Monday, 28 June 2010

Kahwa and The Kashmir Saga

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Hi Friends.
I am back after the well deserved break. Enjoyed my holiday in the pristine state of Kashmir. Today I share my experience of rejuvenation and the famous drink that is served there.
I read an interesting line “I am in Kashmir, Heaven can wait”. True to these words the place is beautiful and the immaculate beauty is surely welcoming. One can just sit and watch the place for hours together without getting bored, the serenity makes you believe that one is in paradise.
Our journey started with some hiccups as our aircraft had a problem so were grounded in Jammu for a day, so utilized that and visited the famous Raghunath Mandir and stayed there overnight. The next day we were off to Srinagar, the summer capital of J&K. We enjoyed the view of snow capped mountains during our 35min fly from Jammu-Srinagar. The International airport is beautiful and is under high security. Once you enter the city one can see the army people posted at regular intervals, that’s a common scene through out the state.
The first two days we stayed in a house boat in Dal lake and enjoyed the new experience, felt like living in Venice. The houseboat is made with the deodar tree and the interiors done with walnut tree. There are about 1290 houseboats in Dal lake. The Boulevard road which runs along the lake has a huge number of shops and restaurants. One can do a Shikara ride in the lake and enjoy the floating market, garden as well as water sports.
One can stay in Srinagar and travel to Sonmarg and Gulmarg. Gulmarg has the highest Gandola ride in the world and is called the meadow of flowers. There are two levels of the Gandola, Section I is from Gulmarg to Kongdori and then section II from Kongdori to Apherwat which is about 13,780 ft high. The first section carries about 1500 people/hour and the second section 600 people/hour.
Sonmarg did not have much snow this time and one can trek for about 6kms to reach the glacier.
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Pahalgam, the land of shepherds is breathtakingly beautiful, we stayed there for 2 days. I would love to visit this place again and stay for more time. It is the base for The holy Amarnath yatra, and the place was getting ready for it. The lidder river flows through the valley and is the attraction of this place. One can do river rafting and enjoy the scenic beauty here.
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On our way to Pahalgam we stopped at Pampore a small village famous for it’s saffron fields. I came to know that the saffron is grown only at three places in the world Kashmir, Iran and Spain. Three thousand flowers add up to  yield a gram of saffron, undoubtedly it is very expensive but that did not stop me from buying it.
I also shopped for spices and dry fruits which are of high quality. The shahjeera and cloves that I purchased had an excellent aroma which is completely lacking here in the plains. The other things that one can shop here are clothes made with aari work and needle work, one can buy salwar suit, saree, shawl, stole, bed cover and many more items. Wooden furniture and artifacts made with walnut are very popular here. One should not miss buying paper machee work but if you are ready to spend money do indulge in the carpets, they are beautiful and extremely expensive but will last for generations together if properly handled (the antique carpets are sold at higher price). I did buy a one made with silk on silk wearing a Hamadaan design and still can’t believe I shelled out an exorbitant price for that!!!!
A few things that I bought..
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Coming to Kahwa, it’s a traditional drink made with green tea, spices and saffron. It is served with dry fruits, sugar and honey.Traditionally made in a brass kettle called samovar. It is served to the guests after a traditional wazwan dinner but we were offered that everywhere and we accepted it gladly especially S who is in love with the drink…
Ingredients
(serves 7-8)
1 heaped tsp green tea
about 9 cups of water
8-10 saffron strands
1 stick of cinnamon powdered
7-8 green cardamom powdered
almonds blanched, peeled and slivered into flakes
7-8 cashewnuts crushed
sugar as per taste ( I used about 10 tsp)
Method
Take a tea pan and bring water to a boil. Add the sugar, put the powdered cinnamon and cardamom and saffron. Finally add the green tea, switch off the gas immediately and cover it with a lid for few minutes, take precaution not to over boil the green tea else the kahwa turns bitter .
Divide the almonds and cashewnuts equally in 8 cups and then strain the tea into it.
Serve steaming hot, it is an excellent drink for winters or a cold day.
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40 comments:

Rach said...

Welcome back! Lovely clicks (feel like visitin Kashmir right now!!!). The drink looks awesome :)

Pari said...

Thank U Rach for that quick comment and I'm so glad u liked the clicks and the drink.

Nandini said...

After your tourism of Kashmir, I felt I was really there (virtually). The drink is really refreshing and lovely!

Vrinda said...

Nice drink n beautiful pics......

Mina Joshi said...

Pari

You are a very good writer. Really enjoyed reading about your trip to Kashmir. Thanks for sharing your pictures and your souveniers with us. I love the Khawa recipe too. It looks and sounds so healthy.

Rachana said...

Welcome back dear Pari :-)

I loved the post and felt that I was actually in Kashmir :-) The Pictures are so beautiful!

I love Kahwa and had it just once when we went to Jammu. I would definitely make this delicious drink at home now :-) Thanks for the recipe!

Pari said...

Thanks Vrinda.
Meena, I am grinning!!! Thanks for appreciating my writing skills and I'm so so glad that u liked the pics and the drink.

Kairali sisters said...

Welcome back Pari, Beautiful drink and amazing pics, love kashmir, would love to visit again n again..

Love
Kairali sisters

Suja Sugathan said...

Lovely post, enjoyed reading and thanks for sharing those beautiful pictures,...the beauty of Kashmir..Refreshing drink, looks awesome..

Mythreyi Dilip said...

Looks you had a great time in Kashmir, beautiful pictures and refreshing drink dear:)

Sukanya said...

Thanks for sharing such an exotic drink and beautiful Kashmir.....Was transported there.

AshKuku said...

WOW!!! Those exotic pictures took me on a short trip too.... Thanks ..very pleasant ones.... And the drink is surely enticing..... Thanks for sharing the awesomeness in your post..... On the whole a lovely post making us live the moments with you.... Hugs ))))

Ash....
(http://asha-oceanichope.blogspot.com/)

Swathi said...

Pari,

Welcome back, Yes Kashmir is heaven in earth i would visit some time. Nice write and souvenirs you bought. By the way Kahwa looks great.

Sanjeeta kk said...

A treat for eyes!! 'Heaven on Earth' is what Kashmir is. And your clicks says it all.

Nithya said...

Wow.. lovely post dear.. Beautiful pics and yes lovely recipe too :)

Deepa said...

wow, with all that experience which I got just with reading the post, I wish I could go there now. Looks so so refreshing and inviting..Shopping looks very nice..all the items especially the carpet..love it..Kahwa looks so flavorful and healthy..

Parita said...

Kashmir is my dream destination ...lovely pics!

Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal said...

Wow, those pics are mind blowing, my dream location to be :)

Jay said...

wat a refreshing n healthy drink. This one is new to me. nice color dear.
Lovely pics of Kashmir...!

Krishnaveni said...

such a flavourful drink...great

SS blogs here said...

Nice to have you back. This post was very informative about Kashmir! Enjoy the drink!

Sailaja Damodaran said...

Beautiful place,love the things you bought from there too.Did u buy saffron?I heard we get the best & good quality there.

Sailaja Damodaran said...

Read it later looks like you bought some Saffron.Anyway i enjoyed the pictures & the drink.I too have green tea leaves will give a try.

Kiran said...

Dear Pari,
Welcom back.Nice to know that you had a wonderful time.Loved the pictures and write up of your experiences in Kashmir.
Kahwa looks very colorful and delicious.

sowmya's creative saga said...

the pictures are awesome...love the drink...so refreashing...

rekhas kitchen said...

Nice post Pari hope you enjoyed a lot. It's my dream to visit Kashmir beautiful pic let me see when it will be possible and loved those dress meterial nice colors.

Priti said...

Pari sure you had gud time..the shopping list is awesome...love everything :)

suma said...

have heard a lot about this famous drink.. sounds refreshing!!

callmeasviju said...

very nice blog..............if time permits visit my blog...http://lets-cook-something.blogspot.com/

Shriya said...

Awesome clicks. Nice drink recipe.

Preeti Kashyap said...

This is where I am from. I was born there but we shifted out due to so many problems like other kashmiri pandits. I still miss my mom's dogri!

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

Refreshing drink.... Lovely pics....

munchcrunchandsuch said...

OMG, such beautiful pics Pari..and I envy wat u purchased there..green tea is so gud for health and with all the spices, its only goodness loaded

PJ said...

Welcome back, Pari! its so wonderful to read about your trip and to enjoy the beauties of this wonderful region through your post. Its a place I have always meant to visit but never really had a chance.. wonderful photos and a great travelogue!

Sushma Mallya said...

Lovely write up pari,have never been to kashmir till now but your pics took me there, wish even i could visit such a lovely place...and thanks for sharing kawa recipe, very interesting drink and colour is really attractive too...

Pari said...

Hi friends, I am glad you liked to read the travelogue and the drink. Do try and visit this place, it's like living in paradise.
Preeti u r a lucky girl. Omar Abdullah is inviting back the Kashmiri pandits now and many have resettled in villages.

Sanyukta Gour(Bayes) said...

droolworthy drink...looks yum yum yum..very eyecatchy..lovely write up
thanks pari for visiting and for ur suggestion...hv done the necessary changes...thanks again

Hamaree Rasoi said...

I enjoyed watching the pictures and write up about your trip to kashmir. That is a very famous drink..

Deepa
Hamaree Rasoi

Spice said...

Thanks pari for sharing all that....U brought back my memories of kashmir trip...long time back went there, loved reading your post...

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