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Kashmiri food is best-known for its overkill of lamb dishes starting with rogan josh and ending with gushtaba. However, there are several stunning vegetarian dishes to keep a look out for. Not only do they taste delicious but also run the spectrum of mildly flavoured to spicy and do not contain onion, garlic or tomato. All these can be sampled at Samavar, Greater Kailash:
1. The most elemental of these is rajma. Pronounced raz-mah, it is available in quite a few varieties, including a striated one and a small variety that is deep ruby. Made only with hing and perhaps curd, but never with tomato and onion, it is eaten with rice but never with chapatti.
2. Sour baingan (tchok wangun) combines aubergines and tamarind water. Like all other dishes from Kashmir, this one is part of a meal, but would not be a main dish. It goes very well with rajma in fact.
3. On the other hand, haakh (collard greens) is the quintessential Kashmiri vegetable and together with plain steamed rice, is considered a meal fit for a king. The leaves are left whole and simmered in water to which a dash of hing has been added along with a green chilli or two. The trick is to serve both the rice and the haakh piping hot, straight off the fire, to make a grown man weep with delight.
4. The classic paneer preparation is tchaaman kaliya, made with no red chillies at all, but turmeric, green cardamom and fennel gently simmered in milk. It is a quintessentially fasting-food dish.
5. The king of all vegetarian dishes is dum aloo, in which the spicy gravy penetrates right inside the humble spud, making it a dish fit for a queen!