Elevate Your Bread Game, Make It Local And Regional
What Makes It Awesome?
Over the years our staples have changed, it started with sliced white bread and now most of us scour bakeries and stores for brown, wholegrain and more recently the uber trendy, sourdough. All of these are delicious and even nutritious, depending on where you bought them but in this hustle, we have forgotten regional bread that has been around for centuries. Though there are few regional cuisines that do typical variations of what we call 'bread', there is one that has eaten leavened and unleavened, baked bread since their cuisine took shape and that's Kashmir. The sheer variety is staggering and the good news is that most variants are available very close to home, at Matamaal in G Town. A Kashmiri restaurant, they have an in house bakery, that bakes traditional Kashmiri breads, fresh, every day. Whether you're familiar with Kashmiri breads or not, the main reason to go check out the bakery is the discovery factor and believe me, you will be surprised. The most familiar is likely to be the Lavasa, which is their version of the middle eastern crispy, unleavened cracker-like bread, best enjoyed with dips and then there is the Kulcha, that they do with yeast and is more like a biscuit, ideal for serving with tea. Then there is the Girda, with the finger imprints of the baker, which I find comforting since it is literally artisan as they say. Made in a tandoor and best enjoyed with butter. For more indulgent bread, I suggest you pick up with Roth, dotted with dried coconut and cashews, though I remember my mother making them with walnuts, it is sweet and pairs perfectly with the salty Kashmiri tea, nun chai. Speaking of sweet, they also have variations of Sheermal and Bakarkhani which are less syrupy sweet and the bakarkhani is topped with crunchy charoli seeds. If you're looking for bread you can snack on then go for the Katlam, which is flaky and the nan khatai which melts in the mouth once dipped in tea or in my case, coffee! Bread to enjoy with curries is the Kashmiri Chot, similar to a roti, it is made with white flour and if you don't have a curry ready, just have it with butter. If you don't have time to have an entire meal at Matamaal, then just swing by to pack the bread, they also have fresh ground spices, Kashmiri rajma, kahwa tea mix, honey and best of all, dried morel mushrooms straight from the source, Kashmir.
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