Kashmiris tickle their taste buds with popular dry fish in winters
Srinagar, Jan.30 : A surge in the sale of dry fish due to plummeting temperatures in Srinagar, is allowing the city's residents to tickle their taste buds with the item.
Fish sellers are doing brisk business as the demand for dried and smoked fish has increased due to the chilly weather.
Dried fish is an important part of Kashmir's rich cultural heritage.
Kashmiri cuisine is incomplete without the dried fish (Hogada) and smoked fish (Furrie) in winters.
Smaller Fish, or 'Raze Hogada', are dried whole in the sun, whilst the bigger ones, or 'Pacha Hogada', are slit open, their innards discarded, pressed flat and then dried in sun.
Nazir Ahmad, a resident, said: "Its business is very good. People come out of their homes to sell dried fish in harsh winters, as they earn handsome money from it. It is in great demand. More than meat, people prefer to buy these dried fish."
'Hogard', which is an indigenously dried and preserved fish, is greatly relished when cooked alone, while its smoked version (Furrie) is enjoyed in combination with 'Hak', Kail, which is a dark green above-the-ground vegetable, rich both in nutrients and medicinal value.
Dried fish is a compelling purchase for those looking to increase their intake of healthy food and a means of making a quick buck for retailers.
"As the winter season starts, the demand for dried fish increases. People give more importance to this fish. It's an old tradition, culture and custom of the people of Kashmir. It's good for chest and health. It is also beneficial for patients suffering from asthma," said Bilal Ahmad, a seller of dried fish.
Dried fish provides an excellent source of protein with fewer calories than other foods such as beef. 'Hogard' is an expensive food item, with 250 grams of it costing between Rs.100 and Rs.120.
One hundred grams of dried fish contains about 80 percent protein with 300 calories.