Food is one of the major concerns when traveling in any distant land. So fret not because the cuisine of Uttaranchal has diverse flavors, colors and ingredients. The Himalayan state of Uttarakhand has an uncomplicated yet mouth-watering cuisine. The food is tremendously wholesome to suit the high-energy necessities of the mountainous and wintry region. Natives of Uttaranchal mostly eat a vegetarian meal though mutton and chicken are also savored. Rice is the indispensable food for the people of Uttaranchal. In Uttarakhand, Hash seeds, locally known as ‘Bhang’ are used as an essential spice. One can also try the desserts like Kesar Halwa, Sei, Gulgula, Jhangora Ki Kheer and Arsa.
Garhwal vs Kumaon
Though the basic ingredients of both Garhwali and Kumauni cuisine are the same, there are some basic differences that tell apart the two. The distinctive trait of the Kumauni cuisine is the tightfisted use of especially milk and milk-based products as cows from hilly areas do not yield high-quality or amount of milk. The similarity between both of them is the liberal use of Ghee (clarified butter) and charcoal cooking. Both Garhwalis and Kumaunis are fond of lentil or pulses and ‘Bhaatt’ or rice. To combat the extreme winters and possible exhausting of food, they also use Badi (sun-dried Urad Dal balls) and Mangodi (sun-dried Moong Dal balls) as substitute for vegetables at times.
Given below is a brief description of some typical Uttaranchali dishes:
Chainsoo is dry or gravied dish prepared by using black gram dal (Kala Chana). Its variant preparation is made with Black Bhaatt called Bhatwani.
Kafuli is a thick gravy dish made from green leafy vegetables. Kafuli made of Spinach leaves is the most common preparation.
Jholi literally means very thin and watery gravy usually made with tomatoes, potatoes, tubers, curd and asafoetida.
Phaanu is also made of Dals (lentils) like Chainsoo but here the pulses are soaked in water for about a minimum of 4-6 hours before its use. A number of lentils like Arhar, Moong or Urad can be used to make Phaanu.
It is traditional dish made usually at family functions like or religious functions. It is a type of sweet bread made with wheat flour and jaggery, flavored with fennel soaked water to give it an extra edge.