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Relishing sun-dried vegetables in winters
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Relishing sun-dried vegetables in winters

Post by Syeda Rafiyah on Sunday, December 11, 2022

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Despite the availability of fresh vegetables throughout the year, people in Kashmir still prefer to relish the taste of the traditional sun-dried vegetables (Hokh Suen) in winter season. 
A number of sun-dried vegetables such as tomatoes, turnip, brinjals, gourd etc are sold in markets as well as are sun dried in most of the Kashmir homes during summers to prepare for the harsh winters, as there is always fear of highway blockade due to snow and rainfall during which the prices of fresh vegetables go high.
Cooking these dried dehydrated vegetables definitely is an art.According to the food Vlogger and the owner of the YouTube Channel Kashmiri Zaika, Kainaat Syed, here is list of food items that are consumed from many decades in Kashmir during winters. 
Dried Turnip greens with mutton
This dish is a must make in the winters in between November to ending February. Mutton with dried Turnip green is a deliciously spicy meat dish that is slow-cooked to imbibe the flavor of spices. This dish is most favourite dish in winters. 
Dried Quince (Bamchoont Hache)
Dried quince, also known as Bamchoont Hache are among the most valued and adored of the Kashmiri Hokh Suen. The highest quality quince are carefully chosen before being meticulously sun-dried in hygienic circumstances in autumn. Dried quince is one of the most loved and cherished recipe. The texture and flavour are more intense when the water content is dried out. You won't want to miss out on this mouth-watering Kashmiri dish made by pouring some yoghurt over fried dried quince.
Dried Methi with chicken (Hu’kh Meth te manz)
Fenugreek leaves, although often used as vegetables, add heaps of flavour to a dish when used as a herb, like with methi chicken or chicken with dried fenugreek leaves, or mutton with fenugreek leaves. The aroma is strong and unique, much like the aroma of any other herb like rosemary or mint, and the taste is a unique blend of bitterness and tang. No, you cannot taste this bitterness, instead it dissolves to bring out the flavour of the chicken. It’s similar to the taste of roast chicken made with orange halves. People who love to taste chicken add dry methi leaves with it. It is an ideal combo with rice and chapati. 
Dried tomato with fish (Tamatar Hacchi te gaad)
It is of the best food which is used in Kashmir during winter. It is typically eaten with plain boiled rice and you can have some crispy papad by the side. This pan fried fish fillets is served with salty acidic tomato sauce made from sun-dried tomatoes, capers, garlic and onions, a light meal that is easy to make.
Gogji Aar (Turnips)
Gogji Aar is one of the most versatile and nutritious vegetable. Dried turnipsare used extensively during winter in combination with Mutton, Rajma (Kidney Beans, Warimuth (Black Beans), and Nadru (Lotus Stem).
Dried dandelion greens (Handh)
Dandelion known as Handh in Kashmiri is a flowering plant and a weed that grows in many parts of the valley. Its greens have been often used in Kashmir as a cuisine, particularly for lactating mothers in olden times.
The herb grows naturally in April and May in both in plains and at peripheries. Rural women continue to collect Handh, which is cleaned with water and left to dry.
Dried dandelion greens is commonly boiled and crushed to a pasty texture. It is stewed on its own or cooked with fish, meat and chicken.
Handh is believed to be good for new mothers and is often prepared in homes after deliveries. It is said that handh has medicine value for joint pain, women’s problems, back pain. 
Dried Bottle gourd & dried aubergine (Al hach& wangan hach)
Al hach (dried bottle gourd) or wangan hach (dried aubergine) are cooked with an onion and may be combined with meat. Bottle gourd and aubergine are sun-dried in autumn season and then are stored at home and used in winters. 
Dried Tomatoes (Ruwangan hach)
Ruwangan hach or sun-dried tomatoes is also preferred in winter months in Kashmir. Boiled eggs are also fried are cooked with sun-dried tomatoes. Sun-dried tomatoes are also used with fried fish recipe mixed with reddish. 
Dried collard green (Hukh haakh)
Hukh haakh (dried collard green) is first sun-dried then stored at home. It is also a preferred traditional Kashmiri food consumed during winter, and is mixed with many vegetables. It is often used during cough and cold in children andelderly people.
Important things to remember
In order to make the dried foods safe for health and avoid the risk, before you cook dip the dry vegetables in warm water and add some salt. It is important as it removes the dust particles, residue, germs, and fungus.

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