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Taste of Uttaranchal | Popular and Tasty Dishes from Uttaranchal Cuisine…

Dr. Kaviraj Khialani – celebrity master chef

Introduction to Uttaranchal:

Uttaranchal, now known as Uttarakhand, is a northern state in India, carved out of the hilly regions of Uttar Pradesh in 2000. Nestled in the Himalayas, it is renowned for its stunning landscapes, including the Garhwal and Kumaon mountain ranges, pristine rivers, and vibrant wildlife.

Uttarakhand is a significant pilgrimage destination with sacred sites like Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. The state capital is Dehradun, and it holds cultural significance with a rich heritage of folk traditions and festivals.

Uttarakhand is a haven for adventure enthusiasts, offering trekking, skiing, and wildlife experiences, making it a diverse and picturesque destination.

Lifestyle in Uttaranchal

Uttarakhand’s lifestyle is rooted in its hilly terrain and rich culture. Agriculture is a key livelihood, with terrace farming prevalent. Traditional attire, simple cuisine, and sturdy housing define daily life. Spirituality is evident through religious practices, with pilgrimages like Char Dham. The state’s breathtaking landscapes attract tourists for adventure activities. Community bonds are strong, fostering a close- knit social structure. Uttarakhand’s lifestyle embodies a harmonious blend of tradition, nature, and resilience.

Culture & crops grown in the regions

Culture in Uttarakhand:

Uttarakhand boasts a vibrant culture deeply rooted in traditions and festivals. The region’s lifestyle reflects a strong connection to spirituality, witnessed through religious practices and celebrations. Traditional attire, community gatherings, and a close-knit social structure are integral aspects of daily life.

Crops Grown:

Agriculture is a mainstay in Uttarakhand, featuring terrace farming on its hilly slopes. The region cultivates a variety of crops such as rice, wheat, and fruits like apples and apricots. The cuisine, therefore, is shaped by locally grown produce, emphasizing simplicity and nutrition.

Popular ingredients in the kitchens of Uttaranchal

The kitchens of Uttarakhand feature a variety of locally sourced ingredients, reflecting the region’s rich agricultural diversity. Some popular ingredients used in Uttarakhandi cuisine include:

  1. Bhatt (Black Soybeans): Widely used in local dishes, bhatt is a nutritious and protein-rich ingredient often incorporated into traditional recipes.
  2. Mandua (Finger Millet): A staple cereal in the region, mandua is used to prepare flatbreads, porridge, and other dishes. It is known for its health benefits.
  3. Urad Dal (Black Gram): Commonly used in dal preparations, urad dal is a key ingredient in Uttarakhandi cuisine, providing a good source of protein.
  4. Jakhya (Local Green Leafy Vegetable): This indigenous leafy green is commonly used in various dishes, contributing to the local flavour and nutritional content.
  5. Aloo (Potatoes): Potatoes are a versatile ingredient used in various traditional dishes, providing sustenance and flavour.
  6. Phaanu (Mixed Lentils): A traditional dish made from a mix of lentils, phaanu is seasoned with local spices, making it a popular and hearty meal.
  7. Gahat (Horse Gram): Gahat is often used in the preparation of soups and stews. It is known for its nutritional value and is a part of the local diet.
  8. Kafal (Bayberry): The kafal fruit is indigenous to the region and is used to make jams, juices, and desserts, adding a unique local flavour.
  9. Bhangjeera (Hemp Seeds): Hemp seeds are utilized in various dishes for their nutritional content, adding a nutty flavour to the cuisine.
  10. Local Herbs and Spices: Uttarakhand’s cuisine is enhanced with the use of local herbs and spices like jambu, timmer, and jakhya, which contribute to the distinct taste of the dishes.

These ingredients showcase the regional authenticity and nutritional richness of Uttarakhandi cuisine, making it a unique and flavourful part of Indian gastronomy.

List of 10 popular dishes from Uttaranchal Cuisine

  1. Aloo Ke Gutke: A popular dish made with boiled potatoes, spices, and local herbs, often served with traditional flatbreads.
  2. Phaanu: A nutritious dish prepared from a mix of lentils, typically served with rice, and flavoured with local spices.
  3. Bhatt Ki Churdkani: Black soybeans (bhatt) cooked with local spices, creating a flavourful and protein-rich curry.
  4. Kafuli: A traditional green curry made with spinach, fenugreek leaves, and other local greens, often served with rice or millet flatbreads.
  5. Chainsoo: A dal preparation made with black gram (urad dal), flavoured with local spices, and usually enjoyed with rice or Indian bread.
  6. Gahat Ki Dal: Horse gram lentils cooked into a thick and hearty soup, seasoned with local spices.
  7. Urad Ke Pakode: Black gram lentil fritters seasoned with spices, a popular snack in Uttarakhand.
  8. Arsa: A sweet dish made with jaggery, rice, and ghee, deep-fried
    to create a crispy texture, often prepared during festivals.
  9. Bal Mithai: A sweet delicacy made with roasted khoya (reduced milk) and coated with white sugar balls, originating from Almora.
  10. Singori: A sweet rolled dessert made with khoya and wrapped in malu (a local leaf), popular in the Kumaon region.

These dishes reflect the unique flavours and local ingredients of Uttarakhand, showcasing the diverse and authentic cuisine of the region.

8 recipes easy to make from Uttaranchal Cuisine.

1. Aloo Ke Gutke:

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 medium-sized potatoes, boiled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped coriander for garnish

Method:

  1. Heat mustard oil in a pan, add cumin seeds and mustard seeds.
  2. Add diced potatoes and sauté until they turn golden brown.
  3. Mix in turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt. Cook for a few more minutes.
  4. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot.

2. Phaanu:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mixed lentils (green gram, black gram, lentils)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons ghee

Method:

  1. Soak the mixed lentils for a few hours. Boil until cooked.
  2. In a pan, heat ghee, add cumin seeds, and sauté onions until golden brown.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes, coriander powder, red chili powder, and salt. Cook until the tomatoes are soft.
  4. Mix in the boiled lentils and simmer for a few minutes. Serve with rice.

3. Bhatt Ki Churkani:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup black soybeans (bhatt), soaked overnight
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped coriander for garnish

Method:

  1. Boil soaked black soybeans until tender.
  2. In a pan, heat oil, add cumin seeds, chopped onions, and ginger- garlic paste. Sauté until onions are golden.
  3. Add tomato puree, coriander powder, garam masala, and salt. Cook until oil separates.
  4. Mix in boiled soybeans, cook for a few minutes, and garnish with chopped coriander.

4. Kafuli:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup fenugreek leaves
  • 1/2 cup bengal gram flour (besan)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Water for consistency

Method:

  1. Mix chopped spinach, fenugreek leaves, besan, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds and mustard seeds.
  3. Add the besan mixture, stirring continuously. Add water to achieve a thick consistency.
  4. Cook until the mixture thickens and leaves the sides of the pan. Serve hot.

5. Chainsoo:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup black gram (urad dal), soaked
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped coriander for garnish

Method:

  1. Boil soaked black gram until soft.
  2. In a pan, heat oil, add cumin seeds, chopped onions, and sauté until golden.
  3. Add tomato puree, coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt. Cook until the mixture thickens.
  4. Blend the cooked black gram and add to the pan. Simmer for a few minutes, garnish with coriander, and serve.

6. Gahat Ki Dal:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup horse gram (gahat), soaked
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped coriander for garnish

Method:

  1. Boil soaked horse gram until soft.
  2. In a pan, heat oil, add cumin seeds, chopped onions, and sauté until golden.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes, coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt. Cook until tomatoes are soft.
  4. Mix in the boiled horse gram, simmer for a few minutes, garnish with coriander, and serve.

7. Urad Ke Pakode:

Ingredients:

    • 1 cup black gram (urad dal), soaked
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 2 green chilies, chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • Salt to taste
    • Oil for frying

    Method:

    1. Blend soaked urad dal into a coarse paste.
    2. Mix in chopped onions, green chilies, cumin seeds, and salt.
    3. Heat oil in a pan, drop spoonful of the mixture, and fry until golden brown.
    4. Drain excess oil and serve hot with chutney.

    8. Arsa:

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup rice
    • 1 cup jaggery, grated
    • 1/2 cup ghee
    • 1/4 cup water
    • Oil for frying

    Method:

    1. Cook rice and let it cool.
    2. In a pan, heat water and jaggery to make a syrup. Strain to remove impurities.
    3. Mix the syrup with cooked rice to form a thick batter.
    4. Heat ghee in a pan, drop spoonful of the batter, and fry until golden brown.
    5. Drain excess oil and serve.

    These recipes offer a taste of the diverse and flavourful cuisine of Uttarakhand, showcasing the use of local ingredients and traditional cooking methods. Adjust spice levels according to personal preference. Enjoy your Uttarakhandi culinary adventure!

    Conclusion

    Uttarakhand cuisine is a delightful tapestry of flavours, blending locally sourced ingredients with traditional cooking techniques. From the hearty Aloo Ke Gutke to the nutritious Phaanu and the sweet indulgence of Arsa, each dish reflects the rich cultural heritage and resourcefulness of the region’s people.

    The use of indigenous elements such as Bhatt, Mandua, and Gahat not only adds uniqueness to the cuisine but also contributes to its nutritional richness. Uttarakhand’s culinary offerings provide a gastronomic journey through its landscapes, traditions, and the warmth of its people, making it a truly special part of India’s diverse culinary heritage.

    Dr. Kaviraj Khialani
    Dr. Kaviraj Khialani
    Chef Kaviraj Khialani is Swiss Certified in International Hotel Management & Culinary Arts. He is a Master Chef in over 33 types of International Cuisines & is certified by the British Executive Overseas Training Center-United Kingdom.
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