Muslims, and in the past the Mughals rulers of India, are the kings of cooking flavourful meat in India. No one does it better. They’re famous for barbequed meat, rich meaty flavoured curries, and in Kashmir, Wazwan (a traditional 12-course meat extravaganza).

If you love meat, especially red meat, read on (unfortunately, you won’t find beef here, find out why).

Rogan Josh

Rogan Josh and Mutton Fried Rice. Photo © Karl Rock, all rights reserved.
Rogan Josh and Mutton Fried Rice. Photo © Karl Rock, all rights reserved.

Rogan Josh is the most popular Kashmiri curry that’s been exported worldwide. Except the western version tastes nothing like the real thing. It’s so far away, it’s laughable. The authentic Rogan Josh is two large meaty bone-in mutton pieces with a light and spicy red curry. No cream, just red meaty goodness. Try this at City Palace restaurant in Kagil.

Mutton Fried Rice

Mutton fried rice is the perfect accompaniment to Rojan Josh. This fried rice is full of mutton and spices giving it a slightly yellow colour. Even eaten on its own, it’s a great meal. Try this at City Palace restaurant in Kagil.

Shahi Korma

Shahi (Royal) Korma is a popular mutton curry, hence it’s not an everyday dish but rather brought out at special occasions. It’s a rich savoury and spicy curry usually served with chicken, crunchy cashews, and sometimes chewy raisins. Try this a Mughal Dhabar & Bakery in Srinagar.

Rista

Rista. Photo © Karl Rock, all rights reserved.
Rista. Photo © Karl Rock, all rights reserved.

Rista is mutton meats balls with a spicy red curry. The meatballs are large and packed tight with meat. A half serving (2 meat balls) is enough even for a big eater like me. Try Rista a Mughal Dhabar & Bakery in Srinagar.

Haleem

Haleem. Photo by Charles Haynes.
Haleem. Photo by Charles Haynes.

Haleem is my all time favourite Muslim dish. The first time I saw it, I was less than enthusiastic. It looks like muck. But it tastes like a delicious spicy, thick, meat stew.

It’s a hard dish to find because its preparation is so labour intensive. It takes six hours to prepare. Most of that time is taken simply stirring the chicken or mutton until it’s melted down into a soup. Hence, it’s only available on special occasions and hard to find at restaurants – even in Kashmir.

Try it and you’ll be hooked.

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