August 2, 2007

KASHMIRI YAKHNI

Kashmiri Yakhni, flavored with aromatic Fennel seeds and Cardamom, is my contribution for WHB which is started by Kalyn from "Kalyn's Kitchen" blog. This week "Weekend Herb Blogging" is hosted by Kalyn herself.My choice of spice this week for WHB is fragrant Fennel seeds and powder.Thanks for hosting Kalyn!:)

Fennel Seeds:


Fennel Seed is the oval, greenish brown dried seeds of Foeniculum vulgare, a member of the parsley family.Fennel is native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean area. The name comes from the Greek word for "marathon" because the famous battle at Marathon (490 BC) against the Persians was fought on a field of Fennel.Fennel has an anise like flavor but is more aromatic, sweeter and less pungent.Fennel goes well with fish and is used in Italian sausages and some curry powder mixes.Toasting Fennel Seeds accentuates their flavor. Fennel Seed added to meatballs or meat loaf gives an authentic Italian flavor. Saute Fennel Seed with sliced peppers, onion, and sausage for a quick pasta sauce.All these info from here.



Kashmir, also called ‘Paradise on Earth’ and an inspiration for art, music and poetry,is set in the lap of dazzling snow-capped Himalayas,like a crown Jewel on the map of India,changing its magnificent colors with the all four seasons!

House boats in Dal Lake, Kashmir:
(Photo from www.ri.net)

Kashmiri food can be the simple meal of a family, or a 36-course wedding banquet called Wazwan. The staple diet of every Kashmiri is rice, the most preferred being the dense, slightly sticky grained Kashmir variety.Mutton, chicken or fish are of prime importance in Kashmiri meal and everyday cooking often combines vegetable and meat in the same dish.Non-vegetarian dishes are considered in Kashmir to be a sign of lavish hospitality and at a Wazwan or banquet, not more than one or two vegetarian dishes are served. Sweets do not play an important role in Kashmiri cuisine. Instead Kahva or green tea is used to wash down a meal.More info about Kashmir here.

Kashmiri Yakhni:
This amount serves two with meat or vegs added to the sauce.
An exotic Yogurt based Fennel and ginger powder gravy,Yakhni usually cooked with Lamb(Gosht Yakhni) or Chicken(Murgh Yakhni),cooked with rice (Yakhni Pulao to serve with other gravy dishes),can add vegetable Koftas to the gravy too, is a treat for the senses!
This recipe is adapted from Smita Chandra's "Bengal to Punjab" cookbook with some of my own additions(chilli pd and turmeric). If you still find this Yakhni not as authentic, blame the cookbook author, not me!! I am kidding! :D

Yakhni, a thin cream colored sauce with aromatic spices and unbelievably fragrant, is made with Yogurt as a base with spices like –Fennel seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and vibrant and sweet red Kashmir chilli pd.To this basic sauce, you can add chicken,Lamb,Meat balls and vegetable Koftas of your choice.So,let's make some Yakhni gravy!

You need:

2 tbsp butter or oil, few minced Cilantro, slice of lime for garnish, 1 tsp or more sugar,salt,1 cup plain Yogurt, well beaten to a smooth liquid, 1/2 cup water.
To grind in a coffee grinder: Lightly toasted 1 tbsp Fennel seeds,1" Cinnamon(Indian Cassia Bark), 6 Cloves,3 Cardamoms,seeded,1" fresh ginger,minced or 1 tsp ginger powder (saunth),1/2 tsp Garam Masala (available in stores as well), 1/4 tsp Turmeric or 1/8 tsp Saffron(optional) and 1/2 to 1 tsp bright red Kashmiri chilli pd or sweet Hungarian Paprika (optional).

Get ready!

Measure all the liquids,keep aside.Grind all the "to grind" ingredients written above to smooth paste with little water,put it in a bowl.Add 3 tbsp water into the grinder,swirl to get all the tidbits and save that water too!

Let's start;

Heat butter or oil in a sauce pan(non-stick is better if you are inexperienced!) on medium heat,add ground paste along with it's water,stir until you see the oil on top.If it sticks in the bottom,add little water,but do not burn the spices!If you are adding meat or vegs,this is the time to add them and cook for 2 mins.Now add 1/2 cup of water,salt and simmer until again for 3 mins until it bubbles.Turn down the heat to low and cool a little adding a tbsp of water before you add the Yogurt to the pan.

Now the Finale`!

Whisk the Yogurt again and add to the pan making sure that it's not hot at all to avoid splitting the yogurt into grainy sauce. It's very important to simmer in low heat,stirring often to get a smooth sauce.Let it come to heat slowly and simmer for 5-7mins.Add sugar,you will see and smell the fragrant when Yogurt is cooked and sauce is ready when you see a reddish layer on top and the meat or veggies cooked.

Here you are with a beautiful sauce!


Yakhni is now ready.Garnish with Cilantro or mint leaves. Serve with a slice of Lime or Lemon, some plain cooked Basmati rice or a handful of crusty bread and a salad/Raita.Gravy tastes best the next day if you let it chill in the fridge overnight as does any Indian gravy,to let the spices seep into the meat or vegs! Enjoy!:))

74 comments:

Sia said...

my goodness... this one is a must try recipe for me ashakka n i am surely gonna try to cook this for weekend:)
36-course wedding banquet???? oh god!!! why didn't u give me few kashmiri friends? :( that is some banquet....
its amazing that india is one among the places which produces fennel for the world but i have hardly seen any one cooking fennel bulb. i love the taste of fennel seeds in food but i find the bulb to little overpowering. u have given us good info abt fennel and kashmir. i wish to visit this heaven on earth some day for sure.

Kelly Mahoney said...

I don't know if I've ever had anything like that. Thanks for the tips.

Tee said...

Yum! Yakhni looks super delicious!!! I absolutely love fennel seeds and the flavor & aroma they impart to a dish.

Raaga said...

yummy yummy yummy.

I need a nice, simple but nice cake recipe Asha. It is Sachin's birthday tomorrow. Please help.

Dee said...

Ashakka, this looks wow, I havent tried any kashmiri recipe except fot nadru , will try this for sure

Kalyn said...

Wow, this sounds really amazing. I love fennel and the idea of this yogurt-based sauce on lamb sounds incredibly delicious to me. Also I loved seeing the photo with the houseboats; did you know I used to cater houseboat trips in Utah? I'm quite the good houseboat driver, although it's been a few years now!

Manasi said...

Good One Asha! I have only heard of yakhni, never tried coz I thot it must be made with meat... vegs. will do, eh?

ushaprashanth said...

Hi!
This is a multi purpose sauce! great! looks yummy!!!good entry for the event!

Asha said...

Sia, I myself don't have any Kashmiri friends, so don't ask me girl!!:D
Who can really have 36 course,probably have a tbsp of everything but sounds great!
Lot of people do not like the taste Fennel seeds! I love it,whole house smells so good.Best to add Koftas to the sauce bcos sauce itself is very thin.Never tried the Fennel bulbs,got to buy it and see how I like it.
Is it safe to Kashmir now a days,I don't know.I would love to visit too!:)

Hi Kelly, you might get this in Kashmiri restaurants with lamb or chicken.Try it!:)

Tee,I love the smell lightly toasted Fennels too.Try it:)

Jyothi said...

Hi Asha! looks fantastic and yummy. Very new recipe for me. Thanks for your great tips and sharing.

Asha said...

Raaga,thanks,try Yakhni!:)
For cakes,go to my recipe Index ot FH sidebar Menu,look at "Cakes,bakes" and see if you can find one you like.If not,I will see if I can find one for you.I have baked quick breads/cakes,you can add your flavorings as well.

Dee,this is just a thin sauce,you have got to add some Veg or non-veg to this.Try it once,see if you like it. For RCI Kashmir,I will cook more!:)

Manasi,usually it is supposed to be a non-veg dish.But not to miss the flavor of the sauce,you could make some Veg. Koftas and add them just before serving and heat gently.Try it:))

Asha said...

Hi Kalyn,traditionally it's mostly made with Lamb and served with Basmati rice, sometimes they add rice to this sauce and call it Yakhni Pulao and serve with other meat dishes,which is also tasty.
I didn't know they have houseboats in Utah! I have been to Utah once.Sounds like great fun!:)

Hello UshaP.It is multipurpose,can add rice too to make Yakhni pulao.Hope you try!:))

Suganya said...

What is that green thing in yr 'get ready' photo?

Saju said...

Lovely entry, so much info. We do make lamb / chicken yakni at home, but not the sauce, will try it.

Asha said...

You are welcome Jyoti. Glad I tried it too.It is wonderful sauce.Hopr you try!:)

LOL!! Suganya,I had to look at the photo myself for "green thing" bcos I was thinking "huh! What?!" :)
That is a Pear shaped wooden salt shaker,representing Mr.salt or is it Mrs.salt?!:D

Asha said...

Thanks Saju!Next time you make Yakhni Gosht,post it please.I would love to get the authentic recipe,kids love meat dishes!:)
I thought of adding chicken to this sauce for the last photo but it was frozen,takes a long time to thaw!

Roopa(KitchenAromas) said...

Wow, I had never heard of Yakhni but it sure did a great job of stirring my senses! Do you have any recommendations for what kind of vegetables might go well in this sauce? I might give this a try over the weekend :)
Thanks A! You are awesome!

Asha said...

Aw!! You are welcome Roopa!:))
Well..traditionally veggies are not added to this bcos it does have a strong aroma suitable for meat but if I have to add vegs, I would say big Aloo Koftas with other veggies mixed or you can add baby potatoes with Greenpeas,Spinach,Chayotes! Try and experiment with the taste. Koftas will do nicely for a weekend lunch,serve with rice.

Viji said...

woww Asha,looks really good.must taste good too rt?I love all ur pic's.I appreciate ur skill:-) Can I ask u,which camera do u use?:-)

Asha said...

Hi Viji,thanks girl!Hope you try!:)
I use a tiny Sony Cyber-shot 8.1 mgP.I hane an old Sony Cyber-shot with 4.1mgP which works for me too.

Richa said...

so true asha, yakhni tastes good with so many things :) one of my fav is matar yakhni, will blog @ it some time :) looks yum. btw, good luck for ur surgery.

Sharmi said...

That sounds wonderful Asha, the name and the dish looks so lovely. thanks for educating me on this.

Asha said...

Richa,you know so many things girl,from many states and many languages! You intrigue me!!:D
Matar Yakhni sounds great,do post.I make non-veg with this,veg dish would be nice for others too.
Thanks.Surgery is probably next month,he is a busy guy!:)

Hi Sharmi,it smells so good too.Add any veg Koftas to it,it will be prefect with rice.Try it.
I am learning lot of things from bloggers too,it's wonderful!:)

Sig said...

Looks yummy Asha, thanks for the step-by-step... so what did you have it with? I think I'll have with Mutton :)

Neelam said...

Asha Yakhni looks yummy. It must be spicy and tangy too!

Laavanya said...

What an amazing color for the curry. Looks lovely! Thanks for a great, quick recipe.

Roopa said...

wow this gravy looks yum! something different need to try this as you said kofta would be nice choice :). you are amazing coming up with the such unique recipes:)

archana said...

I always thought yakhni was for non veg. The curry looks too good and aromatic. Would like to try it. I have eaten the dum aloos they taste gr8!

bhags said...

OMG, this sounds really amazing, I dont think i have ever tried anything kashmiri and i am going to make this for sure

sra said...

Asha, didn't know yakhni could be made just as a sauce tho' I did know the sauce was yakhni. Does that make sense? I mean I always thought there was lamb in it!

Jyothsna said...

I can almost feel the aroma of fennel around the house!! 36 course banquet? I'll take 3 days to finish that!!! :)

Meeta said...

WOW! What a flavorful yet easy dish! Asha, this is just awesome!

david santos said...

Excelent!
Thank you and have a good weekend

SeeC said...

You always present well asha.
Useful information and yummy sauce.

Asha said...

Sig,I added chicken,had to thaw them first,didn't have enough time to cook with Yakhni,added later!:)
Mutton sounds good,I don't get it here,have to go to halal meat sellers I guess.Enjoy:)

Neelam,not very spicy as in chili hot(kids!) but little tangy,yes!:)
Chilli pd can be added to your taste.

You are welcome Laavanya.Great with non-veg but can add veg Koftas:)

Linda said...

Asha, here I am drooling over that lovely recipe and it'll be weeks before I can make it!! I confess fennel was never a favorite of mine till I started cooking Indian food. Love the photo of Dal Lake you chose. I have an old Time-Life Foods of the World book on India -- there is a photo of the lake in that book but it's not near as bright and beautiful. That book describes the wazwan too -- but I don't think it had any recipe like this!! :)

Asha said...

Hi Roopa.I hadn't sent Kalyn anything in a long time,so made a last minute plan to make this.Turned out good.Try it.Make big firm Koftas ,add just few mins before serving.Gravy tastes better if you keep it overnight.Enjoy:)

Archana,it is mostly for non-veg bcos the gravy itself smells like non-veg!:D
If you add rice to the gravy,it will be Yakhni Pulao to serve with Aloo Dum.Sounds great,huh?:)

Thanks Bha!:)
Try it,you will love aroma. RCI Kashmir will be good,can see lot of Kashmiri dishes.Enjoy.

Asha said...

LOL! Sra,it did make sense!
When we order Yakhni Gosht,we think Mutton dish,right? We don't think Mutton in Yakhni sauce!! BUT there is a Yakhni behind every successful Gosht or Murgh or Pulao!!!!:D
Now that you know,next time pay attention to the sauce,try and find out the secret!:)

J,that's what I was thinking! They probably eat for more than 3 days.You know how some Indian weddings are! Crazy!!:D
I just need a spoon to sample all of 36, one tbsp at a time!Hahaha!

Thank you Meeta.It does smells so good! Just make sure you don't cook that just before you go out bcos the whole house and your clothes smells like Yakhni too! Arvind starts to spray Neutralizer after few mins!!;D

Asha said...

Hi David,how are you? Thanks,you too have a great weekend!:)

Thank you Seec!:)
This was a little rushed post,so I couldn't put the chicken in there in time for the photo.Enjoy.

Linda,hope you are enjoying your well deserved vacation!:)
Kashmiris are mostly Muslims,so their wedding Wazwan is much more elaborate than this simple basic sauce.They cook Mutton,chicken in this sauce or may be with even more exotic spices added and serve as a dish accompanied with 35 other dishes!!:D
For RCI Kashmir,you will see more like these or even better in foodie blogs,can't wait! We don't have any Kashmiri restaurants around here to sample unfortunately!
Have a great weekend Linda.School starts here on 27th,we are trying to catch one last Beach weekend before that if possible!:)

Coffee said...

Is there any ingredient that u dont cook with??

Priyanka said...

Sounds too good.... Will try over the weekend since i have all the ingredients handy:)

Asha said...

Nope!!I will try everything once unless it is fishy smelling!;D
Hey Coffee,Sunita has new Cumin event! Great huh? I think I will skip the marathon run of A to Z and send Sunita one!Have good one dear girl,Hugs:))

Priyanka,these ingredients are so common to most Indian kitchen,it's easy to make it in a jiffy.Try it with Non-veg ie if you eat meat.Enjoy and have a great weekend:)

Raaga said...

thanks Asha. I made a cake and its on my blog. Do check it out.

Asha said...

Great Raaga,I will look at it later today!!Enjoy the Birthday!:))

USHA said...

Hi Ashaji,

Kashmiri yakhni looks aromatic....wow!!!great piece of new informations too.Thanks...I'm starting by tomorrow night flight bye....

Asha said...

Thanks Usha. Have a wonderful and safe trip to India and enjoy the stay.See you later, hugs to you!:))

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

OMG this is looking very nice....Love it......This is a new recipe to me...Never tried before...

Asha said...

Thanks Sukanya!:)
It is a very fragrant sauce,you will have to add vegs or meat to it.Enjoy!

Kajal said...

Waaaaaaaaaah.....Shuban Aallaha......Asha really this is very nice idea with yogurt.....I think this very tasty with Rice.:)

Asha said...

Hi Kajal,that was great compliment girl, Kashmiri style!:D
Thanks ,yes it does.Add some veggies too for more nutrition.Enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Coming from a Kashmiri girl..You do not add chilli peppers to Yakhni.You user very low heat and stir the yoghurt( mean constantly stir,) until it turns into a smooth sauce. You add spices, no turmeric, no chilli and mint is a key ingredient. Once your aromatic sauce is ready. You can add lamb or chicken( previously slightly steamed or boiled). Cook it at slow eat until meat is tender. Grnish with some mint leaves.

Asha said...

Thank you for your input anonymous! As a first timer for making a Kashmiri dish, I cooked exactly what that cookbook instructed, tasted great.Mine is almost like what you have written except Haldi and chilli pd.
Your's sounds yummy and authentic too. I will cook your way next time!:))
Without a little chilli pd,I don't think I can have any sauce, so it's my personal choice to add a little anyway and turmeric is of course for color and optional!:D

Manu Sharma said...

I had bookmarked this weeks ago, just got to try it. Well turned out to be one of the best recipes I've tried. Such a special one. Thanks so much.

Asha said...

Thank you so much for feedback Manu. I added a few extra non-traditional spices to this Yakhni to make it a bit tastier, glad you liked it. You can add any meat or veggies to it as well, enjoy. Have a great weekend!:))

Manu Sharma said...

I made it with kofte. Everyone said it tastes like nothing else. An exquisite dish. Am going to make it again.

Many times!

Asha said...

Ooh! Kofte sounds really good, perfect combo with thin Yakhni. I might try with Kofte too!:)

Vaishali said...

Hi Asha, yestarday i tried ur kashmiri yakhni it came out very good.... Thankx for the recipe....

Asha said...

You are welcome, Vaishali. It's very subtle and thin gravy, great with any non-veg. Glad you tried it. Enjoy! :))

Meena said...

Tried it today, came out good; I'd have to take care not to burn the spices next time :)

Asha said...

Thanks fir trying and the feedback Meena. Yes, nothing worse than burnt spics, smells too. Always turn down the heat to low, add few tsps of water and then the spices to fry!:)

Nytten said...

Hi Asha,

I was just debating with my friend about Kashmiri Yakhni, but I feel our cooking style differ. Additionally, the color you have got for yakhni is a "dal" color, where as a True Yakhni is somewhat the color of Baidan and Shaunth or Sauf, mixed together.

Asha said...

Hi Nytten, you most probably are right too about everything you said about Yakhni! I appreciate your respectful comment.Thank you! :)
I am not a Kashmiri nor have I tasted the authentic Yakhni. My knowledge comes purely from the cookbook I have about this dish and being a south Indian, it's hard for me to get that authentic color and taste of a good Yakhni. If you cook Bisibele Bhath and add cardamom pd to it, I would say the same thing you said too. You know what I mean? It's what I do best as a Kannadiga! So I do understand what you trying to say. Wish I could get a authentic recipe for this! :))

sameer wani said...

nice to see people in states still trying our food..nice blog..anyway ur yakhni color is not what it supposed to be..
next one shud be mirchi kurma in kashmiri as marchivangan kurmi.

Asha said...

Hi Sameer, thanks man!:)
I know! I tried this Kashmiri dish for the first time, didn't know what the color or taste should be like at all. But I loved the aroma, simplicity and taste of this Yakhni. I did improvise with some ingredients, may be that's why the difference in color. Hard to find very authentic Kashmiri recipe even in cookbooks though.

Aseem Saxena said...

Hi there!

A couple of questions:

1. How much chicken do we add to this? When?

Aseem
Johannesburg

Asha said...

Hi Aseem, you can add 1-2lbs of chicken with bones or without. Dark meat with bones will give you a great flavor. Chicken breasts are faster to cook and ark meat take a bit of time. How much chicken is up to you depending on how many people are being served. Enjoy.

Aseem Saxena said...

Dear Asha,

Thanks a million...

Some more doubts:

1. For the amount of yakhni made by you on the page, how much chicken must I add?

2. When must the chicken pieces be added? Must they be fried for some time?

Thanks,

Aseem

Asha said...

Hi Aseem, I made this for two, so you can add 2-3 chicken breast cut up. Add the chicken after you saute the spices in oil and stir fry the chicken till they turn whitish and then add liquid. Hope that helps.

sona said...

Hi i really like that u guys like kashmiri dishes.Being a kashmiri i would love to modigy it lil bit if u dont mind.
In yakhni red paprika is never used. Instead of red paprika u can use green chillies and black pepper.
Instead of ginger lil bit of onion is used.black and green cardamoms both are used, no lemons or sugar.
If u can smell and taste all those ingredients separately thats what real yakhni is.
I hope u all like this.

Asha said...

Sona, thank you very much for your authentic suggestions, don't mind at all. I am told that Yakhni is brownish color rather than red as mine. Adding green chillies instead of chilli pd is a great idea. Love the tasty and aromatic Kashmiri food, but don't see many Kashmiri blogger with the recipes though, I love to see a Kashmiri blog about authentic recipes! :))

Angitta Brightnes said...

woww,, i think i'll try soon <3 cooking

Asha said...

Hope you do try A, enjoy. Thanks :)

Shanib said...

I am a kashmiri and we dont use any chilly in yakhni.. I am gona make yakhni today and i will surely send th ebest recipie for all.

Asha said...

I am sure you are right too Shanib that chilli pd is not added in Yakhni.I just followed the recipe in that book and also being a south Indian, I would love a little heat in Yakhni,so I added it anyway :)