Kashmiris savour dry vegetables in winters

December 17th, 2008 - 8:16 pm ICT by ANI  

By Parvez Butt
Srinagar, Dec.17 (ANI): With the onset of winter the demand for Hokshuns or, the dry vegetables has picked up in the Kashmir valley
“Hokshuns” are actually indigenously dried and preserved vegetables for daily diet consumed by general Kashmiri families during winters. They include brinjals, gourds, turnips, spinach and even tomatoes produced locally during summers.
In Kashmir, it is a common sight during summer to see vegetables hanging on house-walls for drying for winters.
Earlier, all requirements of “Hokshuns” were met from domestically dried vegetables. But for many years it has emerged as a full-fledged business with makeshift shops selling dry vegetables coming up during winter in cities and towns in the valley.
“During harsh winter fresh vegetables like brinjal, tomato, and others get buried under snow. In summer we sell fresh vegetables but in winter we do business of this only,” said Nazir Ahmad, a shopkeeper.
It is believed Kashmiris have a great weakness for “Hokshuns” and the centuries old practice is coming handy during winters when at times supply of fresh vegetables from the Indian plains gets blocked due to closure of roads including the strategic 300-km-long Jammu and Kashmir highway that connects the valley to the rest of the country following heavy snowfall.
Local Kashmiris are not starved of vegetables, as they have a stock of dried green staple. The people prefer eating dry vegetables during severe cold winter following the general belief that it generates heat in the body.
“It keeps our body warm and so we cook and eat this. During this time, roads are closed and there is no fresh supply of vegetables. So we are eating this,” Aslam Khan, a customer said.
Despite changes in eating patterns and tastes as well as modern dehydrated and processed vegetables available in the market, “Hokshun” still finds a place in most Kashmiri kitchens.
Many Kashmiris are so fastidious about “Hokusun” that while even living outside the valley, they ensure they get a supply of dried green stuff from their native place. (ANI)

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