Srinagar, Apr 12: Traditional fried lotus stem snack locally called 'Nader Monje' is popular among Kashmiri youth despite being very oily.
"It is prepared in Kashmir only. My great grandfather used to tell me when we were young that people took the snack considering it as a 'Prasad', said Riyaz Ahmed, a snack seller.
Traditional snack food of Kashmiris since generations 'Nader Monje' is still mouth watering for the younger generation although their life styles have changed.
'Nader Monje' is made of the lotus stems found in the lakes of Kashmir. The lotus stems cut into small pieces are marinated in rice flour mixed with other ingredients to make the snack colourful and tasty. The mixture is then deep fried twice to make it crispier. The snack is mostly sold around Sufi shrines in Kashmir valley, as some residents believe that the famous Sufi saints have blessed 'Nader Monje'.
"The stem are taken out from Dal and Walur lakes. 'Nader Monje' is liked by kids a lot, infact we also relish it equally," said Altaf Mir, a customer.
The popular practice among residents is that on visiting the shrine of a Sufi saint, the devotees buy 'Nader Monje' as a benediction for family and friends. The makers of this Kashmir delicacy earn their livelihood by setting up their shops on carts full of 'Nader Monje' at different shrines on festive occasions.
On festival days, the snack is sold at a premium price. A few of the 'Nader Monje' vendors at Hazratbal shrine on the outskirts of Srinagar make more than sixty thousand rupees on festival days. By Parvez