Baking Delights of Kashmir


Each morning, at the break of dawn, the first shops to open are those of local bakers or Kandurwans, the lanes of Srinagar witness people quietly going to these shops and buy Girda bread which is like a Naan. The Girda goes well with Noon Chai or the pink tea and is a staple breakfast throughout Kashmir.

Kashmir is a land of many delights and renowned all over the world for its beauty. But apart from gorgeous vistas, the Kashmir Valley is also home to excellent culinary gems.

Girda with Noon Chai
Photographed by Sheikh Eiman

While the Wazwan is famous and loved globally, it is the baking industry of Kashmir that possesses a distinctive flavor. Each morning, at the break of dawn, the first shops to open are those of local bakers or Kandurwans, the lanes of Srinagar witness people quietly going to these shops and buy Girda bread which is like a Naan, but thick at the edges. The Girda goes well with Noon Chai or the pink tea and is a staple breakfast throughout Kashmir.

The local bakeries are almost the center piece of tradition in Kashmir and almost have a nostalgic impact in the hearts of people from this region. The history of these bakeries can be traced from the medieval era and later augmented by the British. The modern-day bakeries are a delightful amalgamation of the old recipes with British sensibilities.

Breads in Kashmir are rarely prepared at home. The dough is left overnight in khandurs, and subsequently prepared in the morning for consumption. There are thousands of varieties of these breads in Kashmir, with the most popular ones being girda, lavasa, ghyev czhot, chochwor, bakirkhani, kulcha and sheermaal. These breads have their own variant that are innumerable and go with Wazwan, as well as on their own. Other British era delicacies include puffs, patties, cream rolls, pastries, stuffed kulchas, mittha bunndh and cakes which are equally famous across the Valley. Due to the availability of walnuts in the region, one of the popular confectionary items are the walnut fudge. Moonlight Bakery near Hazratbal in Srinagar are famous for their sugarless walnut fudges that are sweetened and bound by dates and honey along with walnuts. These exotic walnut fudges are extremely delectable.

Every locality in the cities of Kashmir has at least one such bakery that caters for all such items and even the smallest of villages at least have a kandurwan. It is an irremovable part of Kashmiri traditions and cultures. These breads are served on all occasions such as weddings, funerals or general meet ups. No gathering is complete without Girda and Chai. Even on the chilliest of winter mornings one can see the kandurwan opening and people lining in the street to get their breakfast. So, the next time you visit Kashmir, make sure you pay a visit to your nearest kandurwan and get a taste of authentic Kashmir breads!

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