Bid goodbye to the winters with these sweet and sour Dogra recipes of Jammu
Winter and spring in Dogra households in Jammu are incomplete without the smokey 'kimb' chaat. Kimb is a citrus fruit that is locally grown there. The sweet mitthe chol adds to celebrations in Dogra weddings and festivals.
Shikha Jamwal 24 Feb 2022 6:59 AM GMT
Alu tikki chaat, matar chaat, samosa chaat, dahi-papadi chaat, bhalla-papadi chaat… all familiar chaats across the country with each region offering up its own twist to them. But have you tried Jammu's special kimb chaat?
Winter and spring in Dogra households of Jammu & Kashmir are incomplete without this chaat made of Citrus medica (kimb), which grows locally.
Though the kimb resembles a large-sized orange or lemon, it tastes very different. It has an orange coloured skin with a thick white pith underneath and is bursting with tangy juice. The chaat made with kimb becomes extra special because it is smoked with a combination of mustard oil poured over a burning coal.
I cannot separate the kimb chaat from my childhood spent in the hills of Jammu. In the delicious winter and spring afternoons, women of the colony, including my mother would gather at someone's garden or rooftop and in no time at all prepare and dish out kimb chaat, which we kids used to relish.
Often, someone would forget to bring a knife or the mustard oil, and would be sent scurrying home to fetch them. Kimb chaat was as much about taste as it was about an adventure on a lazy sun filled afternoon.
Benefits of kimb fruit
Kimb is rich in vitamin C and helps fight infections, manages hypertension, nausea and vomiting. It is a fruit which is good for our liver and heart. The juice of kimb helps relieve headaches as well. The juice is also used in pickles and in preparation of another street chaat of Jammu, Kachaalu.
Kimb chaat was prepared only in Dogra households and not sold as street food. But, with time, and if you are lucky, these days you may find hawkers selling it in the winters or early spring.
Here is the mouthwatering Dogra recipe of sweet and sour kimb chaat.
Recipe: Kimb Chaat
Kimb - 1
Coriander leaves - half bunch
Mint leaves - 25-30 leaves
Green chillies - 3/4 (as per taste)
Sugar - half tsp
Red chilli powder- half tsp or as per taste
Salt - Black salt or table salt (as per taste)
Mustard oil - 1 tsp
Coal - For dhooni (smokey flavour)
1) Peel the kimb and cut into two halves.
2) Discard the seeds and squeeze out the juice into a bowl.
3) Cut the kimb rind into bite-size pieces and put them into the bowl containing its juice.
4) In a mortar and pestle, take coriander leaves, mint leaves, green chillies, some sugar and salt and pound them into a paste.
5) Add this coarsely ground paste into the bowl of kimb and mix well. Check for salt and add red chilli powder according to taste.
6) The magic begins when the humble chaat is elevated to another level.
7) Take a piece of burning coal, and place it in the centre of the bowl containing kimb pieces. Pour the mustard oil on it and immediately cover the vessel with a tight lid. This gives the chaat its unique smokey flavour.
8) Open the lid after 5-7 minutes. The smokey flavour will be absorbed by the fruit.
9) Remove the coal piece and the sweet and sour kimb chaat is ready.
After the sweet and sour treat of the kimb chaat, here is a typical Dogra delicacy prepared during weddings and important festivals such as Basant Panchami and Baisakhi.
Mitthe chol, or sweet rice, is prepared with loads of dry fruits. The Jammu region is quite famous for its basmati rice and you will find its distinct aroma of rice wafting out of almost every kitchen here. The locally grown rice is an indispensable part of all auspicious occasions and celebrations.
Mitthe chol and Dogra weddings
Mitthe chol is a rice dish cooked with ghee, whole spices and dry fruits. Every wedding dham or community kitchens specially set up to cater to weddings and other functions, will make mitthe chol as the sweet dish. The dish is cooked in huge pots called sagla on firewood.
The menu for the wedding dham is fixed – rajma, chana dal, ambal (sweet tangy pumpkin curry) and mitthe chol.
The dham food is served on pattal and dona made with the green leaves of balugand tree. The food served is just like it is in a langar where people sit on the floor and the food is served to them with great warmth and humility. Mitthe chol is served in a dona (bowl) at the end of the dham.
Recipe: Mitthe chol
Basmati rice - 1 cup
Ghee - 2-3 tbsp
Cinnamon stick - 1/2 inch
Green Cardamom - 3-4
Cloves - 2
Fennel Seeds - half tsp
Black peppercorns - 4-5
Sugar - 1/3rd cup or as per taste
Turmeric - a pinch
Saffron - 6-7 strands dissolved in 1/4th small bowl of lukewarm milk
Almonds - 3-4 sliced
Cashew nuts - 3-4 chopped
Raisins - 6-7
Dry coconut - 8-9 slices
1) Wash the basmati rice thoroughly 3-4 times in running water and then soak in fresh water for half an hour or so.
2) In a heavy bottomed pan, add three and a half cups of water, add a pinch of turmeric for that golden yellow colour and bring it to a boil. Add soaked rice and cook it till it is almost done. It should not be fully cooked.
3) Drain the rice and spread it on a flat bottomed vessel or plate.
4) Take another heavy bottomed pan or kadhai and add ghee. Keep the flame on medium low. One by one, put almond slices, cashew nuts, dry coconut slices and take them out once coated well with ghee. Do the same with raisins and remove them as soon as they start to swell up in the ghee.
5) Add whole spices (green cardamom, cloves, black peppercorn, cinnamon sticks and fennel seeds) into the ghee. You can add little more ghee at this stage if you want to.
6) Add sugar and 1/4th cup of water and let the sugar dissolve completely in water.
7) Add milk with saffron strands and let the mixture come to a boil.
8) Add rice to the mixture and gently mix it so that the grains don't break. Keep the gas flame on low heat and cover the lid and let it steam cook for 5 minutes or so.
9) Remove the lid and add ghee coated almond slices, cashew nuts, raisins and dry coconut slices. Mix gently and serve hot.
Try these recipesand I will come back with more traditional Dogra delicacies.