The history of modern Kashmiri cuisine can be traced back to the fifteenth century invasion of India by
. It is a blend of some of the delectable elements of Mughlai Cuisine and the traditional Kashmiri cooking. The traditional Kashmiri cooking is known as Wazhawan, which is rich and aromatic with wonderful flavors. The cuisine is characterized by three different styles of cooking based on the Kashmiri pundit, the Muslim and the Rajput styles. Though the Brahmins or Kashmiri pundits are meat eaters, they do not use garlic and onion in their cooking. The cooking of Muslims is highly influenced by the Mughlai Cuisine. They use garlic, Kashmiri chillies, cloves and cinnamon.
The Kashmiris mostly prepare non-vegetarian dishes. Their staple food consists of rice, wheat, and pulses. The fruits and nuts grown in the valley form a part in daily menus. They lavishly use curds in gravies, giving the dishes a creamy consistency. They also include asafoetida to flavor their meat dishes. Saunf (aniseed) and dry ginger are other ingredients normally use to enhance the taste.
One of the features of Kashmiri cuisine is the making of a special masala cake from spice-blends, onions and locally grown chillies that can be stored for longer periods of time and are used in flavoring curries. Fresh fish is a favorite and fresh vegetables are used in season. Countless meat dishes are served during the traditional functions. Smoked meat, dried fish and vegetables are stored for use in winter. The tea in Kashmir is spice scented green tea called ‘kahava’ poured from a samovar, a large metal kettle that must have come from the Russian steppe region.