Thursday, October 23, 2014

Local Cuisine of Jammu Region

Jammu also known as Duggar Pradesh is famous for its Dogra warriors, picturesque locations and its local cuisine. While Kashmir is famous for its non-vegetarian food Jammu region has a bunch full of vegetarian specialties. 

The traditional food specialties include (local names) Ambal, Kulth dal, Dal patt, Maa da Madra, Rajma, Auriya, Mhaani, Keur, Babbru/Pathoru, Kheer, Guchhi, Kalaari, Rote, Kalah Mathiyaan, Suchiyan, Chille, Chiroliyan, Dhropras, Gulra and many more to name. Some of these are prepared on special occasions, weddings, festivals while some are cooked on a daily basis. Pickles typical of Jammu are made of Kasrod, Girgle, Mango with saunf, Zimikand, Tiyaoo, Seyoo, and Potatoes. 

Some of the specialties...
  • Auriya: a dish made with potatoes in curd fermented by rye (mustard).
  • Ambal: made from pumpkin, jaggery and tamarind.
  • Mitha path (sweetened rice): rice sweetened by jaggery syrup.
  • Keur: a famous food of Dogras prepared by flour and butter and served with sugar and curd. Mostly, it is served to bridegroom at the time of marriage by the in-laws.
  • Kalaari: specially from a place called Samroli on Udhampur Srinagar Highway. Kaladi has its origin from Udhampur District of Jammu region and is a sour cheese. It is mostly fried (doesn't need any oil/ghee for frying as is full of fats) is also one of the favourite food of Dogras in the rainy season. Kalari cheese is also popular in the Jammu region and in Jammu and Kashmir state more generally.
  • Babbru/Pathoru: are preparerd by flour and fried in mustard oil. Babbru is served with mhaani/potato/kheer/curd.
  • Mhaani: a tangier preparation made of either raw mango or tamarind. 
  • Mitha Madra: is prepared using milk, dry fruits and semolina. 
  • Guchiyyan (dried mushroom - black morel): Gucchiyan a type of dried mushroom which is much sought after in the whole world for its exotic taste is used to prepare Gucchi Pulav. It grows naturally in forests and cannot be cultivated; is a priced commodity (approx 500 Rs. per 100 gms.) and makes an excelled dish with mountain potatoes (Pahadi Aloo). 
  • Rajma or red kidney beans of Jammu is definitely a must- try if you are looking for the flavour of Jammu. Have it with hot, piping rice. Peeda (on the way to Srinagar) is a place famous for desi ghee waale rajma chawal.
  • Greens or saags: sarson, bathua, chileri, cheerma palak, saunf or aniseed leaves, methi or fenugreek, carrot leaves or mixes of many of these.
  • Sweets: Patisa specially from Prem in Kud, a delightful preparation of besan, sugar, desi ghee and flavoured with cardamom seeds which melts in the mouth. Delicious chocolate barfi, a preperation district to Jammu. Sund is another sweet attraction during cultural festivals or a birth of a child. It is prepared of nuts, dry fruits and dry ginger powder.
  • Chatnis: Timbroo chutney, Anardana chatni, raw mango chatni, Raddish & Tamarind chatni.
  • Kachaloo: similar to yam and mixed with a couple of spices is very spicy snack.
  • Kheer is a dish prepared from milk and some rice and dryfruits. It is one of the famous food of Dogras and served in almost all the special occasions and festivals. 
  • Rote, Kalah, Mathiyaan, Suchiyan, Chille, Chiroliyan, Dhropras and Gulra, are usually presented on the occasion of marriage or auspicious days packed in wicker or cane-baskets
  • During Lohri, Tricholi a type of snack is prepared by mixing Til, Gur, popcorn. 
  • On Makar Sankranti Kichdi made by boiling newly harvested rice and black gram dal is eaten with desi ghee.
  • Mothers prepare Bhugga a type of prasad from til, gur and sometimes khoya on the occasion of Bhugga fast. 
Undoubtedly, Dogra cuisine is a combination of Sattvic and Rajasic qualities. This food purifies, nourishes and is beneficial to the body. 

The best way to try these local flavours is to have these in someones home or you may search the menu of some of the hotels. 

Popular food joints: Hotel Jammu Ashok, Hotel Chanderlok, Hotel Asia, Hotel Premier, Hotel KC Residency, Pahalwan di Hatti. 

Tried to gather as much information as possible from my knowledge of the region, internet search, wikipedia etc. More information still needs to be collected and added to the content above.