mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Whew! It’s Over! Time for Some Breakfast

In Kashmiri, on the side, Rice, Traditions and Customs, Under 30 min! on September 30, 2007 at 9:44 pm

wedding roth
Party fatigue took over. But since I promised a concluding post, I will tell you a little bit more about the wedding and the events after the mehndiraat.

On the morning of the wedding, preparations were on for the Devgon – a ceremonial cleansing of the self to get ready for the next phase in one’s life – entering the grihasta (family) ashram. In India, it has always been said that a marriage is a relationship not just between two individuals but between two families. The living members and those who have passed on to the other realm. On this day the groom and his family first seek the blessings of their ancestors by performing the pitr pooja.

Hindu philosophy believes agni (fire) to be the ultimate cleanser – it can never itself be sullied or polluted, and all are equal before him. Devgon is performed around this sacred fire. The groom-to-be sits by the fire after a ceremonial bath and offers prayers to Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. All the elders of the family participate in the ceremony and fast till the conclusion of the havan.

kheer and monjjvorDaughters of the family are always a part of the ceremonies with the bua (father’s sister) enjoying an enviable position. She prepares kheer and monjjvor (flattened moong dal vadas) on this day which are offered to the Gods and then distributed to all family members to break their fast. The function is usually followed by a simple vegetarian meal of rice and vegetables. Our lunch that day comprised of a yellow subzi of pumpkin, a fiery red dish of radish and potatoes cooked with nadur (lotus roots), and served over steamed rice with yoghurt. (Read more about Devgon and Kashmiri wedding rituals here).

 the bride and the groom enter the wedding mandapThe raatlagun (night wedding) lasted into the wee hours of the morning. Only a few of us were able to keep vigil, amongst them my younger sister. The bride came home and, later, returned to her parents’ house for lunch (phirlat or saathlat).

The wedding reception hosted by my uncle that evening was grand to say the least. Food, food, and more food. We snacked on fruits, rotisserie chicken (better believe it!), chicken kabab, paneer tikka, something-manchurian (the new snack-food at all functions), tikki, papdi chaat…There was more but I just couldn’t bear to find out. The bar flowed. At dinner there was traditional fare: tchok tcharvan (tangy liver), nenya kaliya , rogan josh, mutsch, dum olu, tchok wangun, tchaaman kaliya, nadir yakhin, rice pulao, and steamed rice. I may have missed some of the dishes on the vegetarian side since I gave them just a cursory glance.

kulfi time

The most popular dessert was obviously kulfi. Not the kind that is frozen in an earthen pot, but the one on a stick! TH lost count of how many he had. We made sure the bride and the groom got to have some too.

(Part I: Big Fat Kashmiri Wedding)

I forgot to mention that before reaching the wedding venue we had taken a detour to the engagement function of another cousin, where we caught up with my mother’s side of the family. This meant we arrived at the wedding venue after the barat (the groom’s party) had been formally received by the girl’s family with much garlanding.

The partying was not yet over. The following day was the first birthday of a cousin’s son – a rather important milestone. With so much of the extended family around, it seemed hardly likely that we were going to let it pass…without a party. So, another dinner followed. This one included a Birthday cake as well.

wedding rothMy aunt (the groom’s mother) came to this party with dry fruits and roth to share with all of us. This is the tradition of roth khabar where specially baked roth, studded with dry fruits, sent by the bride’s family is distributed to family, friends, and neighbours, to announce the coming home of the bride. I got a gigantic half of a roth that we enjoyed with kahva on a couple of mornings! You can find my mom and sister’s recipe for this type of roth in the comments section of this post.

After partying ceaselessly for seven days, it is little wonder that we decided to defer TH’s birthday celebrations till we were more up to a feast.

But I don’t want to leave you without a recipe. Again.

This traditional Kashmiri breakfast of tcur tsot with a cup of kahva invokes leisurely Sunday breakfast memories. It always reminds me of the many summers I spent in Kashmir at my grandfather’s house.

You will probably find echoes of this breakfast crepe in many of the regional cuisines of India, but the use of mustard oil makes it uniquely Kashmiri. The spicing is fairly simple, and yet again, mustard oil becomes an important flavour, providing not just a mellowed pungency but also the golden colour. So don’t be skimpy with it.

The tsot ((ʦŏ̈ṭü) likely gets its name from the sound of the batter hitting the hot tava, to give us tsur (the sizzling sound) tsot (Kashmiri, for roti). There was a time when a good tsur tsot was one that would un-spiral as you ate – a feat only possible when you use oodles of oil. You do need these to be crisp and golden; about a teaspoon and half of oil per tsot can achieve that.

Tsur tsot

Tsur Tsot
(A rice-flour crepe)
makes 12 seven-inch crepes

1 ½ C rice flour
3C + 2 T water
1 t cumin
½ – ¾ t red chilli (cayenne) powder
salt
mustard oil

ingredientsTake the flour, spices, and salt in a bowl. Add water and mix to form a smooth batter of pouring consistency. The amount of water may vary with the type and age of the flour; the final batter should not be too thick. A thick batter will make the crepes soggy. You should be able to judge after the first one – add flour if too thin, and more water if too thick. The best part is that rice flour is easy to mix, and never goes lumpy. The flour does tend to settle as the batter sits, so give a good stir before every pour.

Swirl ¾ to 1 teaspoon of oil on to a hot (9 inch) cast iron or non-stick pan. Make a crepe starting from the center and poring outwards in a spiral (I tend to go clockwise) using about 1/3 cup of batter. Drizzle a half teaspoon of oil around the edges. Cover and cook on medium-high for 2 minutes. Uncover and cook a further couple of minutes till golden and crisp. Flip and cook for a minute. Serve hot with a cup of spicy kahva.

Tsur tsot

Traditionally, no chutney or pickle is served with tsur tsot, and I have been able to convince my family to stick with tradition. That is how nostalgia works out for me. You, on the other hand, have no such baggage and are free to try your own variations.

Tags: Kashmiri wedding, roth, tsur tsot, rice flour, breakfast crepe, crepe

  1. Big hugs to you for this lovely post, Anita. Monjjvor, yummy: send some over plzzzzzzzzzzz! I just had some tsur-tschot for b’fast! can you beat it! This is really wonderful. (does a dance)! You made my day🙂

    I forgot to mention – this one was specially for you, Musical!

  2. He he, did i tell you that some buddies call it chawal dosa😀

  3. Loved reading about the wedding Anita. You are forgiven for going awol on us. You know how everybody talks about diversity in Indian cuisine but the similarity is equally awe inspiring… I am eating a Konkani version of tsur tsot. We add grated cucumber and green chillies🙂 The theory is that GSB (Saraswat Brahmins) started traveling from Kashmir towards the South. So there!

    …and some say the movement was from Maharashtra to Kashmir! There must be some truth in this…light eyes are seen frequently in Kashmiris. You must try it with mustard oil…to go back to the roots!😉

  4. it amazing how many rice flour preparations come from north indian that we southies have no clue about. it’s great to learn about how kashmiris celebrate.

    “There is much Kashmiris do with rice…” We don’t have much use for wheat!

  5. What a way to start the day, with that delicate lacy crepe. That picture is fabulous.

    Specially cold mornings…the spicy tea is such a great companion to these lacy tsots.

  6. and i must say, a mere thanks from my side wouldn’t do enough justice to that🙂. and yes, i like mine without any chutney too!

    I must do the ‘thanks’…you egged me on to write about the less exotic preparations.
    They rock without chutney – I see you are quite the purist there! It is interesting how some recipes I am willing to change, while others I stick to as if cast in stone!

  7. Anita, you make us all happy with so much beauty.
    Thank you—and when I do try this lovely recipe, I’ll happily pick up your baggage for the first-go-round: this way, I’ll know it as you’ve shared it to be🙂

    It will give you much joy, I’m sure. And don’t forget the special green tea!

  8. Anita, what a beautiful way to showcase a wedding.Family,fun,food and all the colors in a Indian wedding noting can beat it.

    There can be too much of a good thing you know!😆

  9. Nice post Anita… Lol at the part where you just glanced at the veggie dishes… sounds like something I’d do too… Any chance on posting the tangy liver recipe?🙂

    There’s only so much I can eat! Don’t get me wrong – I love vegetarian food too – just not equally! 😆

  10. Nice to know about kashmiri wedding and this tsur tsot is looking like rava dosa we make but not the same we add rava to riceflour.

    In fact, it tastes a lot like rava dosa! The spicing is same – cumin plus cayenne, and the batter consistency is similar too which results in a lacy ‘dosa’!

  11. Aaaah! Tsur chot and kehwa. Absolutely adore it . When I was living on my own, there have been times when I have had tonnes of tsur chots for dinner too!But of course its always better when mom serves them to you one after the other, hot, crispy and sizzling. The wedding menu sounded excellent. The last kashmiri wedding I attended was mine and obvisouly being the bride could not devour too much. Now I am waiting with a vengeance to attend another wedding so that I can feast till my hearts delight🙂

    We made sure the bride and the groom got to taste the kulfi at least. Even the rest of us, who had been on a party high since livun five days earlier, could not eat that much – just a piece each of mutsch, rogan josh, and nadir yakhin. No kaliya!
    😦

  12. There is much similarity Anita… agree with Ashwini🙂 I do believe in the legend that my ancestors were in Kashmir and hence the name Saraswat (descending from Saraswati) and they moved in search of warmer climes to Goa!!

    Loved the post and the food🙂

    Ah…so more substance in the southward migration…similarity shows in the love for rice too!

  13. Enjoyed reading this!

    And now you can see all the pics too!

  14. Look at that lacy delight! Held up by the window, that too! What will the neighbors think, Anita?! They may want to come right over…😆

    So I have made this without knowing that this is the famed tcur tsot that you have been holding back on for all this while! Yes, yes, yes – just like Ashwini and Raaga – it is those Kashmiri roots, lotus and others, that are responsible. But mine were not as gorgeous cos I scrimped on the oil and I used regular vegetable oil.

    I’d give anything for some of that kulfi right now…yum!

    I bet you had it with some chutney too…go back to your gorgeous roots girl!😉

    That kulfi was just outstanding!

  15. you are indeed having a lot of fun, to say the least🙂

    All good things come to an end…[sigh]

  16. that looks exactly like a gorgeous rava dosa. interestingly on one of those deperate days when i ran out of rava – i made dosas with just rice flour😀. good to know its actually a dish with a wonderful name – “tsur tsot” – love it.

    Yup – it does! As yummy too!

  17. Anita,

    Thanks for the comment🙂 Glad u liked them.
    Do we live in the same city ?;)

    We are virtually neighbours!

  18. This whole description that you’ve set to words almostmakes me want to get married!🙂 I do love weddings- it’s the only time I get to see some of the more-distant relatives, and definitely the food is a much-discussed subject as well. So…the bar was flowing eh?

    Wedding are occasions when everyone makes the time – perfect catch-up time – good food, and ‘old’ friends and family. The bar was flowing with ‘traditional’ stuff like whiskey-soda, and rum, and vodka…no Tequila😉 so I didn’t go near.

  19. Manisha:

    “it is those Kashmiri roots, lotus and others, that are responsible.”

    He he, that was funny😀

    Yeah, she’s the funny one.

  20. That’s what I’ve always loved about these weddings – the go on for weeks!

    Too much of a good thing? Nah…

  21. Anita, just saw the announcement on Jugalbandi, congratulations. The picture you entered was v nice too.
    In most Telugu Hindu weddings and ceremonies, even in non-vegetarian communities, the meals are pure vegetarian, with the toor dal being a must. It’s only after all the guests have left and close family remains and the rituals are over that people resume eating meat, at last!

    On all days that there is a puja (Devgon or the wedding day itself), only vegetarian food is cooked. But on other days (livun, maenzraat, and the reception) meat dishes share the table.

    I bet some in a Telugu family must want the wedding to be a brief affair so that the meat feast may begin! 😀

  22. Anita, I came here to say that your pic of beaten egg whites is awesome. I had a similar idea but had to drop it after I saw it done beautifully🙂

    You like the pic – thanks! And I won the lucky draw prize! You should have sent your too…

  23. hey there Anita… lovely description of the wedding and food…and the recipe too…thats my quick fix dosa recipe… didnt know that its a kashmiri recipe..

    and congrats for winning the little draw…

    Thanks. I am so thrilled about the prize!

  24. Dear, I just loved that roth khabar. Its looks fantastic. Do you think you could share the recipe??

    It was one great roth. The recipe will come soon – once I have tried it out in my own kitchen.

  25. come out, come out, wherever you are…

    I am trying, believe me…but work just keeps pulling me in…this month will be like this only😀

  26. Anita, thank you so much for sharing the rest of the wedding story, and that lovely recipe! The photo against the brightly lit window is really spectacular — making it look almost too good to eat, but I’d still take a bite or three😉

    Linda

    Three crepes, right? LOL – one bite is too little. Try them and test your self-control!

  27. Manisha,

    gr8 post. Also can u add me to ur blog list http://nourishingindianfood.blogspot.com/ . thanx ahead

    What’s in a name? You meant ‘Anita’, right?

  28. Yes!

    Now, this can only be defined as the ultimate in all hijack attempts! And, I wasn’t even trying!

    Lovely hijack recipe – will surely try!😆
    It’s happened before…How do you do this, OLO?

  29. So…are you saying that drinks like rum-and-cola, whiskey-and-soda, gin-and-sour are commonplace there?!!! [looks disappointed]

    Vodka-cranberry juice? [looks hopeful]

  30. I searched your blog for a Kashmiri dish that I remembered as Tchok Wangun?…made with tart green apples, eggplant and dried ginger as the prominent spice. I remember it as a recipe from Madhur jaffrey but cannot find it anywhere… please help!
    Thanks!

    That is not tchok wangun (sour eggplant) but tchotonh wangun!🙂

  31. You know what, I am getting curious, in bengalis mustard oil is the oil we use, we have a dish called macher kalia (fish kalia) and a dish called alur dom (dum aloo). Do you know any historical connection like marriages between Kashmiri royal families and Bengali royalties or otherwise how are these similarities travelled such a long way? Incredible India

    • Kashmiri pandit families have had to leave Kashmir and migrate to different parts of India on numerous occasions…..all thanks to religious persecution. So, you find them in Delhi, Lucknow, Goa, and yes, even in Bengal. In fact, there is a town called Raina in W. Bengal. I grew up in Calcutta in the sixties and have had the opportunity to taste the Bengali Macher Kaliya and Aaloor Dom….nothing like the Kashmiri version, but the names persist🙂

      You are right the Bengali and Kashmiri versions of those are completely different; it is likely that the similar names are just a coincidence!

  32. hey, good description. and the first foto which u hv uploaded in this, has my masi and masu ji… Santosh Kak and Neelam Kak🙂 u seem to be my distant relative😀

  33. Enjoyed reading all your blogs….nostalgic. Miss visits to my grandparent’s house in Srinagar…Fateh Kadal. Did want to add, Anita, I have had tcur tsot with walnuts especially on Shivratri.

    Thanks for reading, Rita.
    On Shivratri my mum makes tomul tchot, the fatter simper griddle-cake-like version, and with that we eat walnuts and mishri!

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