ( http://soulandspicebox.com/) . I would like to thank Nidhi for giving this opportunity, it was indeed a learning experience. I attempted making Gushtaba – a traditional authentic Kashmiri delicay. The recipe is adapted from http://www.kashmirifood.com/2012/11/gushtaba.html?m=1
Gushtaba is an authentic non vegetarian Kashmiri delicacy. Tender meat balls cooked in flavorful yoghurt gravy. This traditional Kashmiri dish is prepared in important ceremonies and functions. Gustaba is called by Muslims living in the Kashmiri region of India as The Dish of Kings. It is served as the last meat dish in a Wazwan Feast, before the dessert. To refuse this dish is to highly insult your hosts at the Feast.
In Kashmiri language Waz means a ‘Cook’ and Wan means ‘Shop’. The ultimate formal banquet in Kashmir is the royal Wazwan. Of its thirty-six courses, between fifteen and thirty can be preparations of meat, cooked overnight by a under the supervision of a master-chef called Vaste Waze. Guests are seated in groups of four and share the meal out of a large copper platter called the traem. For Kashmiri Muslims, the meal begins with invoking the name of Allah and a ritual washing of hands in a basin called the Tash-t-naer, which is taken around by attendants. Then the traem arrive, heaped with rice, quartered by two seekh kababs and contains four pieces of methi korma (chicken or mutton flavored with a spice mixture containing dried fenugreek (methi) leaves), two tabak maaz (twice-cooked lamb ribs, initially braised with ground spices and milk, then browned in butter), one safed kokur (chicken with white sauce), one zafran kokur (chicken with saffron sauce), and the first few courses. Yogurt and chutney are served separately in small earthen pots. All the items ranging to about 20 items, are served thereafter by waza (the junior cook). Seven dishes are a must for these occasions — tabakh maaz, rista (meatballs in a red, paprika-saffron-fennel spice gravy colored with alkanna tinctoria), rogan josh, daniwal korma (lamb roasted with yoghurt, spices and onion puree, topped with cilantro leaves), aab gosh (lamb chunks cooked with a fennel-based spice mixture, cardamom and partially evaporated milk), marchhwangan korma (chicken legs/thighs cooked in a spicy browned-onion sauce) and gushtaba (meatballs cooked in a spicy yoghurt gravy). The meal ends with the GUSHTABA. [source:Wikipedia]