An Emulsion of Onions and Shallots, is used in most of the Mulsim Dishes, and is prepared at the very start of a ‘Vazavan’ Dinner. In fact, this very skillfully prepared seasoning imparts a special aroma and a distinct flavour to most of the ‘Vazavan’ Dishes, so much so that preparation of this Emulsion alongwith the right method of using Garlic, is believed to be the secret of ‘Vazavan’ specialities.
Apart from a ‘Vazavan’, even in home cooking, one can find most women of Kashmir, adept at cooking various delicious Dishes. The skill has been handed over from mother to her daughters, and daughters-in-law or the younger sisters, for genera-tions. Here also, Spices, Condiments and Seasoning play an important part, in addition to their methods of Traditional Cooking.
1. Onions – 1 kg
2. Shallots (K-‘Pran’) – 1 kg
3. Mustard Oil – 1/2 kg
4. Clarified Butter – 100 gm
Sometimes Suet is partly or wholly used in place of oil.
Method of Preparation
- Peel and cut off the hairy roots and green tops of Onions and Shallots. Chop these, lengthwise, into uniform pieces.
- In a ‘Kadahi’, heat the oil till foam disappears, and then add butter and Suet (if used). Deep fry the chopped Onions and Shallots on medium heat, turning these regularly by means of a per-forated ladle (H- ‘Jharna’). When these turn golden-brown and become crisp, strain oil, etc., thoroughly thorough a colander, or a strainer. This oil can be used for cooking, or for future frying of Onions and Shallots.
- Grind these fried Onions and Shallots in a Stone Mortar by means of a Wooden Pestle (H-‘Havan Dasta’). Then, while adding enough hot water slowly, continue grinding till it turns into a Milky Emulsion, which is now ready for use in various Dishes as a seasoning. This Emulsion replaces Asafoetida used by Kashmiri Pandits.
In daily Domestic Preparation of various Dishes, Onions, Shallots and also Garlic, in smaller quantities, are fried and ground and made into an emulsion etc., according to the need, side by side, during cooking.