This Entrepreneur is Bringing the Style of ‘Actual Kashmiri Meals’ to South India


Cradled within the lofty inexperienced Himalayas, Srinagar is understood for its scenic magnificence, the picturesque Dal Lake, and the breathtaking mountain views. Rising up on this hilly city, Azmat Ali Mir has all the time been fascinated by the enchanting fantastic thing about her homeland and its wealthy tradition.

At a time when her friends wished to turn out to be princesses, Azmat’s childhood fantasy was to turn out to be a journey journalist or personal a caravan meals truck and go across the metropolis serving grilled scorching canines. As a substitute of watching cartoons, she would spend her day watching meals channels, enriching her information of Kashmiri delights.

However this fantasy obtained misplaced as she grew up. Azmat grew to become a pc science engineer and moved to Bengaluru in 2018.

Quick ahead to 2023, 30-year-old Azmat is now fulfilling her childhood dream with an eatery that gives genuine Kashmiri meals that continues to be packed all through the week with foodies. We sat down together with her to hint her journey of opening a Kashmiri restaurant in Bengaluru.

Sarposh offers authentic Kashmiri food that remains packed throughout the week with foodies.
Sarposh affords genuine Kashmiri meals that continues to be packed all through the week with foodies.

A actuality test

Earlier than transferring to Bengaluru, Azmat was married right into a non-Kashmiri household. She immensely missed her house and every part related to it, particularly its native meals and language.

Within the quest to be in contact together with her roots, she began in search of eating places that provided Kashmiri meals within the metropolis. “I visited a couple of locations that claimed to serve conventional meals however I’d come again very upset. It was nothing near what the actual Kashmiri meals was about,” she tells The Higher India.

“Many of the eating places claimed to serve Wazwan which requires a extremely expert meals preparation fashion. Should you miss out on one step, it won’t style the identical. Gushtabae yakhein and ristae are two advanced dishes to cook dinner. On this, meat must be pounded on a heavy stone slab utilizing a walnut wooden hammer. It’s a labour-intensive course of. Individuals right here use grinders which break the meat and the feel left is that of a kofta fairly than a sausage,” she explains.

“Apart from this, if I speak about Kashmiri pulao, folks right here serve it with pineapples and cherries. Whereas an actual Kashmiri pulao is cooked in a bone marrow inventory that offers it a savoury style. It’s then topped with dry fruits and nuts, not pineapples and cherries! What damage me most was that folks right here didn’t want to make any effort to know the genuine technique of preparation,” says Azmat.

Set up on a 3,500 square feet area, the eatery imitates an extension of her Srinagar home.
Arrange on a 3,500 sq. toes space, the eatery imitates an extension of her Srinagar house.

When Kashmiris unite outdoors of Kashmir

In the meantime, there was no reduction to Azmat’s eager for her homeland. So, in 2019, she determined to meet up with her faculty mates who had been settled within the metropolis. “I created a WhatsApp group however an hour later, 200 folks joined the group. Later, this quantity grew a lot greater than what I anticipated. I ended up internet hosting a ticketed occasion for 1,000 folks,” she provides.

For this, Azmat not solely sourced spices from Kashmir but in addition conventional bands, comedians, singers, poets, and cooks referred to as Wazas from her wedding ceremony. “It was a large success. It was the primary time Kashmiris obtained collectively outdoors Kashmir,” she says with pleasure.

Taking this as a possibility and an try and do her bit in order that her area’s meals is represented in an actual genuine method, Azmat launched Sarposh. The eatery affords a variety of genuine Kashmiri delights from the multi-course meal Wazwan that includes tabak maaz, methi maaz, seekh kabab, rogan josh, gushtabae yakhein, ristae, marchewangan kormeh, to kong kahwae, and extra.

To make sure the meals is ready in a standard method, Azmat has employed 15 skilled Wazas from Kashmir and will get spices like cumin from Gurez, Kashmiri crimson chillies from Pulwama, saffron from Pampore, apricots from Ladakh, and walnuts from the properties of her workforce members.

Organising a small Kashmir in Bengaluru

Apart from meals, Azmat tried to present a homely vibe with Sarposh’s ambiance. Arrange on a 3,500 sq. toes space, the eatery imitates an extension of her Srinagar house. “We’ve got given cosy areas, a carpeted ground seating space, and a lounge space to loosen up. One mustn’t really feel that they’re strolling right into a restaurant, however fairly strolling right into a front room of a Kashmiri house,” she provides.

The eatery has additionally integrated conventional craft gadgets like walnut wooden, papier mache, pashmina, and pottery, into the decor of the house. 

In the present day, her 70-seater eatery stays filled with 100% occupancy in a number of rotations. However this feat was not as straightforward.

Wanting again to the difficult part of her entrepreneurial journey, Azmat says, “In 2019, I stop my job to dedicate myself to establishing this restaurant. However quickly Article 370 was revoked and my workforce obtained caught in Kashmir. I misplaced contact with my workforce together with all the cash that I used to kick off the eatery,” she says.

To ensure the food is prepared in a traditional manner, Azmat has employed 15 experienced Wazas from Kashmir.
To make sure the meals is ready in a standard method, Azmat has employed 15 skilled Wazas from Kashmir.

Just a few months later, when Azmat obtained in contact together with her workforce, she once more invested hefty quantities to restart the work. “However as quickly as we had been about to announce our launch, the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdown was introduced. And not using a single day in operation, our place was shut. I wasn’t positive what to do anymore,” she provides.

Heartbroken Azmat went to her mother and father in Srinagar. “By this time, we had exhausted all our funds. I had accepted my failure and went again house. Nonetheless, my mother and father inspired me to not quit due to monetary constraints. I gave myself one other two months and determined that if anyone doesn’t stroll in now then I’ll shut it despite the fact that it will be a really laborious choice,” she provides.

As quickly as folks adjusted to the brand new regular, Azmat’s place additionally began welcoming diners in massive numbers. “And since then, there was no wanting again,” she smiles.

“I’d have by no means in my wildest desires imagined that my life would take this flip. Not everyone will get such a possibility. Many individuals get up within the morning with none enthusiasm for his or her work. I’m so grateful that lastly, I’m doing one thing I’m genuinely captivated with,” says Azmat.

Edited by Padmashree Pande. All images: Sarposh (Instagram)


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