Daawat-E-Kashmir

The name is a fun play of words, as Daawat means “Invitation” in Urdu but was majorly used in the Mughal Era to symbolise “Feast”. The title can thus mean “An invitation to Kashmir” or in spin, represent the influence of Mughals on Kashmiri Cuisine as “Feasting in Kashmir, Mughlai style”. If you want to keep it simple then, Daawat represents their Mughlai food while Kashmir stands for the Kashmiri cuisine. {but where is the fun in that?}

The establishment opened in December 2015, located on Golf Course Road, it is an only delivery restaurant. However, with the recent boom of such exclusive delivery restaurants, I was skeptical whether it would be as amazing as it seemed {luckily for me, it was}. My first order went through after an hour of contemplation on what to eat, since it was my birthday and we decided to stay in rather than go out. Since then, I have ordered from here multiple times. The service and packaging are great. Everything comes neatly packed, elevating the home delivery experience.

Kashmir is often regarded as “Crown of the Nation” and rightfully so. My knowledge for Kashmiri cuisine comes from online research and stories from my father, rather than visits to the gorgeous destination. The origin of Kashmiri Cuisine can be traced back to Kashmiri Pandits who whole heartedly ate lamb and used hot spices like cardamom and ginger. However, Kashmiri Muslims have an emphasis on goat and regard Wazwan {a multi-course Kashmiri feast; traditionally consisting of 36 courses} as the core of their culture and identity. This cuisine is intricate in its own way, with spices and strong aromas but a mild taste.

Mughlai Cuisine refers to the dishes developed by the Mughal Empire. It has strong influences from Central Asian Cuisine and mixed with the combination of Pakistan, North India, Hyderabad and Bhopal, the Mughlai cuisine originated. It has a distinct aroma and flavour of ground and whole spices, characteristic of the cuisine.

The two cuisines overlap each other and yet are distinctly different. The adored Rogan Josh was bought to Kashmir by Mughals. In Kashmir they serve it as slow cooked mutton pieces with a strong chilli curry but the focus remains on meat. However, in most parts of North India, it has a thick yoghurt curry with spices and mutton morsels; its more about curry than meat.

Daawat – E – Kashmir maintains authenticity (as far as I can tell). Surely, that means oil, spices and certain flavours overpowering for many. Changing the food to make it more acceptable to the customers palate is extremely common these days. However, to explore cuisines and regional food, I want to eat it exactly like it would be in the city; otherwise everything is just monotonous and tastes the same. Though, it means some dishes will not be favoured by my palate and it might take me some time to adapt to it, but at-least I’m not going to be eating some modified version, claimed as authentic.

Food Review: Everything is served with a delicious daikon curd, which I was informed is part of Kashmiri Muslim cuisine. (Source: Highly Trusted)

Mughlai Section: 

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Hara Bhara Kebab – Flat Kebabs made with spinach, peas, cashews and a few more vegetables. They were slightly high on the chilli scale, but absolutely delicious. A burst of flavours with vegetables and chilli, you can relish this with roomily roti.

Murg Afghani – One of their signatures, it failed to impress. A vapid creamy marinade and slightly undercooked chicken, it was uninspiring. A little more charring on the outside would have been better.

bhuna-gosht

Bhuna Mutton (Chandni Chowk Special) – An underrated dish, it is full of spices. The flavours are strong, robust and burst with garlic and soft tones of chilli which enhance the taste rather than overpower it. Mutton was cooked to perfection, soft and falling of the bone but not until you dig into it, maintaining shape.

Chicken Tikka Masala – They serve the Mughlai version of this Britain’s popular dish. A thick, spicy, chunky gravy with roasted chicken. It has a delightful smoked green chilli flavour that truly sings on the palate.

Kashmiri Section:

Special Kashmiri Mutton Kebabs – Hollow minced mutton kebabs cooked on coal, they had a beautiful charred smoky flavour with soft hints of cardamom. The kebabs in themselves were exquisite and did not need the addition of chilli, onions, garlic and tomatoes on top.

Mutton Chap.jpeg

Tabak Maaz – Lamb chops marinated in milk and Kashmiri spices, shallow fried in desi ghee. Firstly, the lamb chops were served with fat on, which was unappetising. If the fat had been rendered down and fried, it would have been delicious, but the rendering was rushed and thus, resulted in a rubbery skin. I couldn’t eat it, so have no feedback on the flavour.

rogan-josh

Rogan Josh – One of their signature dishes, I was recommended this on the day I decided to go for Kashmiri cuisine. It left me perplexed and not in a good way. The spices weren’t cooked through and were way too strong. It was evident they knew how to cook this marvellous dish but it was again rushed, resulting in something I couldn’t even eat. A dish like rogan josh requires slow cooking, so the spices cook through along with the meat and because it wasn’t cooked properly, it was really close to being inedible.

kashmiri-biryani

Kashmiri Biryani – The quality of rice wasn’t the best and the flavour was predominantly chilli. I am not sure if that is how the biryani was supposed to be, but it was quite disappointing.

Overall, I am highly impressed with their Mughlai curry section. It seems they know how to cook Kashmiri cuisine as well, but despite having ordered this rather unknown cuisine twice, I wasn’t impressed. I still look forward to trying other dishes from here. Hopefully, I wouldn’t be disappointed again, because they seem to struggle with inconsistency.

Daawat-e-Kashmir Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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