At a time when authentic traditional cooking is dwindling to the point that youngsters even have no idea about the name of a few traditional dishes, Srinagar’s twenty-year-old Asma is doing her best to protect and revive the traditional cuisine of Kashmir.
Asma’s love for cooking came from seeing her maternal grandmother cook. She had always been passionate about cooking Kashmiri dishes, but her passion took a different course when she came across the advertisement for an exhibition. She had just passed class 12 at that time. With reluctance, her parents also gave her permission to participate in that exhibition.
The exhibition was an instant hit. Asma had welcomed everyone with a cup of Kahwah (traditional Kashmiri tea). And her menu included the forgotten wonders to the palate like roath (Kashmiri sweet bread), makki ki roti (maize flour flatbread), kebab, tabakh maaz (fried lamb ribs), basrakh (a crispy sugary sweetmeat), noon chai (salted tea), and the wazwan (a multicourse ceremonial meal). She uses the purest of ingredients and the most important ingredient of her cuisine is always care and love.
The exhibition opened a lot of opportunities for her. She started an Instagram page for her food and started receiving orders from Srinagar through the Instagram page. A venture called ‘Food by Asma’ was launched in early 2021. Her cuisine ranges from Rs.50 – Rs 150 and are hot selling delicacies.
Along with her food project, Asma is also a college student and is working as a reporter for a local magazine. She is studying in BA Psychology distance course at Amar Singh College, Srinagar. According to Asma, it is difficult to manage both her studies, work as a reporter and the food project all at the same time. But she says that being a reporter is her dream and food is who she is as a person. So she hopes to juggle them perfectly in the future as well.