Smoked fish, or Fher is one of the age old delicacies tasted in Kashmir Valley. As winter sets in, selling of smoked fish and dried vegetables keep the market warm. Kashmir Life’s Bilal Bahadur offers scenes behind the preparation of Kashir Fher.
A lady on the outskirts of Srinagar city busy putting fishes on grass before smoking them.
Foods have been smoked by humans throughout history. Originally this was done as a preservative. In more recent times fish is readily preserved by refrigeration and freezing and the smoking of fish is generally done for the unique taste and flavour imparted by the smoking process.
And then the grass is torched to smoke fishes on it.
Smoke keep billowing until fishes roast.
This is how fishes look like after smoking.
And then smoked lot is collected. The method of preparation of smoked fish appears to be unique to Kashmir. The fishes are not cleaned or gutted prior to smoking, which is carried out on slow burning green grass.
Smoked fish is a prominent item in Russian cuisine, Ashkenazi Jewish Cuisine, and Scandinavian cuisine, as well as several Eastern and Central European cuisines and the Pacific Northwest cuisine.
In other parts of the world, the major steps in the preparation of smoked fish are salting (bath or injection of liquid brine or dry salt mixture), cold smoking, cooling, packaging (air/vacuum or modified), and storage. Smoking, one of the oldest preservation methods, combines the effects of salting, drying, heating and smoking.
High-quality smoked fish is a high–end product sought after by restaurants of the world.
A basket full of smoked fishes then hit the market. Downtown Srinagar make the visibility of smoked-fish sellers more as compared to other parts of Srinagar.
Temporary closure of the Jammu-Srinagar highway during winters resulted in is a shortage of fresh vegetables and many households are resorting to using dried vegetables, pulses and smoked fish.
Finally women dressed in traditional attire sell smoked fishes on roadsides in many places of Srinagar.