A day in the life of a Kashmiri would be incomplete without a cup of steaming hot nun chai (salty pink tea) and a fresh loaf of bread from kandur (the traditional baker). While the rest of the Valley sleeps, the kandur stays awake, preparing his tandoor to bake bread for breakfast. The kandur is an essential part of Kashmiri's social life, and each locality has its kandur from which the residents buy their daily bread supply.
In Kashmir, the kandur shop is more than just a location to get morning and evening bread; it is also a communal gathering spot. A location where you can listen to and participate in discussions ranging from gossip to political debates to moral lectures. It is a common meeting ground where all local events are discussed.
The bread's appearance, colour, size, and overall texture and aroma have been refined by the kandurs through the ages. The texture and quality of the bread are decided by the amount of wheat protein, temperature, and type of flour used.
Here are 5 different varieties of bread you must try when you visit Kashmir
A kulcha is just the size of your palm. There are two kinds of kulchas: mith (sweet) and namkeen (savoury). I recall my grandma cutting them in half, stuffing them with butter, and feeding them to us.
Tsot or Girda
Tsot or girda is a medium-sized round daily bread that is a staple on every Kashmiri breakfast table. It is golden on top with fingertip indentations and white on the bottom. Tsot, served with a big scoop of jam or butter, is one of the many things that Kashmiris miss when they are not in Kashmir. At ceremonies, larger versions of girda are served with ghee or sheep fat alongside non-vegetarian foods.
A puffy-level bread prepared with maida. This bread's flattened dough is baked in a hot tandoor to make it crispy but tender. Before eating, spread butter or jelly on it. Barbeques and traditional Kashmiri appetisers such as masala tchot are served wrapped in a soft lavasa.
Tilvor or Tsochwor
Kashmiris have their own bagel or you can even call it desi donut. It's a little, circular bread with a soft upper half sprinkled with til (sesame seeds) or Khaskhash (poppy seeds) and a crispy lower crust. It's the afternoon/evening bread. Hot tilvor has the greatest flavour. They go well with butter or jam.
A cake-like sweet bread made in a traditional tandoor and covered with dry fruits. This bread, on the other hand, is produced for special occasions such as weddings, childbirth, or engagements and is served with Kahwa. The essential ingredients of Roth are wheat, sugar, and ghee, as well as black cardamom seeds and poppy seeds, which give it a distinct flavour. If you want to try this particular bread, you may find it at the Hazratbal market in Srinagar.