Kashmir is a beautiful valley located on the northern most part of India. It is recognized by its rivers, Mughal gardens, beautiful scenery, snow clad mountains, rivers, shrines lakes and lovely people. Poets and writers had referred it by several names in their literature. It is said “Agar firdous baroy zamin ast, hami ast hami ast hami ast” means if there is paradise on earth then it is here.
Kashmir is also known as valley of flowers and amount the flowers saffron flower has its own importance. Kashmir is the only place in India which has this privilege where Saffron is grown. The stigma of saffron flower which is think and has a long head and dark red in color is the saffron which when dried is sold in the market. There are few different grades of saffron that are available in Kashmir Market. Lachha saffron, Mongra saffron and Zarda saffron.
To check the purity of saffron you take a stigma of saffron under your teeth and it tastes a little bitter and also it does not dissolve. It is advised to buy from the genuine shops rather than purchasing from local vendors which is definitely a fake one.
Kashmirs Saffron also known as Kesar (Kung in Kashmiri Language) is considered to be one of the best saffron in the world. It is the most rare and expensive herb / spice in the world. It is grown on the flat plateaus of Pampore in Kashmir. It is expensive because in whole Asia it is only grown on these lands and production yearly is just over 2000 kgs which is very less as compared to saffron grown in other parts of the world.
It is famous because of its aromatic flavor and medicinal value. Medicinal companies in the country prefer to use Kashmiri Saffron in their medicines. Also food companies and saunf companies use it for flavor color and its aroma.
Famous Kashmirs Tea Kehwa
In Kashmir it is used in famous tea called as Kehwa. A Golden brown tea with several spices like Almonds, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Green tea leaves, Kashmiri honey and other special spices are used to prepare this special tea. Tourists from all over the country and abroad are welcome by offering the Kehwa on arrival as special thanks giving and hospitality. It is also used in several food varieties of Wazwan (Kashmiri Dishes) in marriages and parties. There is also a saying that if a pregnant woman uses Saffron in her food the child that will be born will be fair in color.
Kashmiri Saffron in herbal spice in nature. When compared with Saffron from Greece Spain and Iran the Kashmiri Saffron overtakes the other by quality and sweet aroma. It is usually sold in 01 gram airtight packing and the cost is normally Rs 250 to Rs 300 per gram. This crushed dried Saffron is the first choice of Indian Kitchen for bringing awesome flavor and taste to the dishes. It also has been proved several scientific researches that Saffron has a high medicinal value.
Kashmiri Kehwa Recipe
Although there are many ways to make Kashmiri Kehwa but below here is one of the ways you can enjoy this cup of refreshing tea.
Bring the water, cardamom pods and cinnamon to a boil. Add the Kashmiri green tea and saffron strands and let steep for about 5 minutes. If you are using saffron powder, simply dissolve the powder in some water before adding it to the water. Remove the tea leaves and add sugar or honey to taste. For seasoning you can add crushed pieces of almonds and other dry fruits to it.