Srinagar, November 12: Kashmiris are becoming more and more infatuated with the traditional Harissa delicacy as winter closes in. Sales of the delicacy are rising both in conventional brick-and-mortar stores and online.
Traditionally popular among the locals looking for some warmth and coziness during the cold winter months, the minced mutton dish was brought to Kashmir during the Mughal period.
To taste the delicious delicacy, Harissa is attracting a lot of attention from customers in the Aali Kadal region of downtown Srinagar, where foggy and chilly mornings are the norm.
Due to the overwhelming demand, many establishments had already sold out before 10 a.m., making it almost impossible to get a dish of harissa. New restaurants that focus on preparing harissa have emerged as a result of its popularity; Hattrick Foods was the first to establish this trend.
In the Aali Kadal region, Muhammad Maqbool has been a part of the family business for generations, selling harissa. He talks about his love for the art of harissa preparation.
It’s in my blood to prepare Harissa. This art makes me happy and fulfills me; therefore, I have dedicated my life to it. Maqbool adds, “Even though I have earned a lot, I am even more content when I see a happy customer enjoying the dish.”
Many ancient city sections, like Saraf Kadal, Nawa Kadal, Rajouri Kadal, and Gojwara, are home to traditional Harissa stores that struggle to attract consumers while maintaining a high standard of quality. Uptown neighborhoods such as Maisuma and Rajbagh are starting to feel the Harissa effect.
Eager to savor this winter treat, customers start showing up at Harissa stores as early as sunrise. A Srinagar native named Iqbal Ahmad says, “My buddies and I make sure to enjoy Harissa twice a week. So that we may savor this treat with tandoori bread, we impatiently anticipate winter.”
The dish is now available to customers across Kashmir at restaurants that have jumped on the Harissa trend after seeing the rising demand. The continued appeal of Harissa in the winter is noted by Hattrick Foods Ltd.’s managing director, Babar Chowdhary. The need for it is constant. Actually, its renown is growing every day,” claims Chowdhary.
Packed Harissa, he observes, has emerged as a practical choice for those unable to visit authentic Harissa stores. It also makes a lovely present for loved ones who live outside of Kashmir.
Expertise and diligence are crucial in creating the finest Harissa, according to Chowdhary.
The perfect consistency and fragrance need a whole night of gentle stirring, he says, from selecting the finest quality spices to carefully selecting the appropriate mutton.
For generations, Kashmiris have loved harissa, although no one knows exactly where it came from or when it first arrived in the valley. Large crowds gather early to enjoy this traditional mutton dish in Shahr-e-Khaas, the ancient city of Srinagar, which is the epicenter of businesses preparing harissa.