Friday, October 25, 2013



First time I enjoyed an extravagant Kashmiri Wazwaan feast was in some family function of late Sher Ali who was managing partner of the then firms known as  Ali Art Palace and M Sadak Ali And Brothers. Both the firms dealt in Kashmir handicrafts.
 We were served Wazwaan dishes in separate plates.  Sher Ali was a well-known exporter of Kashmir handicrafts, carpets, rugs, papier mache, chain stitch and jewellery with business interests in Kashmir and Mumbai. He dressed well and would move in a chauffeur-driven car. Possibly he had no child and lived in a joint family with his nephews who gave him a lot of respect and regard. Sher Ali was compassionate, liberal and helpful. He smoked imported cigarettes.

It was only during Sher Ali’s feast that I tasted a small quantity of the wonderful quince dish prepared by the  Muslim Wazwaan cooks. It was served last of all. I asked for more. My mother also prepared Bumm-Tsoonth ( quince ) with brinjals. So do all Kashmiris. And from ancient past to this day, Kashmiris never discarded the  Bumm-Tsoonth  ( quince fruit )as a medicinal fruit or cooking it as a dish of choice.

A vegetable wholesale trader in Narwal vegetable Mandi of Jammu informed me this:-

“ I do not know how Kashmiri Pandits prepare it. This Mandi receives around 2 to 3 tonnes of quince per day during the season from various sources and it is immediately all is bought by the city’s retail vegetable sellers. There is an acute demand during the  Pitra Paksha ( Shradaas ) falling after the summer season. Kashmiri pandits appear to be the lone consumers of this fruit in Jammu. ”

Quince or Bumm-Tsoonth    ( as it is known in Kashmiri ) is cultivated in Iran, Turkey, Portugal, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Spain, USA,  France, UK, Middle East, Armenia, Georgia and various other countries of Central Asia and Europe. The quince tree grows to a height of 3 to 6 metres. The unripe fruit is green like a pear but changes its colour to golden yellow on ripening. The blossoming tree gives beautiful light pink flowers. In India,  the seeds of the fruit known as Bihee -Daana were used as medicine by Unani and  Ayurveda doctors. Iranians call it Beih and the word Bihee appears to be of Iranian origin.

 In Kashmir, dry quince seeds were dipped in water overnight and the gel that formed was consumed as a time tested laxative.

A high pectin level in quince makes it useful for making jams, sauces and jellies. In Europe,  it is also used for making puddings after being roasted, baked or stewed. Some countries in Europe use quince for making brandy and wine. In some central Asian countries,  it is also used for making Pillaf or Pickles.

It has now been scientifically established that consumption of this fruit is beneficial to health since the fruit contains dietary fibre, minerals, vitamins and is quite low in calories. Further the catechin and epicatechin present in this fruit bind to cancer-causing toxins thereby protecting colon and its mucous membrane from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and cancers. Hakeems would prescribe its consumption for all diseases of colon and skin. The fruit also contains iron, potassium, and magnesium as well as B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin and pyridoxine.

Was quince the forbidden fruit that was eaten in the garden of Eden by Adam and Eve? Some historians believe in the affirmative. This fruit finds mention in the old greek literature also. Ancient greeks considered quince to be the symbol of fertility and dedicated it to Aphrodite or the goddess of love.


Whenever I think of Chile, I have an opinion about a country that has Atacama desert, a country that has Argentina, Peru and Bolivia as its neighbours and a country where Spanish is spoken.

 I am also reminded about the coup in which democratically elected government of Salvador Allende was captured by General Augusto Pinochet. Renowned writers and poets like Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda were from Chile and the Chilean Academy of Arts is known for its superb collection of paintings which include a sizeable number done by the great master known as Alfredo Valenzuela Puelma ( 1856 – 1909).
A Country with some beautiful beaches and enormous tourist potential, rich history and culture.  The Andes (mountain range) also dominate the landscape of this beautiful country. I also know about the volcanic eruptions and the earthquakes in Chile. And then Chile has become one of the more urbanized Latin American societies, with a growing middle class.
From this country, I found quince being exported to the  US. Yellow, Juicy and ripe. I purchased One lb @2.50 US dollars approximately from a Manhattan store.

I had to tell more about Quince but as per Firaq Gorakhpuri

" Ab aa gayein hain aap to aataa nahin khayaal
Varnaa hamein kuchh aap se kehnaa zaroor thaa.."

( Now that you have come,
I can’t recollect,
For sure, I needed to say something to you
in person )

(Avtar Mota)


Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\\.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.