by Samvit Kher
It breaks my heart! As if no one cares about it.
The reason that I am heart broken and sad is all because of lack of promotion of Jammu Food.
Everybody who comes to enjoy his vacation in Jammu and Kashmir usually plan for Katra, Vaishno Devi and Srinagar of course! So, tourists hardly get a chance to explore the local food of Jammu. Luckily, I have lived in Jammu for good time now and possibly covered most of the street food ( Ofcourse, I have not! I am still hungry)
Jammu has variety of local food to offer. The hawkers, someone near the school, behind a bus stand, beneath a tree- all these places offer the best street food.
Here are some of the street foods of Jammu that one must definitely try:-
The most tasty and legandary food of Jammu is undoubtedly, Kaladi Kulcha! Not to be mistaken as Mozzarella. Also known as Maish Krej (in Kashmiri). It is an authentic Dogra Cuisine Cheese and usually prepared out of cow milk or sometimes goat also.
Kaladi tastes like Paneer, Cheese with a bit of sourness towards the end.
Have a bite of Kaladi Kulcha and enter into the world of absolute ecstacy. This beats Burger King and Mc Donalds anyday. You can definitely claim that you are High On Food when you have a bite of it.
I used to feel very joyous about it when a vendor would shout Gul gule. The name itself sounds very dramatic as something is going to happen in your stomach when you eat it.
For a long period of time in my child hood, I used to think that some magic will happen in my stomach.
Unluckily I grew up and the Magic stopped.
The best part about Gulgule is that they are very healthy because they are made out of Chickpeas.
Gul gule is always served with Mooli and imli ki chutney.
The infamous Jamiri of Jammu
Jamiri is also referred as Wild Lemons and are enormous in size as compared to a normal lemon. Seeing lemons that big made me curious as to what exactly it is! I asked the vendor if we could use a normal lemon instead of jamiri since it won’t be available everywhere. His reaction was,”No! No! No! Jamiri only.”
Making Kachalu or Sweet Potato Jammu
The Kachalu wala took a sweet potato and sliced it into pieces onto a ceramic bowl. Then he added some pepper, chilli powder, salt and jamiri. And Finally mixed them together to produce a quick light snack.
A Pure delight in just Rs. 10
I have tried all possible ways to prepare Cholle and Rajma the way Jammuites make. In Case Of Rajma, I am very close but If you ask me about Cholle, I am not. Go to any small shop street side and ask for Cholle Chawal or Cholle naan, the taste of Cholle will be heavenly.
I have asked many people about the spices they use, they all tell me, “It’s all normal masala”
Quick Tip for Food Bloggers: In cases like these when you don’t understand the recipe, don’t stop, just keep eating and Enjoy the Moment”
You will understand someday. Even Khurana discovered the main ingredient of “Khurana Wala Chicken” in “Luv Shuv tey Chicken Khurana” bollywood movie.
Can’t ask for Naan to go any better than this. Well Stuffed with butter on top and all ready for a great grub.
The place where I always eat Cholle and Rajma Chawal is located in Purani Mandi, right adjacent to the temple there. A small street side food joint was discovered by me three years ago. The place serves Rajma Chawwal, Cholle Chawal, Aloo Tikki and Kulcha.
Rajma, Chawal and Mooli all mixed go so heavenly inside. Mooli in Jammu is comparatively sweet than mooli of other regions. It is thesimplicity which makes the food so rich and delicious.
And finally the local chutney of Jammu that is highly ignored…
There has to be a separate blog post on this chutney because of its taste, usage and uniqueness. No other tangy chutney can match its level. Its a deadly combination of anardana seeds, green chillies, mint and coriander.
Anardana Chutney is usually served with Sliced Onions.
Jammu is called City Of Temples and outside these temples, sit the artists of food. Next time when you plan for a trip to Jammu and Kashmir, keep one day for eating out.
One Quick Tip: Don’t schedule your trip in summers, schedule it in winters
The article first appeared in High on Food.