Call your self a foodie? Have you tried the Wazwan? The authentic food of Kashmir, Wazwan is a multicourse meal preparation, which is considered an art and a point of pride in Kashmiri culture and identity. Almost all the dishes are meat-based using lamb or chicken with few vegetarian dishes. Mouthwatering indeed! But such tantalizing cuisine could be relished in its traditional form only in select Kashmiri food festivals or in the state of Kashmir.
But we got good news! In order to promote the Kashmiri Wazwan globally in its traditional trait, Nasir Andrabi, a Kashmiri by birth and an ardent foodie, quit his high paying banking job in Singapore and took to opening up outlets to fulfill his dream.
A resident of Bagaat, Srinagar, Nasir Andrabi is a business graduate from Cardiff Business School, London, and has now started his own outlet named Khyen Chyen (meaning – food and drinks) in Gurgaon, New Delhi, just to promote Wazwan outside the valley.
The preparation of this cuisine is not only difficult but also complicated. This multi-course meal traditionally comprises 36 courses and are prepared by and under the supervision of the head chef, Vasta Waza, who is assisted by a team of chefs called Wazas.
Yes, you require an experts’ supervision to attain the delectable taste in order to cook this food in the traditional way. That’s the beauty of the valley and its food.
If there is one thing unique about Nasir’s restaurant, it is the untampered and unaltered way in which his cooks present the dish to all the customers and food connoisseurs who stop by his outlet. The amazing flavor is achieved by using spices and the ingredients native to the valley – like chilies, cockscomb, turmeric and saffron.
Nasir faced obstacles like finding a good traditional chef and also all the ingredients that are required to cook this extensive dish while establishing his outlet. He made sure he served dishes like Tabakhmaaz (barbecued lamb ribs prepared in ghee), Rista (a spicy gravy preparation of meatballs) and Qushtaba (a big meatball prepared with yogurt and served at the end of the meal), all of which are the major dishes of Wazwan.
The journey of Khyen Chyen has been quite successful from the time it was established. And now Nasir is planning to open his first outlet outside India, in Singapore.
Indeed this dish is finding a global market and fans!