Well, as I was saying (paraphrasing Ammini) “Much is made of rice in Kashmir.” It is the staple at meal times, naturally. For most ‘holy’ days and special days like birthdays, as also to mark new beginnings, we make taher (soft ta – her) – rice cooked with turmeric and mixed with salt and heated mustard oil as naveed (prasad); more delicious than you may think. Any function in the family – weddings, yagnopavit (the thread ceremony) – the bua or maasi (aunts) will make ver, a risotto like preparation in which rice is spiced with caraway seeds, heeng, and vari-masala, and creamed with the gradual addition of water and mustard oil (what else!), quite the olive oil to us. There will be walnuts added, or in the non-vegetarian avtar, chichir (bits of, ahem, intestine). While modur polav is usually served at weddings, the sweet at other less-extra-ordinary occasions is the Kheer.
Now, this is again where Kashmiris are at loggerheads with Maharashtrians. Maharashtrians serve rice kheer only for shraddha! And we think the(ir) sevian (vermicelli) kheer is nothing to write home about (no relation of the muslim seviyan, mind you, which is an altogether different delicious animal). We serve rice first on our thali which then receives all the gravied dishes – katori being used only to serve yoghurt. On a Maharashtrian thali, rice is served last; except, again, when observing a shraddha. If they serve the rice to the front of the thali, we serve it on the other end away from you, and you bring forward, a little at a time, mix it how you want and eat. They serve a dainty handful, we upturn an entire bowl-full. Yet the twain has met!