Uttarakhand: Garhwali & Kumaoni food in pictures

Uttarakhand: Garhwali & Kumaoni food in pictures

Uttarakhand's food in pictures kumaoni garhwali cuisine food thechwani bhatt ki dal, arsa bal mithai, chuansu 30 stades

Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, Uttarakhand has two culturally distinct regions – Kumaon and Garhwal. While Kumaon consists of six districts with Nainital as zonal headquarters, Garhwal comprises seven districts. Its headquarters is Pauri Garhwal.

The cuisine of the two regions is mostly similar with only some differences. Both Kumaon and Garhwal have a rich culinary repertoire of lentils, beans local grains and vegetables besides sweets.

Lentils are used to prepare regular dal, make dumplings and also made into stews that provide warmth during cold months.

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Many recipes require crushing or coarsely grinding the dal to reduce the cooking time. Dried beans are often roasted or fried before being cooked.

Among grains, jhangora (barnyard millet) is used to make kheer, kauni or foxtail millet for pulaos, iron-rich mandua or koda (finger millet) flour is made into chapatis and unpolished red rice is served with lentils and gravies. Koda rotis are served with ghee and jaggery. With changing times, however, wheat and white rice are gaining popularity too.

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Gahat (horse gram or kulath), soybeans, black soybeans, rajma and other lentils are part of almost every meal. Gahat parathas served with bhang (hemp) chutney and kheera raita (cucumber-curd dip) is the famous breakfast of the region.

The use of spices is minimal and, overall, the meals of Uttarakhand are nutritious and flavourful. The use of locally grown hemp and jhakiya (wild mustard) gives Uttarakhand’s food a distinct flavour. 

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One major distinction between the two cuisines of Uttarakhand is that Garhwalis favour more greens, which shows in their recipes like Kafuli, made using spinach and methi leaves.

Garhwal’s other famous dish sisunak or kandali (nettle leaves) saag is made from local bichhu ghas that gets the name from its stinging nettles. 

While Kumaonis also make these green leafy vegetables, they favour potatoes and radish more among vegetables. A famous dish from Uttarakhand is thenchwani, made by crushing mountain radish and baby potatoes and then cooking them. Using sil-batta to crush the vegetables is said to add flavour to the dish, served mostly with mandua roti or puris

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Non-vegetarian food has traditionally not been a strong part of Uttarakhandi cuisine. While meat has become a part of food of the hill state, the recipes followed are similar to neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.

The sweets of the two regions are mostly similar but Kumaon is famous for being the birthplace of bal mithai (khoya cooked till it turns into a chocolate-like fudge coated with sugar balls) and singori (khoya wrapped in a maalu leaf).

The state’s other famous sweet is arsa (made using rice and jaggery) and is served at all weddings besides being a favourite return gift in Uttarakhand. Here are some of the recipes from the hill state in pictures:

Thechwani made by using crushed baby potatoes and mountain radish. Pic: Flickr
Thechwani made by using crushed baby potatoes & mountain radish. It goes well with madua roti & puri. Pic: Flickr
Gahat or Kulath (horse gram) paratha - the famous Uttrakhandi breakfast. Pic: Flickr
Gahat or Kulath (horse gram) paratha – the famous Uttrakhandi breakfast. Pic: Flickr

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Bhaang ki chutney made using local hemp. It goes well with parathas, bhajiya as well as dal-rice. Pic: Flickr 30 stades
Bhaang ki chutney made using local hemp. It goes well with parathas, bhajiya as well as dal-rice. Pic: Flickr
Chaunsu or chonsu made by roasting whole black urad dal, grinding it to a powder and then cooking it. Pic: Flickr 30stades
Chaunsu or chonsu made by roasting whole black urad dal, grinding it to a powder and then cooking it. Pic: Flickr

Also See: In pictures: Bihari food beyond litti chokha

Bhatt ki dal (black soybeans), rice and greens served for lunch. Pic: Flickr 30 stades
Bhatt ki dal (black soybeans), rice and greens served for lunch. Pic: Flickr
Phaanu or phanoo or phanu is made by soaking a dal or a combination of them overnight. They are then grounded into a paste and cooked. Pic: Flickr bhatt ki daal
Phaanu or phanoo or phanu is made by soaking a dal or a combination of them overnight. They are then grounded into a paste and cooked. Pic: Flickr

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Madua  (koda) roti served with greens. Pic: Flickr 30 stades
Madua (koda) roti served with greens. Pic: Flickr
Kafuli saag made with spinach and methi leaves. Yam leaves can also be added. Pic: Flickr 30 stades
Kafuli saag made with spinach and methi leaves. Yam leaves can also be added. Pic: Flickr

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Aloo ke gutke is a popular street food and teatime snack made by slow roasting parboiled potatoes with spices. Pic: Flickr 30 stades
Aloo ke gutke is a popular street food and teatime snack made by slow roasting parboiled potatoes with spices. Pic: Flickr
Bhatt  (black soybeans) ki chudkani is made by blending the beans with a paste of rice. Served here with rice, thechwani, mountain radish and greens. Pic: Flickr  30 stades
Bhatt (black soybeans) ki chudkani is made by blending the beans with a paste of rice. Served here with rice, thechwani, mountain radish and greens. Pic: Flickr
Dubuk is made by grinding soaked dal, a part of which is used to make friend dumplings and the rest is made into a thin gravy into which the dumplings are dunked. Pic: Flickr 30 stades
Dubuk is made by grinding soaked dal, a part of which is used to make friend dumplings and the rest is made into a thin gravy into which the dumplings are dunked. Pic: Flickr

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Bal Mithai, the most famous sweet from Uttarakhand, traces its origins to Kumaon. Pic: Flickr 30 stades
Bal Mithai, the most famous sweet from Uttarakhand, traces its origins to Kumaon. Pic: Flickr
Arsa- sweet made using rice flour and jaggery. Pic: Flickr 30 stades
Arsa- sweet made using rice flour and jaggery. Pic: Flickr

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Singori - thickened and flavoured khoya wrapped in maalu leaves 30 stades
Singori – thickened and flavoured khoya wrapped in maalu leaves
Jhangore ki kheer. Pic: Flickr  30 stades
Jhangore ki kheer. Pic: Flickr

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