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‘Corona-shaped Shami-Kebab’ to ‘Yemberzal Rista’: Kashmiri Wazwan gets a new makeover in Unlock 2.0

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Srinagar: From star-fish shaped ‘Shami Kebab’ to ‘Yemberzal ristas’, traditional Kashmiri ‘wazwan’ has got a new makeover in Unlock 2.0.

Though ‘Wazas’ (chefs) claim that they were being asked to prepare ‘something new’ by the locals, others are objecting to these new innovations.


“We often get this demand to prepare something new especially for the ‘baraat’. Therefore, we are forced to bring new innovations. These days, people also come across photographs of new dishes on Facebook, and then they start making similar demands,” said Mohammad Subhan, a Waza.


He said earlier they would get demands of making a Lehab Kebab that resembled a sparrow, but of late they were being asked to make Shami Kebabs resembling starfish.

“We have made sparrow-like Lahab Kebabs in the past and now starfish-like Shami Kebabs are also made. Some noticed that these Shami Kebabs look like Coronavirus. People even started saying it is ‘Corona Shami kebab’. We also get demands to make Ristas that resemble ‘Yemberzal’ (narcissus) flowers,” he said.


“During the lockdown, we mostly stuck to traditional dishes as only 25 persons were allowed to attend weddings. However, after the easing of the lockdown, we started getting these new demands. I personally feel we should stick to the traditional dishes but we cannot say no if a customer tells us to prepare different dishes,” he said.


However, Haris Ahmad Khan of ‘Ahad Sons’ fame said these innovations were harming the traditional wazwan.

“Kashmiri wazwan has a history and is famous globally. People across the world know ‘wazwan’ because of the usual dishes Rista, Tabakh Maaz, Rogan Josh, Goshtaba, etc. Despite demands from people, we avoid making new innovations. We stick to the traditional wazwan and we believe that these new innovations do not augur well for wazwan. We feel bad when we see shami kebabs resembling a starfish or a Rista looking like a flower. This should not happen!” he said.