Cook book

Critical review of the book entitled “Sal-A Feast of Kashmiri Cuisine”

I wanted to prepare a typical Kashmiri sherbat in the time of Ramzaan. I was looking for Kashmiri recipes. I didn’t have the chance to find out. Fortunately, I discovered the recipe details in the book called “Sal-A Feast of Kashmiri Cuisine”. It was written by Smt. Neerja Mattoo, Professor of English Literature and Lecturer at the University of Kashmir. It was a colorful book with lots of recipes from the valley. It was published in 2008. The name of the publisher was Gulshan Books, Srinagar-Kashmir. The ISBN is 81-8339-063-3. The cost of the book is Rs.495.

The book is dedicated to his mother. The content of the book is:

1. 11 Wazwan Recipes

2. 7 non-vegetarian recipes

3. 21 vegetarian recipes

4. 8 Mutton and Vegetables

5. 9 recipes prepared with fish and 1 recipe prepared with duck

6. 2 Dried Vegetables

7. 4 Rice Recipes

8. 4 Desserts

9. 4 Drinks

10. 7 teatime snacks and snacks

11. 4 Chutneys

12. 1 pickle

13. 2 Spice Cakes (made with garlic and asafoetida)

The good points in the book are:

A. Different varieties of recipes have been shared by the author.

b. The author gives a lively introduction to Kashmiri cuisine, from seasonal dishes to festive cuisine.

vs. Authentic recipes shared from his side are Sadre Kaenz, Sheer Chai, baked goods, harisa, girda, etc.

d. She discusses the use and prevention of certain spices and vegetables during festivals and seasons as described in traditional books.

e. Very light color photographs of various dishes are featured in the book (this even includes traditional copper utensils used for different purposes).

F. Its major contribution lies in sharing recipes based on pulses.

g. It is the only book sharing the recipe for a drink called Babribyol Sherbet (a drink made from chia seeds) and sadr-e-kaenz-a fermented rice water).

The weak points of the book are:

A. The sections on non-vegetarian products and on mutton and vegetables could have been combined into one category.

b. The author was not fair in contributing to the discussion and list of Wazwaan dishes.

vs. Although the author mentions various baked goods in the introduction to his book, nowhere is it mentioned or discussed how these goods are prepared by the Kandarvaan or the bakery.

d. The author does not pay much attention to the preparations of various dishes from dried vegetables.

e. There are other varieties of pickles prepared in Kashmir. The author misses his points too.

To sum up in the end, the book is truly an introduction to the world of Kashmiri cuisine. The author describes the steps very lucidly and one can follow them well. I enjoyed cooking some of the recipes in the book.

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