Whenever we talk about the traditional food of Uttarakhand there comes a mixed reaction of people, those who already know its taste since childhood and the others who haven’t tasted it ever. But here’s a deal for both, let’s go on a gastronomic affair and find some of the best Garhwali and Kumaoni recipes of Uttarakhand which you might want to add in your daily course. If you are a foodie like me then I bet you must have tempted your jaded palates with most of these dishes.
1. Kafuli- Kafuli is one such dish that can never go wrong if you want to impress a Pahadi friend, who is coming over for lunch. To prepare this dish, two main ingredients namely spinach and fenugreek leaves are cooked together in an iron pot, after which salt and spices are added to accentuate its flavour. The gravy for Kafuli is prepared by making a paste made out of rice or wheat and adding water to it.
2. Bhang ki Chutney- Making our mouth water with its tangy tamarind taste, this famous sauce of Uttarakhand is made from hemp seeds, cumin seeds, garlic leaves, tamarind, and salt. When served with the traditional Pahadi cuisines, it enhances their taste and creates a spell on our taste buds.
3. Aloo Tamatar ka Jhol- This dish may sound like any other Bengali curry dish but it actually traces its origin from Uttarakhand. Aloo Tamatar ka Jhol is an easy to cook dish that can be prepared in less than 15 minutes. All you need to do is boil some potatoes, make a curry out of tomatoes and onions, mix both and leave it to cook on low flame. This dish is so famous that it is cooked in the same traditional manner in the cities as well as in the villages of Uttarakhand.
4. Gahat ke Paranthe- With aroma so pleasant that it makes enough room for having 4-5 paranthas at once, Gahat ke Paranthe is a famous breakfast dish of Uttarakhand. This mouth-watering dish is prepared by stuffing gahat (a special brown lentil) in a mixture of wheat and mandua flour (finger millet/ragi). It tastes better when served with Bhang ki Chutney or homemade pickle.
5. Phaanu- This appetizing dish may take a little more time to cook than others, but once it is ready all the time and effort will be worth it. Phaanu also spelled as ‘Phanu’ is prepared by mixing different lentils that are soaked overnight. This soupy dish, when served with freshly cooked white rice, makes a perfect luncheon for winter season.
6. Baadi- Another exotic dish from Uttarakhand that has made its name to our list is Baadi, made out of mandua or buckwheat flour. This scrumptious dish has made waves in Garhwal region for its delightful taste. Baadi is a ready to cook dish, having high nutritional value. All you need to do is boil water, add buckwheat flour and let it cook for two minutes. Add ghee to it, stir for a while and bam, it’s ready.
7. Chainsoo- With this delectable dish, we bring to you the tantalizing flavours of Garhwal. High in protein value, Chainsoo is prepared from Sabut Urad dal (black gram lentil) and is a popular lunch option for Pahadis living in any part of the world. To prepare this dish, you need to roast the lentils first and make a fine paste out of it. Transfer the mixture into an iron pot, keep the flame low and stir until it’s ready to serve.
8. Aloo ke Gutke- This palatable dish comes from Kumaon but is equally popular in Garhwal region as well. Every house of Uttarakhand has a unique way of making it and mind it every version of it, is amazing. For making Aloo ke Gutke, you only need a few ingredients namely boiled potatoes, jakhiya (Cleme Viscosa), red chillies and coriander leaves to garnish it. This dish has a made a special place in the hearts of Pahadis, who love devouring it with pooris, bhang ki chutney, and Kumaoni raita, Yum!
9. Kumaoni Raita- After Bhang ki Chutney, Kumaoni raita is hailed for its taste. It’s so simple and hassle free that even those who dislike cooking can make it like a pro. Just take some curd, grate a cucumber, add some fresh green chillies and mustard seeds to it. Lastly sprinkle some turmeric, salt, red chilli powder and garnish it with coriander leaves.
10. Sisunag/Kandali Saag- If you are a Pahadi reading this, then you’ll probably have a shiver down your spine on hearing the main ingredient of this dish which is ‘Kandali’ also known as Bichhu Ghaas. But don’t be sacred as it won’t hurt your throat because it’s 100% edible. This finger licking dish is prepared by boiling kandali or stinging nettle plant, which is then converted into a fine pulp and is cooked on low flame. The dish is garnished with tomato and butter. Preparing it might be a bit strenuous but once it’s ready you can’t resist it.
11. Ras/Thhatwani- This nutritious dish is one of the best things to try in this winter season. Ras/Thhatwani is prepared by boiling different types of lentils altogether. These lentils are then skimmed from the stock and a fine paste made out of rice is added to it. Once the Ras is cooked, you can serve it fresh with white rice. Also, the lentils that were separated from the stock can be munched by sprinkling powdered spices on it.
12. Jhangora ki Kheer- Jhangora ki Kheer is a sweet dish made out of a local millet called Jhangora. It is hailed for its rich texture and taste that lasts on the taste buds for quite a long time. This dish is a must have as it has the goodness of milk, cashews and raisins.
13. Singori- One of the most sought-after desserts of Uttarakhand, Singori is the pride of Kumaon and if you are on a trip to Kumaon then not having it shouldn’t be less than missing a winning lottery. This toothsome sweet is made from khoya (condensed milk) which is wrapped into molu leaf. Almora is one of the best places to try this delicacy. The smell of molu leaf and the taste of condensed milk, having an aroma of cardamom and coconut will make you crave for more.
14. Arsa- Arsa is a local sweet made from jaggery, rice and mustard oil. If you have been to Pahadi weddings then you must remember this delicacy being handed over as a wedding favour. To make this heavenly delicacy you need to soak the rice for at least three hours. Strain the water, take a muslin cloth and tie the rice to it. When the excess water dries, grind the rice into a fine powder. Now prepare a syrup by boiling the jaggery in water until it gets thick. Mix the thick syrup of jaggery with rice. Prepare a dough out of it and make soft round balls. Deep fry the rolls and soak the extra oil by using paper towels.
15. Dubuk- Having a subtle taste, this dish is good for stomach and tastes better when served with plain white rice, Bhang ki Chutney or Muli Thechwa (crushed radish). Dubuk also referred to as ‘dubuke’ is generally prepared from bhatt ki dal, gahat ki dal or arhar ki dal which is then converted into a fine paste and is cooked on low flame.
16. Garhwal ka Fannah- This aperitive dish is basically a staple food of Mussoorie and is good enough to satiate both your eyes and stomach. Garhwal ka Fannah is one such dish that on tasting it you’ll surely ask for more. This sumptuous dish has become so popular over the years that it is on the menu card of every Pahadi wedding.
17. Gulgula– Gulgula is yet another flavoursome sweet dish from Uttarakhand that has become a household name in many parts of Northern India. This tempting sweet dish is made from jaggery and is quite popular in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand.
18. Mandua ki Roti- Famously known as a staple food in many parts of North India, Mandua ki Roti refers to the chapattis made from a cereal called Mandua. Mandua ki Roti is served in the main course and represents the culinary style of Uttarakhand. This flat bread is also quite popular among the tourists visiting Uttarakhand.
19. Bhatt ki Churdkani- Having a rich aroma that lingers in the room for quite a long time, this finger licking dish is one of the best things to eat during chilly winters. Bhatt ki Churdkani also spelled as Churkani is a healthy dish that is prepared from black bhatt blended with rice paste and flour. Having a high nutritive value, Bhatt ki Churdkani can be devoured with steamed rice. The dish contains all the essential vitamins, proteins and minerals so you can relish it any time.
20. Urad Dal ke Pakode- These soft and spongy Pakoras are one of the best things that you’ll have in Uttarakhand. Whether there is a festival, wedding or any important function, Urad dal Pakoras are made every single time. To make this dish, you need to soak black lentils overnight. Strain the water and grind the lentils into a fine paste. Then add chopped onions, coriander leaves, chillies, jeera powder, garam masala and salt for taste. Make small balls by applying water on the palms, flatten them and coat them with sesame seeds. Deep fry in oil and serve hot with chutney.