Milk Based Food Specialties of Kashmir

Mohammad Ashraf Pal

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Milk Based Food Specialties of Kashmir
Mohammad Ashraf Pal Milk has since ages been an integral part of the diet of the majority of the people in Kashmir. A routine diet comprised the staple food like rice and other cereals made into porridge or flour and transformed into bread, vegetables, meat, poultry lots of spices and condiments and unlimited milk. Milk in Kashmir is referred to by many of its adjectival descriptions like Dodhe Rehmat, Dodhe Barket, Dodhe Noor etc. and constitutes so important an economical, cultural and social element that it may well be one of the unique local Jungian archetype in its collective existence. Milk and milk products along with meat, poultry, fish and other food products have been molded, transformed and designed by glutinous Kashmiri genius into so many nuances and varieties that their reputation and renown has spread over the entire world. In recent times the food expositions held in some major cities of India, Europe, Middle East and North America portrayed the Kashmiri Wazwan and the response exhibited by the participants was overwhelming and the quality and flavour of such products was invariably stated to be irresistable and exotic. There has been a complex history of cultural exchange in Kashmir as a result of the influence of various rulers who represented a varied cultural origin. However, without resorting to the plagiarism and in the absence of any conspicuous cultural traceability, some exclusively Kashmiri milk based specialties which are a symbolic representation of the local culture are presented in this paper for documentation.

3 Meat Based Specialties Aab Gosht: Aab gosht is a union of two Persian/Urdu/Kashmiri words Aab and gosht the former meaning the water and the latter meat. In this moderate to relatively large sized meat pieces are selected and cuts of choice include the sacro-coccygeal and the whole shoulder portions. Milk Food Specialties of Kashmir Cuts from other parts of the carcass can also be

incorporated. The meat is sized into uniform pieces, the fascia and other associated tissues are trimmed off and the spinal cord removed scrupulously from the cuts involving backbone. The meat is boiled vigorously along with the salt and spices that include cinnamon, aniseed, cardamom and other spices except those imparting any color to the preparation such as turmeric, saffron etc. The meat upon having tenderized moderately by cooking is kept aside and the whole milk containing 3-4% fat 8-10% SNF is cooked separately and condensed to a relatively thicker consistency. This is accomplished by regulating the heat and by constant stirring and scrapping. The meat along with the extract, spices and condiments is passed through a course muslin cloth into the vessel containing milk to exclude the undesirable remains of spice husks, bone pieces etc. The meat is picked by hand and put into the milk and cooking is continued until the optimum tenderness of meat and consistency of gravy is achieved. The product is prepared at home at special occasions and constitutes an inseparable component of the world famous traditional Kashmiri Wazwan. The recent improvisations include the replacement of fluid whole milk with whole milk powder reconstituted some what thicker by incorporating 4-5 times water before cooking. The product has a salty cum sweetish, moderately spiced flavor with a combination of rich

4 flavoring compounds of meat and milk and a viscid gravy of uniquely pleasant sensory characteristics. Naate Yekhin: Naate Yekhin is a combination of two Kashmiri words nate meaning meat and yekhin meaning thick viscid gravy obtained by cooking sour dahi. In this the moderately sized meat pieces are selected. After having cleaned and cleared off of all Milk Food Specialties of Kashmir possible adhered attachments, the meat pieces are cooked in water with spices and condiments kept in a pouch of muslin cloth. The cooking is continued till a desired tenderness of meat is attained. On the other hand whole milk Dahi of approximately 0.71.0% acidity and about 10-12% total solids is stirred manually or mechanically in order to make it a free flowing non granular fluid. The stirred curd is then cooked with constant stirring cum scraping until a peculiar odor of yekhin emanates from it and it attains a desired consistency. After this the meat pieces and gravy are cooked together with the cooked curd until the optimum tenderness of meat and consistency of gravy is attained. The remnants of the spices in the muslin cloth are excluded. The spices comprise of the similar constitution as for the preparation of Aab gosht. The preparation is served at special occasions and is available in the restaurants as a ready-to-eat product within as well as outside the state. Hindi Roganjosh: The preparation involves the selection of meat pieces which are relatively leaner and moderately sized. The meat is cooked till the desired texture is attained. The whole range of spices comprising the red chilies, saffron, turmeric, cinnamon, aniseed, cardamom, clove, black pepper etc are added while cooking is carried out. The whole milk curd as in case of Nate Yekhin is prepared until a relatively thicker consistency is attained and thereafter the meat and the cooked curd are amalgamated and

5 cooking continued till the desired flavor ensues and meat and gravy attains desired texture and consistency respectively. This dish constitutes an integral component of Kashmiri Wazwan and is prepared at domestic level on special occasion besides being available at almost all restaurants.

Milk Food Specialties of Kashmir Goshtab: Goshtab is again a combination of two words gosht and aab meaning the meat and the water respectively. The product is popular among the local populace and those who have tasted it once can hardly resist taking it again and again. The product is prepared by pounding the meat from almost any portion of the carcass. At times the heart muscles, kidney and rib skirts are also incorporated. The hot boned meat is a necessary prerequisite. The fresh fat preferably from the same carcass is added at the rate of about 20-25% by weight. The meat and the fat are pounded with the aid of a wooden mallet on a special kind of a meat stone with smooth flat surface. The visible fascia, tendons, connective tissue, veins etc. are removed manually. The pounding is continued till an emulsion of desired consistency is attained which is judged by the specialist expert cooks known as Wazas or Ashpazan, who have inherited the cooking skills from their ancestors and pass these onto from generation to generation. The meat emulsion is then rolled out to make balls of varying sizes. The usually encountered diameter of the meat balls ranges from 5-12 cm. The meat balls are cooked in water to coagulate the proteins and prevent the leakage of fat and the cooking is continued till the desired texture of the product is attained. The spices normally incorporated include the cinnamon, cardamom, aniseed etc. The tainting spices and condiments are excluded. The whole milk curd of about 0.75% acidity is stirred either

6 manually or mechanically to ensure that no granules are left within the curd. The stirred curd is cooked with utmost precaution at an optimum heat and carefully regulated speed until a rich non granular and viscid consistency of the curd is attained. The meat balls are later transferred to the curd along with the meat extract through a coarse muslin cloth in order to exclude the components that may affect the consistency of the other wise Milk Food Specialties of Kashmir uniformly non granular gravy called yekhin. The salt and flavoring condiments are added and cooking is concluded only when the desired odor has emanated and optimum texture of the meat balls and consistency of the gravy is attained. The product has been subjected to the mechanization for adapting to the continuous production system but traditional method of production could not so far be emulated by the mechanical means. A number of studies were carried out to find out if machine mincing could replace the traditional manual pounding; hot boned meat could be replaced with chilled/frozen cold boned meat; different meat/fat ratios could be used to manipulate the amount and type of fat to be incorporated. However the traditional system of goshtab production could not be emulated so far. The nutritional studies revealed it to be an excellent source of energy and proteins along with vitamins and minerals. The sensory evaluation studies have rated this product at excellent scales. There has been a moderate stride in so far the long term preservation of goshtab is concerned. The product is now available at departmental stores in a canned form and has gained remarkable popularity within and outside India. The product is white in appearance and has extremely soft and mellow characteristics. Upon slicing it has no jags and presents a pleasantly smooth and uniform view. Upon pressing it assumes fine elastic characteristics and regains its original shape

7 immediately. It has an extremely rich flavor with a composite sensation of sour and salty taste and highly desirably aroma of meat and curd. At the end the product leaves an exquisite after taste which is relished even hours after finishing the meal. Danival Kurma: Relatively smaller meat pieces from all over the carcass are selected for the preparation of this culinary delight. The sizing left over can also be salvaged in this Milk Food Specialties of Kashmir preparation. The meat is cooked along with usual spices and condiments till it achieves a desirable texture. The pre-cooked whole milk or reconstituted whole milk powder is added at the end and, for garnishing, the green coriander leaves in copious quantities are added. The dish is served during marriage functions and prepared in the common kitchen at special occasions and holidays. This preparation exists in the menu list of all standard restaurants in Kashmir. Tripe Yekhin (Dembin Yekhin): The tripe comprises of the rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum with attached duodenal portion (honey comb and turkey towel etc) from sheep and goat carcasses and constitutes the raw material for the preparation of this dish. The tripe is thoroughly cleaned and boiled for about 30 minutes. The upper mucosal layers become easily removable with hand as well as with knife, scrapper or metallic scrubber. A few washings with warm water are applied and the tripe sized uniformly into appropriately presentable pieces. The remaining process is similar as that for goshtab preparation in that the yekhin preparation remains the same and the meat balls are replaced with processed and sized tripe. The tripe yekhin is a less expensive source of highly delicious and nutritious culinary preparation for the middle and lower strata segments of the society to rejoice and relish. It allows for an efficient utilization of livestock by-products thereby making the trade lucrative on one hand and on the other

8 hand improves the socio-economic and nutritional status of the traders and consumers alike. Poultry and Poultry Products based specialties Dodhe Kokur: A complex of two words former implying the milk and the latter the chicken. The broilers of about 1.5 to 2 kg live weight are processed for this preparation. It Milk Food Specialties of Kashmir is usually served as a whole chicken, however, halves and quarters are also not un common. It is served most commonly during marriage functions and the first sight of the rice plate stimulates the gustatory apparatus of the guests by having simultaneously a white garnished chicken on one hand and reddish brown tandoori chicken on the other. The chicken while preparing is cleaned of all visible accessory tissues. The carcass is then specially positioned for preparation before cooking and held in that position with the aid of a string tied around the carcass at specific places. The whole chicken is then cooked with recommend spices and condiments till it attains the desirable texture and is then dipped in pre cooked whole milk or reconstituted whole milk powder and cooked further by maintaining a moderate ebullition. The thread is removed from the cooked chicken and it is garnished with the green coriander leaves and almond kernels before placing it over the copper rice plate along with other traditional delights. This chicken preparation has a uniquely distinctive taste and flavor which one can perceive upon tasting it in a live feast/ function. Dodhe Thool: Thool is a Kashmiri word implying the egg. The eggs are cooked in the same fashion as that for a poached egg. Whole milk is later poured into the pan and spices and condiments like turmeric, ground garlic, cumin, salt etc. are added. The contents are boiled with lid on for some time till the gravy attains the desirable

9 consistency. This preparation is a common place in the Kashmiri kitchen and it is not served in either marriage parties or restaurants. The preparation is highly relished by the children, adolescent and adults alike. People suffering from duodenal ulcers are sometimes advised to take this preparation, by the elders, out of their experience and

Milk Food Specialties of Kashmir the understanding that it doest not inflict any injuries to the stomach as it contains milk as protectant and has no harsh species like red chilies etc. Thool Yekhin: The moderate to large sized eggs are boiled and the shell is peeled off. This egg is then pierced at the surface from all sides with the help of a fine tooth pick. The eggs are then deep fried till the surface turns brown. The yekhin is prepared with the help of the curd and other spices and condiments as mentioned above for other yekhin based products. The fried eggs are later cooked in this yekhin till the consistency of the gravy and overall flavor becomes desirable. This preparation is served at special occasions such as during anniversary celebrations of the saints who had not taken meat during their life time like Batamaloo Sahib, Khawaja Masood Wali sahib, Pampore etc. The dish is prepared and served at domestic level but not during marriage functions. Fish based specialties Gaad Goshtab: Gaad in Kashmiri language signifies the fish. The fresh water fish such as Trout, Schizothorax, Mirror and Silver carp etc. of mature age are selected for the preparation of this dish. The bony skeleton is removed after de-scaling and cleaning off the offal. The fish pieces are then washed to ensure that there are no spikes, scales and skeletal remains etc. adhered with the processed fish .The fish is then cut into suitable pieces and pounding with a wooden mallet is commenced over a special meat pounding

10 stone. The fat from various animal and rarely plant sources is used to the extent of about 10-20% for incorporation with the dough; however, the fat from sheep carcasses is most common. The salt is added to the mix at periodical intervals. To the mix, is then added the spices and condiments in appropriate quantities and the dough is then worked out in moderately sized balls and these balls are cooked in water till the coagulation of the Milk Food Specialties of Kashmir proteins take place and balls attain a firm texture. The meat balls are then cooked in Yekhin the special gravy as mentioned before, for a period necessary enough to impart desirable sensory characteristic to the product. This preparation is a true delicacy and is not that common a product. However the preparation is available in all standard restaurants and is prepared at domestic level at special occasion and holidays to serve the guests of remarkable significance. Gaad Yekhin: The fish of mature age and desirable variety are processed as mentioned above. The pieces are carved skillfully and selection of pieces excludes the head and tail portions. The uniformity is ensured and the pieces are cooked in water with spices, condiments, salt etc. The Yekhin is simultaneously prepared and the cooked fish pieces and yekhin are mixed together and cooking continued till the desired texture and flavor is attained. The preparation exists in the menu list of all standard restaurants in Kashmir and is prepared at occasions in the common kitchen by the house wives. Exclusive Milk Based Specialties These preparations are no different than their counterparts elsewhere in Indian subcontinent with very fine distinction and different nomenclature which is elucidated below:

11 Schaaman: Schaaman in Kashmir is what paneer is in other parts of Indian subcontinent. This product is said to have its origin in this region. The cow milk paneer is abundantly available with exquisite sensory characteristics like mild fruity smell, acidic taste, mellow and soft texture and extra ordinary frying characteristics. The cutability of the product is excellent. It is usually said that cow milk does not make a suitable raw material for a good quality paneer and pretreatments like addition of calcium chloride and heat Milk Food Specialties of Kashmir treatment alterations have been advocated by several workers at various occasions. But traditional paneer production in Kashmir has been so old and successful that it sparingly needed any of these technological interventions for improvement. The buffalo milk paneer, on the other hand, imported from Punjab is not liked by the local populace criticizing it to be hard, rubbery and lacking the mellow characteristics. In a predominantly meat eating Kashmiri society, Schaaman is considered to be the most suitable alternative for meat in the days of meat scarcity. Geau: Geau is the Kashmiri name given to the clarified butter fat or ghee. The traditional manufacturing of geau is almost an exclusive domain of the nomadic tribal people of J&K called the Gujjars who keep buffaloes in addition to other animals. They use buffalo milk either alone or mixed with the milk of cow and other small ruminants for the production of geau and sell it to the middle men who market it in urban consumption areas. In Kashmir geau is not liked by the majority of the people criticizing it to be sticky to the palate and is used most commonly for the preparation of halwa at festivals and during marriage parties. Routine diet of an ordinary Kashmiri does not include geau. Traditionally the geau is also utilized for the preparation of a wheat flour based

12 preparation called Kulcha for use at special occasions and by women during immediate post-partum period. Thaen: Thaen is synonymous with makkhan or butter in Kashmir. Some three decades before locally produced butter (Thaen) was a common commodity. At Hazratbal shrine on every Friday a market of great grandeur is held even to date. About a decade before the commodities offered for sale would include in addition to other articles the thaen in the form of about 250g balls floating in clean water in an earthen container. However, Milk Food Specialties of Kashmir with the enhancement of the processing capacities of the Dairy plants, the packaged processed butter offered for sale by the organized sector have dominated the market and has almost totally replaced the traditional thaen at least in urban areas. This has been further facilitated by the peoples’ consciousness towards health and hygiene. Zamut Dodh: This is a fermented milk product and represents the Kashmir counterpart of Indian dahi or Arbian Lebn and European curd or yoghurt. The difference between Zamut dodh and dahi is that the source of raw material is almost exclusively the cow milk in the former as against the cow and buffalo milk admixtures or buffalo milk alone the latter. Sensory characteristics are comparable between the two. Based on experience and in the absence of any valid statistics it wouldn’t be an undue magnification to state that the consumption of Zamut dodh in Kashmir is much higher compared to other parts of India and its uses are myriad. The recent development includes the availability of Zamut dodh in cups in the market which has become very popular during serving at marriage functions owing to its being convenient to handle and serve. Traditionally Zamut dodh is served in beautiful earthen/copper pots of about 1.5-2.0 kg capacity to the guests at marriage ceremonies and other auspicious occasions.

13 Maush Kraer: It is a heat and acid coagulated dairy product prepared by coagulating milk with some easily available coagulating agents like sour buttermilk and working out coagulum into a pat. Small balls made out of the pat are later given a circular shape of varying diameters ranging from 5 to 20 cms with a thickness of about 0.3 to 0.5 cm. The tribal communities in the upper hilly regions and people in some parts of the Jammu Division of J&K State refer this product as Kalari. This is considered to be a dairy delicacy often being served in feasts and marriage parties to the valued guests. The word Milk Food Specialties of Kashmir ‘Maush’ implies the buffalo and Kraer is presumably a modified form of Krai meaning a pan in Kashmiri. The product is prepared either from cow’s or buffalo’s milk or a mixture thereof and the most commonly used coagulating agent is the sour butter milk. The traditional manufacturing procedure involves one part of cow’s milk to be incorporated with two parts of buttermilk of buffalo origin or buffalo milk and cow’s buttermilk mixed in equal proportion. The mixture is then brought to boil with constant stirring till whey separates out upon commencement of the coagulation. Cooking of curd is continued for some time till whey gets completely cleared. The whey is then drained out through the muslin cloth. Small balls made out of the coagulated mass are spread out skillfully into a circular shape with hands. The product thus obtained is dried under the sun by placing the products on rocks, wooden planks or some other suitable places practically free from dirt, dust, insects, birds and other potentially hazardous objects. Summer season is considered to be most suitable for its manufacture; however, the product can be prepared throughout the year depending upon the availability of raw material. Besides being a salubrious food, Maush Krear is believed to possess antidiarrhoeal, anticold and antitussive properties. The product has a tremendous market

14 potential and is considered a delicacy throughout the state. It is consumed after frying it with some suitable frying medium along with spices and condiments. It is also consumed in the form of culinary dish in combination with vegetables and gravy. Buttermilk cheeses in Europe, Tibet Cheese in Tibet and Chugga or Churpi in Napal are some of the documented products with similarities in characteristics and utilization. The method of manufacture of Maush Kraer is traditional, primitive and more or less limited and offers a great scope for development. The efforts are needed to be directed towards modernizing Milk Food Specialties of Kashmir the processing parameters on the scientific lines with respect to the raw material use, processing techniques, end product characteristics, preservation and value addition. Vegetable specialties Dodh Al: Dodh in Kashmiri language implies milk and al literally means the bottle gourd and in this case the pumpkin locally known as Masheud Al is used for the preparation of this dish. A tender pumpkin of sufficiently large size is cut in to moderately sized pieces. The skin of the pumpkin is peeled off and pieces are boiled till they become tender enough to be worked out into a paste. The particulate and fibrous matter is taken out of the mix and into this the curd which had been hung in a muslin cloth for some tome to drain out whey completely is added and contents are mixed thoroughly along with honey, salt, cumin etc. till a desired consistency is attained. The product is served cold in marriage parities and at other special occasion. The preparation is made at home also by the house wives. Al-Yekhin: Fresh or dried bottle gourd constitutes the chief raw material for the preparation of this dish. The bottle gourds are peeled, cleaned, cut into thin circular pieces or long threads of about 5 to 6 cm and cooked in water along with salt and spices.

15 The Yekhin is prepared as mentioned earlier and the two components are mixed and cooked together till the gravy attains a desirable consistency and a desired flavor emanates from the preparation. Another version of this preparation involves frying and cooking of the bottle gourd fragments usually in a routine fashion with all spices including red pepper powder and turmeric powder etc and at the end the stirred dahi is added and mixed with the contents warmed for a short duration and served. The dish is liked by the local populace to a remarkable extent. The dried bottle gourd cooked in the Milk Food Specialties of Kashmir same fashion and at the end flooded with copious amount of whole milk in place of stirred dahi is also a popular dish in Kashmir. This preparation is sometimes said to be beneficial for the persons suffering from hyperacidity and duodenal ulcers. The dish possesses exotic sensory characteristic. Gund Yekhin: Gund is a local name given to onions. Relatively larger sized onion are peeled and cut laterally in a manner so that the concentric shape of the rings remains intact. These cut onion compact rings are fried moderately in some suitable frying medium and at the end the finely stirred dahi of moderate acidity (0.70%) is added. The spices and condiments are added and cooking continued till the desirable characteristics in the product are attained. The dish is served with the rice and other vegetable and meat preparations are served simultaneously. The garnishing is carried out using green coriander leaves and dried mint powder sprinkled over the dish in the serving bowl. Aloo-yekhin: Moderately sized potatoes preferably the shopiani variety is boiled in water with salt. The skin is peeled off and moderate frying carried out in hydrogenated vegetable fat or mustarded oil. The fried potatoes are later cooked in the same pan with other condiments and spices. The yekhin prepared separately is eventually mixed with the

16 potatoes and cooking is continued until desirable characteristics in the product are attained. The dish possesses unique sensorial characteristics which is liked by the people of all age groups alike especially the children who relish to taste the delight the most. Dodh-Wangan: Wangan in Kashmiri language means brinjals. Brinjals of smaller sized variety are specifically selected for preparing this dish. Whole brinjal is washed and quartered with the top intact. The deep frying in mustered oil is carried out till the moderate browning ensues. Small amount of water is added in the same pan and cooking Milk Food Specialties of Kashmir with other spices and condiments continued. The yekhin prepared separately is added to these contents and cooking on moderate heat is continued till the desired texture of brinjals and consistency of gravy is attained. The dish possesses extra ordinary sensory characteristics and is served usually with rice. Phoolgobhi Yekhin: Cauliflowers after washing and trimming are cut into suitable pieces and fried in some suitable frying medium. This is followed by addition of water, spices and condiments. The cooking is continued and, at the end, the yekhin prepared separately is added to the contents. The cooking is continued until a desired consistency of gravy and optimum tenderness of the vegetable is attained. Garnishing with powdered dry mint, almonds and green coriander leaves may be carried out optionally. The preparation is served invariably with the rice. Dodh Daal: Moong is the preferred dal used for the preparation of this delicacy; however, moong and masoor combination is also used. The occasion for the preparation usually is the anniversary cerebrations of the birth of some Sufis in the valley. The dal is cooked in the traditionally followed fashion and in place of water the whole milk is used.

17 The spices and condiments are added at specified sequential intervals till the delicacy attains its desirable sensory characteristics. Laer Chetin: The cucumbers in Kashmiri are termed as “laer”. Tender cucumbers are peeled and worked out with the aid of a traditional mortar and pestle into a fine paste. All seeds and particles, if any, are removed. The water is drained out and the salt is added and mixed. The drainage of moisture is repeated and dahi from which practically all whey has been drained off is added to the cucumber paste along with almond kernel

Milk Food Specialties of Kashmir paste, cumin and condensed milk. The garnishing with fresh or preserved cherry is also done. The dish is served during marriage parties in the valley. Doon Chetin: The Doon is the Kashmiri name given to the walnut. The walnut contents are opened, cleaned and made into a paste in the mortar and pestle. The green chilies, mint, coriander and salt are simultaneously mixed and ground with the walnuts. This is followed by the addition of dahi as in case of laer chetin and the contents are mixed thoroughly until uniformly homogenous paste with excellent sensory and appetizing characteristics is obtained. The dish is served along side the other preparations in a feast. Other Specialties Saboot dana: This delicacy is specially prepared for privileged children and convalescents. The milk is boiled with proportionate quantity of saboot dana and to this the sugar is added at the eventual stage of preparation which is indicated by the optimum consistency of the mixture and texture of the solid contents. The dish is said to be nourishing, energizing and salubrious giving instantaneous energy to the consumers.

18 Qand Sharbat: This sweet milk delicacy is served traditionally among the community members especially the children at special occasions such as birth anniversaries of the religious and spiritual leaders and at times on marriage ceremonies by the neighbors and relatives to the bride or groom and their accompanying guests. It is invariably used during the holy fasting month of Ramzan in Kashmir at the end of the day to break the fast. The preparation of Qand sharbat involves boiling of milk with sugar and other odoriferous substances such as cardamom etc. followed by soaking of “tukhm-e-milanga” (babr-e-beol in kashmiri) into it. These are small black colored seeds which imbibe the water and swell to give a jelly appearance in the mixture. The preparation assumes a Milk Food Specialties of Kashmir thick, viscid, fluid consistency and is served either after slight warming in winters or at ambient conditions of temperature in warmer days. The delicacy is fairly popular across various sections of the society in Kashmir. Dodhe Qahwa: This is an exquisitely flavored milk preparation wherein natural flavoring agents in the form of spices etc. are used in a specific sequence with the application of the traditional art of preparation. Milk, sugar and other necessary ingredients are boiled and upon emanation of the peculiar dodhe Qahwa flavor and reaching of contents to a specific consistency the contents are transferred in to a traditional copper kettle known as Samavar. This is a tall cylindrical vessel with a central circular space for charcoal heating and the surface in contact with milk and other ingredients is tinned in order to prevent the transfer of undesirable copper flavor to the contents. The preparation is relished by one and all irrespective of the age and sex. It is generally served at betrothal ceremonies and other occasions of special significance.

19 Kateer: This is a thick viscid sweet milk based preparation used by convalescents and those who complain of constipation and other problems of intestinal disturbance. The Kateer is a crystalline hydrocolloid of plant origin which is placed for 3-4 hrs in milk containing sugar. The resultant mixture is thick granular sweet tasting delicacy which gives a soothing feel to the gastrointestinal tract upon consumption. The preparation is sometimes used by Muslims during the fasting month of Ramzan in Kashmir. Firin: This preparation is quite popular and is prepared at home and at special occasions. It is served invariably at the marriage parties in the end. The contents include the milk, sugar, condensed milk or khoa, flavoring substance such as the rose water, cardamom etc. and suji. The preparation involves the boiling of milk and addition of suji in a continuous Milk Food Specialties of Kashmir flow to prevent clump formation followed by addition of sugar and flavorants in a sequence. The contents are cooked until a desirable consistency is attained. The firin is spread over plates and optionally the til seeds are spread over and served cool. Dodhe Wugra: It is prepared by cooking the rice with milk until it attains a semisolid consistency. The salt is added to taste. The prepared dish is served in plates and black cumin spread over the dodhe wugra. The preparation is served among the children in a locality at certain occasions such as after the recovery of a person from some potentially dangerous disease or when there are long spells of dry weather. The children at the end pray for acceptance of the good deeds by almighty and keeping all at bay from evil eventualities.