The timeless custom of Hokh Syun, a singular culinary apply in Kashmir, permeates the kitchens of rural and concrete properties, infusing the air with the fragrant essence of winter dishes crafted from sun-dried vegetables and fruit harvested through the summer season.
Notably, Hokh Syun includes soaking rigorously preserved sun-dried produce in scorching water till they swell, then sautéing them in oil and spices.
The result’s a symphony of flavors that embody the essence of winter consolation for the folks of Kashmir amid the harshest winter interval in Kashmir, known as Chillai Kalan.
For Kashmiri farmers like Hafeeza Bano of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district and Dilshada Begum from Baba-Wayil village of Kangan, Hokh Syun isn’t just a convention however a boon.
These farmers sun-dry surplus greens from their gardens, consuming some and promoting the remaining throughout winter. The financial good thing about promoting Hokh Syun outweighs promoting contemporary produce in the summertime when costs are decrease as a consequence of plentiful provide.
“Whereas contemporary produce is out there year-round these days, Hokh Syun stays an integral a part of Kashmiri kitchens. This custom, born out of necessity within the face of harsh winters, continues to be a cultural touchstone. Regardless of fashionable provide chains and year-round availability of contemporary produce, the distinctive style of Hokh Syun holds its sway,” Hafeeza instructed the information agency-Kashmir Information Observer (KNO).
The demand for Hokh Syun she stated is just not confined to native markets; Kashmiris residing overseas carry these sun-dried delicacies with them.
Distributors like Abdul Ahad in Hazratbal expertise a steady demand, with gross sales reaching new heights with every passing 12 months.
Highlighting that sun-dried greens have been a cherished custom amongst Kashmiris for hundreds of years, he famous that their consumption throughout winters is an age-old apply, with the demand surging from late December to February.
Explaining their significance, he added, “These dried greens are famend for offering heat in winter. Whereas folks historically grew them at dwelling, these days distributors in Srinagar and different cities additionally provide these.”
Within the northern areas of Kashmir, together with Bandipora, Baramulla, and Kupwara, the age-old custom of consuming regionally produced sun-dried greens like brinjals, gourd, turnips, spinach, and tomatoes throughout winters has been deeply ingrained within the tradition for hundreds of years.
Even in locations like Kargil, Leh, and Jammu, there’s a notable demand for sun-dried greens, showcasing the widespread reputation of this Kashmiri custom.
KNO additionally performed interviews with quite a few residents from rural in addition to city areas who expressed a choice for dried greens through the chilly days in Kashmir.
“Along with contemporary greens, many individuals, significantly through the bone-chilling winter, want consuming dried varieties resembling Ruwangan Hache (Dried Tomatoes), Al-Hache (Bottle Gourd), Nader Hache (Lotus stems), Hokh Gaad (Dried Fishes), Wangan Hache (Brinjal), and Gogji Hatche (Turnip),” stated a vegetable vendor in Hazratbal.
In the meantime, Well being specialists counsel that consuming sun-dried greens a couple of times per week throughout winters is usually secure, however it’s essential to not make it a each day behavior.
They advise being cautious about how the greens are dried and saved. “When you discover any fungus on sun-dried veggies, be cautious, because the fungus might comprise dangerous toxins that would result in well being issues, together with an elevated threat of most cancers. So, get pleasure from sun-dried greens sparsely and ensure they’re correctly ready and saved to remain on the secure aspect,” they stated—(KNO)
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