Basrakh and Tosha- the forgotten traditional delicacies
Once a go-to sweets on special occasions, Basrakh and Toosha have lost appeal and market as well. But, now they have returned on the bakery shops again due to subtle changes which have added to their demand and taste.
Post by on Saturday, June 19, 2021
Once a go-to sweets on special occasions, Basrakh and Toosha have lost appeal and market as well. But, now they have returned on the bakery shops again due to subtle changes which have added to their demand and taste.Â
Basrakh has been an important part of Kashmir's special occasions. A delicacy made from flour and sweet with a touch of ghee, has been essential item during marriages, child birth, betrothal etc in Kashmir.Â
But due to introduction of modern sweets and other varieties, Basrakh somehow lost the race and vanished off the market.Â
However, there are some people who still prefer Basrakh and get it made by placing orders.Â
"Recently I gave an order of 150 basrakhâ€™s to a famous baker of Srinagar and it was worth buying," says Safeena, a local.Â
Earlier bakers used to get bookings in advance from customers to get the delicacy made for special occasions. But now that is not the case.
â€œWe make Basrakh on day-to-day basis too but not everyone buys them as was the case earlier," says Younis, who owns his bakery shop in downtown Srinagar.Â
Tasbiya, a banker who lives in uptown Srinagar, said, "During my betrothal period, I received a basketful of Basrakh from my mother-in-law and trust me those were to die for. They would melt the moment put in the mouth."
The preparation of Basrakh is simple yet tricky.Â
"Refined flour is mixed with thick sugar paste and is given a cylinderical but hollow shape. It is then fried in ghee to keep the shape intact. It is all about patience and hardwork," Younis adds.Â
Today, when Basrakh is losing its market some young cooking experts are giving it a twist to sell them in the market.Â
"We are losing our cultural moorings, so in order to preserve that I added Basrakh in my menu. I have a huge list of preparations but it has been quite in a demand," says Juveria Javid, who sells and prepares Basrakh along with her mother Roza.Â
Juveria sells Basrakh at Rs 650 per kilogram and â€œpeople don't mind to pay the price given its taste.â€Â
She adds dry fruits to her Basrakh to make it more tempting and it is attracting good customers for her as well.Â
"We take care of diabetic patients in our preparations. On a normal day I get around five to six orders of Basrakh and most of them are ordered by ladies."
Juveria plans to add white chocolate to Basrakh in future as an innovation to attract more customers and make it more appealing.
In earlier days, Basrakh used to be of two types, according to Bilal Ahmad, a bakery owner.Â
"One used to have ghee and other variety would be dry one. The one with ghee would be glazed and tastier," he adds.Â
People from Naidkadal and Daribal used to be famous for Basrakh preparations in Srinagar. Nowadays many have left the business and those who are into it are at verge of quitting since modern bakers took over, Bilal adds.Â
Tosha, an age-old Kashmiri dessert, has its roots in North Kashmir. Its history is drawn in the Sufi roots of Kashmir Valley.Â
"Whenever there would a Quran recital in a family or in any shrine, platefuls of Tosha would be made for the occasion, as a benediction and then distributed among the masses," says Zareer Ahmad Zareef, a poet, writer and social activist.Â
He further says it was a part of the religious belief. "People would believe that by this practice all their worries and sorrows would vanish."
Sometimes people would be asked to do Tosha for a particular purpose as well.Â
"At times a childless couple would be asked to distribute Tosha so that they can bear a child and things like that," says Tehmeena, who teaches at a government school here.
It was usually made on the occasions of grief and joy.Â
"When I was young, my grandmother would tell me tales about her family. And how Tosha was distributed at the arrival of a baby boy in the family.Â
â€œSo this has been a part of joy in Kashmiri families in yesteryears," adds Tehmeena.Â
However, as the new trends picked up pace, this concept also lost its significance and vanished off the shelves.Â
"I never knew there is something called as Tosha which has been a part of Kashmiri society, until I got to know about it from social media," says Beenish, a college student.Â
Recently some young food enthusiasts reinvigorated the Tosha and introduced it to the people.Â
Juveria Fathima is one such young girl who sells Tosha through online mode.Â
"In 2019 I prepared Tosha which was off the scene for a long time."
Juveria says people had long forgotten about Tosha. She had it for the first time at a nomadic familyâ€™s dwelling in Gulmarg.Â
"After long research about it, I finally introduced it to the people again. I learned the recipe from my grandmother and gave it a try."
When it turned out well, she put the pictures of this sweet dish on social media and the post received an instant response from many people.Â
Since then orders are pouring in and she makes it regularly.
Preparation of Tosha
Tosha is prepared with refined flour, sugar and dry fruits.Â
200 gram flour
1 cup ghee
6 tsp coconut pieces
4 tsp raisin pieces
4 tsp cashew pieces
4 tsp almond pieces
3 tsp poppy seeds
7 tsp sugar
Take flour in a pot. Put water in flour and mix it well. Knead the flour and make dough of it. Make the dough soft and keep it aside for 15 minutes.
Take the dough and roll it in one big piece. Roll the dough by rolling pin. Roast it on a tawa until it gets dry and golden brown in colourÂ
After half roast and getting golden spot from both sides.Â Keep it in a plate and break the bread into small pieces quickly. Keep the bread pieces in a plate.Â
Next, add ghee and sugar on the pieces of bread and add all the dry fruits.Â
Mix all of them together in a pot. Knead them together again.
At the time of kneading it, if desired add more ghee.
Take small part of the mixture in hand. Make oval shape of it.Â
Your Tosha is ready. You can spread and roll poppy seeds on it.