Kashmiri food carries with it a delicious nip of all things hot and spicy. It is a rich tapestry of Indian, Iranian, Afghani and Central Asian styles of cooking.
Kashmiri cuisine has some vantage ingredients: that is dry ginger, fennel, red chillies, curds and mustard oil. Even though it is dominated by non-vegetarian fare, the vegetarian delicacies manage to carve a niche for themselves. One of the typical ingredients in a lot of Kashmiri delicacies is the Kashmiri ver which is a doughnut-shaped cake of ground spices with a strong and pungent aroma. And yes how can one forget the scent of saffron, which forms an important part of this cuisine.
Riffling through the books of history one discovers that it was the invasion by Timur in 15th century that left a legacy of Kashmiri cuisine. With time there was an influx of skilled workers as also cooks from Samarkand whose descendants came to be known as Wazas or the master chefs of Kashmir. Wazwan is a unique concept in the world of Kashmiri cooking. Other influences are that of the Muslim and Rajput styles of cooking. A fantastic blend of all these is witnessed in the ultimate formal Muslim banquet called the Wazwan.
Sieve together refined flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
Add sugar to the milk and heat in the microwave for 30-40 seconds or till the sugar melts. Remove from heat and mix.
Place yeast in another bowl, add ¼ cup (50 ml) of warm water and set aside to dissolve for 3 minutes.
Soak raisins and chironji in ½ cup warm water and set aside for 5 minutes.
Make a well in center of the sieved flour, add sweetened milk, screw pine water and dissolved yeast and mix to make soft dough. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for 10 minutes.
Gradually add 3 tablespoons of melted ghee to the dough and knead till it gets incorporated into the dough. Add almonds, raisins and chironji. Knead, cover and keep it in a warm place for 30 minutes to allow the dough to rise.
Preheat the oven to 240º C.
Divide the dough into equal portions, make balls, cover and set aside for 10 minutes.
Flatten balls and roll them out into oblong shapes of ¼ cm thickness. Prick the entire surface with a fork.
Arrange them on a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.
Remove from oven, brush bakarkhanis with the remaining ghee and serve hot.
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