Pahadi Cuisine of Uttarakhand


Uttarakhand's cuisine is a fine blend of organically-grown grains and vegetables. With several lentil-based dishes, the pahadi (people of the mountains) cuisine is subtle in taste but high in protein and other nutrients. It will be a sin to come here and not try its flavourful and healthy food.

Bal Mithai

One of the popular desserts in Uttarakhand this dish is prepared with khoya (milk solid) and coated with small white sugar balls. It's also known as 'chocolate', due to its brownish colour. While it can be tasted all over the state, it's a must have in Almora. A popular saying in Almora goes that this sweet was so popular with children (balak) of the area, that it got the name Bal Mithai.

Bhang Ki Chutney

A tangy and spicy chutney, this dish is prepared by grinding roasted hemp (cannabis) and cumin seeds, and then mixed with salt, lemon or tamarind juice. Garlic leaves are also added sometimes. Had with Rotis, this healthy yet simple side dish is good for stomach ailments, especially in summer.

Jhangore Ki Kheer

A sweet dish prepared with milk, sugar, and jhangora (local barnyard millet), this is a favourite dessert in Uttarakhand. The rice is soaked for about 30 minutes and added to boiling milk. Sugar is added as per taste. Garnished with cashews and raisins, this rich sweet is delicious. Jhangora, or the indigenous variant of barnyard millet, grows abundantly in the high altitudes of Uttarakhand. A nutritional powerhouse, it has high levels of calcium, iron, protein, minerals and vitamins. It is low in carbohydrates and is gluten-free, and thus, is ideal for those suffering from gluten allergies, diabetes and even heart diseases. It is also known as Sama ka Chawal.

Pahari Raita

A refreshing accompaniment to almost every Uttarakhandi meal, the Kumaoni raita is prepared by adding grated cucumber, mustard seeds, a pinch of turmeric powder, green chillies and coriander, salt and asafoetida to beaten curd.


This is a type of roti (Indian bread) prepared by stuffing Madua (finger millet) dough into small wheat flour dough balls and then rolling the balls in circles and baking the rotis. Served in Kumaon as well as Garhwal region, this slightly coarse bread is a nutritious meal, generally had with a dollop of ghee (clarified butter) and chutney. The roti is slightly dark brown in colour as the Madua dough is darker.

Gahat Kulath Badi (Kofta)

Gahat Badi are small deep-fried balls of the local lentil paste, which is used as an ingredient in other gravy-based recipes. An extremely nutritious variety of lentil, Gahat dal is commonly grown in Uttarakhand. Also known as Kulthi, this superfood helps to prevent and treat kidney stones and also during recovery from diseases like cold and flu. While Gahat ki roti (Indian bread) is a staple at most households, Gahat soup is very popular during winter.

Lindge Ki Sabzi

A healthy and nutritious fern that grows on river banks, lindga is used to make delicious vegetable recipes as well as delectable pickles. It is rich in vitamin A and B complex, iron, copper and a host of minerals that help in help in controlling diabetes and curing skin-related ailments


A rich and aromatic lentil dish from Garhwal, this is made with Urad or kali dal. The lentil is roasted, turned into a paste and then slow-cooked in an iron pot for an earthy flavour.

Sisunak Saag

A unique recipe from Kumaon that needs a lot of practice to be cooked, this dish is made with Sisun or Bichhu Ghas (stinging nettle), a thorny plant that causes itching if not handled properly. The leaves of this plant are boiled in hot water, turned into a paste and then cooked with ghee and tomato. The earthy aroma of the dish is unforgettable.


The second most popular sweet of Uttarakhand after Bal Mithai is Singodi, which is prepared from khoya (milk solids), sugar and grated coconut. The sweet, lightly flavoured with cardamom powder, is wrapped in the locally-found molu leaf for shape, aroma, and to keep it fresh for a longer time. Almora's Singodi is iconic.

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