Kashmiri cuisine has some special variations from normal Indian food although it is basically of the north Indian type. Houseboat food although is basically of the north Indian type, still it tends to remain in its early English influence!
Some Kashmiri dishes you may come across include:
Gushtaba - Gushtaba are pounded and spiced meat balls cooked in a yoghurt sauce. The meat is usually mutton or goat. Rista are rice balls and very similar to Gushtaba but with less meat and less spice in the sauce.
Roghan Josh - also fairly common elsewhere in north India, this is, in its most basic form, juiciest curried mutton, but a good Roghan Josh will be cooked in Yoghurt with a careful blend of exotic spices and added ingredients. Yaknee is also quite similar to Roghan Josh.
Tabak Maz is fried meat, not spiced at all. Marchwangan Kurma is a hot mutton curry, usually served with rice and Nan Methi Kurma is vegetables with chopped intestines - it tastes much better than it sounds. Karma Sag is made from the popular Dal Lake vegetable known as Lak - it's a bit like giant Spinach. Nadru Yekni is a very tasty dish made from lotus roots, cooked with curd or Yoghurt.
Kashmiri Nan is the usual flat Indian bread but with Sultanas and nuts baked into it. Kashmiri Nan is really delicious but Kashmiri bread is very good to start with. The Kashmiris also make a fruit and Nut Pillau - a bit like fried fruit salad! Popular vegetables in Kashmir include Bartha - minced Aubergines - and Bhiindi - ladyfingers.
Kashmiri tea is a fragrant, delicate blend flavoured with cardamom and ginger - a delightfully thirst quenching drinll. Quite possibly the best tea in India?
A really good cup of this Kahwa tea will be brewed in a Samovar and have grated almonds in it. It's usually drunk without milk. The Kashmiris also make a good blend of Camomile and Cardamom tea, which is very good for settling stomach-upsets.
Soft drinks, freighted up from the plains, tend to be expensive but there's a delicious local brand of apple juice known as "Apco". It's a great change from the sickly Indian soft drinks and costs about the same as regular soft drinks in Kashmir.
Being good Muslims, the Kashmiris do not drink alcohol - at least publicly. Liquor is available, but at a high price and often of very low quality. One would be well advised to bring in your quota of duty free liquor. Beer, however, is readily available.