Before I start about the review, let me shed some light on the salient features of the cuisine from the Silent Valley. I feel one needs to know about it to appreciate the food that is being served at Jaavaid's KNK ( kebabs and kurries)
In the olden times, almost every Kashmiri household, in the plains had a professional Kashmiri cook in residence, who were the masters of their art. Pure ghee and mustard oil was used freely and every mealtime was an event in itself. Gradually and with time, the ladies of the household learnt the art under specialized training of these culinary masters and became as proficient as their ‘gurus’. As the living costs increased with time, the era of these super cooks ended. However, their art wasn’t lost.
One can frequently taste the delicacies mastered by the chefs at the wedding. Kashmiri Wazwaan that evolved in the Valley several centuries ago acquired some of the scrumptious elements art of Moghul cooking and yet has retained a distinct personality of its own because the of their authenticity in herbs, spices that has not changed for centuries…..
There are two classes of culinary craftsmanship in Kashmir, namely those of the Kashmiri Pundits and the Kashmiri Muslims. The basic difference between the two was that the abundant use of Hing (asafetida) and curd among the Hindu’s and the open-handed use of onions, Kong (saffron/ kesar) and garlic among the Muslims.
Hindu Brahmins (Kashmiri Pundits) are not averse to eating meat, but rather love lamb, they prefer the lamb, that too a young one. No vegetarian or non-vegetarian dish, except certain Kebabs is cooked without curd. The Kashmiri’s often cook their food by heating it on two sides, from top and bottom for that distinctive taste. The charcoal fire is used even today at the weddings, but oven also serves as a good substitute.
Originally, Kashmiri Pundits avoided onions and garlic but now many of them have acquired a taste for them and include them in certain recipes as optional.Kashmiri cooks known as the ‘Waza’s’ claim to be the descendants of the master chef’s who migrated from Samarkand and parts of Central Asia at the beginning of the 15th century and were a vital part of the entourage that came to Kashmir during the reign of Timur (Tamarlane).
The Kashmiri Banquet is known as the Wazwaan, a feast for the King, which is perhaps the most unique and elaborate royal spread of meat and delicacies compared to the other parts of India. Comprising of thirty-six courses, fifteen to thirty dishes are varieties of meat. Many of the delicacies are cooked throughout the night under the expert supervision of a ‘Waza’ or head chef assisted by an entourage of thirty or more assistant Waza’s under him (during the wedding seasons) . Kashmir’s most formal meal, Wazwan is not only a ritual but also a ceremony. Traditionally, no spoons, forks, or knives are used.The rice, which is the staple diet of Kashmiri’s, is served in a heap in a huge platter known as the ‘Traami’ and four people share a Traami.
The side dishes are served in an overwhelming manner one after the other, such as Tabaqmas, Rista, Waaz Cockur, Seekh kebab, Aab Gosht and Gostaba to name a few. A non-Kashmiri would be in awe at the wonderful mouth watering variety. Being invited to a Wazwan is a rare luxury that one can really enjoy the hospitality and taste of the rich culture. The wazwaan is also known as the celebratory meal n its authenticity is handed down through generations only by word of mouth…
If you are in mood to taste authentic Kashmiri cuisine, there is only one place you need to head to . Its Jaavaid's Kebabs and Kurries, Khader Nawaz Khan Road
Before I start about the food that was served at Jaavaid's, I would like to give a special mention of thanks to Team Jaaviad for the wonderful food and hospitality. I did not have a slight feeling that I was in a restuarant, it was like visiting friends after a long time. Special Thanks to Nishanth and CFG for giving me this wonderful opportunity. More than the food, photography and review, I got to know more people who love good food just like what I do.
Without further ado, the dishes in the order they were served.
Khawah, which is being served at marriage feasts, festivals, and religious places, it is customary to serve Kahwah, or Qahwah (originates from a 14th century Arab coffee, which, in turn, was named after an ancient beverage of the Sufis) - a green tea made with saffron, spices, and almonds or walnuts. Over 20 varieties of Kahwah are prepared in different households. Some people also put milk in kahwah (half milk + half kahwah).
Timbre Kebabs, the name reminded me of the film Cheeni Kum. It was very juicy, marinateed with hot spices from the valley, a perfect blend of hot spices over burning embers of coals
A Closer shot of Timbre Kebab. Are you drooling ?
Onion Chutney, usually served with the kebabs, goes well with rotis and is very spicy. Its a treat to your taste pal lattes
Next comes the Mutton Seekh Kebab ,Tender lamb meat, minced, mixed with herbs
Paneer Makhmali Kebab, this was a treat to the vegetarian heart. The spices were different, the aroma of was very authentic. This was the best among the vegetarian dishes
Tabaq Maaz - Divinely delicious ribs of tender lamb, bolied with spices from the valley & shallow fried on slow heat to a crackling crispy texture
Jaavaids Special Kebab - this is a boneless preparation, which is Chef Jaavaid's secret recipe. The taste was out of the world.
Vegetable Seekh Kebab - It had the taste of minced vegetable with a special mix of flavors and cooked in coal
Raal Mel Talith - this was a very tangy dish with crispy vegetables. I loved the taste of spice and tanginess
Talith Alwae - Potato cubes with a strong flavor of spices and lime. Tasted so good.
Shammi Kebab - tender chicken , deep fried after being cooked with special herbs and pounded.
Mutton Rogan Josh - Mutton cooked in the aromatic flavors of the Silent Valley
Garlic Naan to accompany Rogan Josh
Rogan Josh, for your eyes !!
Tandoor platter of Roti, Butter Naan, Paratha and Garlic Naan. They were sooper soft.
Bottle guard has never tasted so good. This is Al Yakhini , Bottle guard cooked in yogurt mixture along with mint
Marchhvangan Qurma, an extremely spicy gravy - Lamb cooked in Kashmiri red chillie
Dhaniwal Qurma - Lamb cooked in Yogurt mixture with coriander, making it very aromatic and tasty. A treat to the eyes, nose and your stomach.
Mutton Pepper Chops - Tender Lamb, cooked with pepper corn. Ideal for a person with cold
Sabz Pulao - mildly flavoured long grain rice with
Mix Vegetable Curry - to accompany the Subz pulao
Chicken Biryani with the traditional brinjal curry - the taste was so authentic, that it still lingers in my mind
Goshtaba - Hand Pounded lamb dumplings cooked in creamy yoghurt with special herbs n spices . This is the last dish of a Wazwaan. before the dessert is served
Badam Sweet or Badam Meetha - A delicious coarsely ground almond dessert, served chilled, an indulgence truly
The overall experience was too good, I look forward to my next visit to the restaurant and has been talking to all my friends about this for the past three days. The food was brilliant, the ambiance soothing, the service was courteous, what more do you want from a restaurant.
Jaavaid's Kebabs and Kurries are located at the below address
No. 18/28 Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai - 600034
Ph: 044 4300 0535
Entrance 1 - On Khader Nawaz Khan Road between Tommy Hilfiger & Wills Lifestyle Showroom
Entrance 2 - On Wallace Garden 2nd Street diagonally opposite to Sandy's & Right next to Harley Davidson Showroom