Uttarakhand Cuisine – Authentic and distinctive

Contributed by Celebrity Chef Pawan Bisht

Chef Pawan Bisht is an independent food Consultant, Entrepreneur and he loves promoting Uttarakhand and Uttarakhand cuisines.

Uttarakhand: – Uttar means north and Khand means land; that’s how the name was formed, meaning Northern Land. The state border is connected with Tibet, Nepal, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. This area was home to Pauravas, Kushanas, Kunindas, Guptas, Katyuris, Raikas, Palas, Chands, Panwars, Sikhs and British and everything left an impact on Uttarakhand, from cuisine to culture. The cuisine of Uttarakhand sees organically grown lentils, grains, herbs, vegetables even wild ingredients and doesn’t touch complex spices. The food in hills uses SS ingredients that are fresh and locally grown or found in the wild in other words, it is easy to prepare, highly nutritious and at the same time creates magic on your palate, which is still prepared using authentic and country style cooking methods. All this makes makes this cuisine a culinary gem without any doubt. Survival instincts were the mother of the
invention and discovery of several ingredients and cooking methods. Living on high rises of the hills is a task and that’s how major ingredients and cooking methods came into the picture, for example. The use of hemp seeds was to keep the body warm. The initial use of flavoured salts was to keep oneself thirsty, as in the high rises one hardly intakes a sufficient amount of water. Rajjada or bhatwani, was made to cure Jaundice, Punarnava to cure different diseases. The use of mustard in raita was to keep the respiratory organs clean and to prevent cold and cough etc. Same with the cooking methods, as there were no modern means of cooking so regional and country style cooking were used to prepare food, for example, desi chula was the main mode of cooking in the hills, for community or large gatherings, bhatti was the main cooking mode, khadd style of cooking came from Rajsthan with the people who migrated from there. Cooking utensils like bhaddu came into the picture as there were no pressure cookers, so the moral of the story is that the entire cuisine has seen an impact on different communities, cultures, trade system between different countries touching the borders, availability of the ingredients, survival instincts and blessings of nature. There are still great herbs and wild ingredients that are untouched by the outer world, like jumbo and gandrayani, which are like nectar for humankind. Uttarakhand – Simply Heaven.

Here are of the delicious yet healthy recipes of Uttarakhand



Preparation: – 15 mins, Making time: – 05 mins
Ingredients: – Peeled and grated (pahadi cucumber preferably) 1 cup, Hung curd 1 cup
Roasted jakhiya seeds (optional) 1 teaspoon, Mustard seeds 2 teaspoon, Roasted cumin seeds 1 teaspoon, Fresh peeled garlic 3-4 cloves, Red chilli powder 2 teaspoons, Turmeric powder 2 teaspoons, Salt to taste, Fresh coriander (optional).
Method: –
1. Make a paste of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, garlic, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, fresh coriander (optional) and salt.
2. Take a mixing bowl and add curd to it. Whisk well add the paste and mix well.
3. Now add the grated cucumber and mix properly. Adjust the seasoning and at last sprinkle with roasted jakhiya on top of the raita.
4. Mix well and serve.





Preparation time:- 15 mins, Cooking time:- 35 -40 minutes , Portions:- 2 -3 people

Ingredients:- Kauni (foxtail millet) 2 cups, Green peas 1 cups, Fresh chopped onion 4 table sooon, Fresh chopped tomato 2 table spoon, Small diced carrot 4 tablespoon, Fresh chopped garlic 1 table spoon Linguda (fiddlehead fern) , Ends trimmed 3-4 no, Ghee 1/2 cup, Cumin seeds 1 teaspoon
Garam masala 1 teaspoon , Coriander powder 1 tablespoon, Water as required , Salt to taste
Note:- You can add vegetables of your choice too.


1. Take a pan and put it on medium heat.

2. Pour ghee and let it heat, once heated add cumin seeds and saute well.

3. Now add garlic and onion saute till golden brown.

4. Add chopped tomatoes and fry for few more minutes. Add all the masala and cook till the mixture starts loosing oil.

5. At this point add all the vegetables and sauté well.

6. Add small quantity of water to the pan and let the vegetables cook for 2-3 minutes.

7. Now add kauni to the pan and saute for a while mixing all the ingredients.

8. For 2 cups of kauni add almost 700 ml of water and boil it separately.

9. Once the water is boiled add it to the the pulao mixture and cook for 20 -25 minutes or till the kauni is completely cooked.

10. You can garnish it with fresh chopped coriander and serve hot.

Note:- Serve with pisyoon loon (pahadi namak).



Preparation:- 10 mins, Making time:- 05 mins
Serving:- 06 portions

Ingredients:- Bhaang (hempseeds) 90 gms, Fresh garlic 5 – 6 clove, Green chilli 2 – 3 no, Fresh coriander or
coriander seeds handful, Fresh mint handful, Lemon juice 1 medium lemon, Water as required, Salt to taste

Note:- Beside this people add different ingredients also to adjust taste and consistency according to their palate such as roasted tomatoes can be added, dry red chillies, fresh onion, cumin seeds etc. which varies from place to place.


1. Heat a pan, dry roast the hemp seeds and keep aside.

2. Now with the help of a sil batta (batan and una) make a paste out of hemp seeds, fresh garlic, green chilli, fresh coriander and mint.

3. Take out this paste from the sil batta in a bowl.

4. Now squeeze the lemon juice and adjust the seasoning.

5. Your bhang ki chutney is ready and can be eaten with chapati, rice and fritters. Sometimes used to enhance the taste of the local dishes.



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