Get a taste of the hills with these recipes from Garhwal

A well-preserved secret, the cuisine of the Gharwal region in northern India is very rustic and makes best use of available resources to make a delicious meal. The Gharwalis are very hardworking people and the same reflects in the cuisine. They are well-versed in using whatever is available in the cold valleys and are known to make delicious meals even from the simplest of ingredients.

The lesser-known cuisine of Garhwal has some amazing delicacies to offer to foodies. Garhwali food is simple to prepare but it is undeniably tasty. Full of diverse flavours, colours and ingredients, it is not spicy keeping in mind the hard working nature of the locals and the harsh winters. It is believed that people of Garhwal are descendants of Indo-Aryans and Indo-Iranians. This is the reason they have a mixed food culture and equal varieties of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.


Rice is their staple food. One of the spices, which they commonly use in their cooking, is bhaang (hash seeds). The common pulses they relish are gehet, gauth, toor, swanta and gauthare. Instead of soft drinks, they prefer to drink various juices like burash (rhododendron) juice, rose juice and malta juice.

The cuisine of both urban and rural Uttarakhand is unpretentious and based on easily obtained seasonal ingredients. Recipes are wholesome, effortlessly prepared and come to the table fresh of the flame, steaming hot and comforting.

Food is cooked in mustard oil and ghee. Prominent flavourings are asafetida, chillies in their fresh and dry form, garlic and ginger. Until a while ago, yogurt and amchur were generally used to add the sour flavour to dishes. Other vegetables have also been added to the culinary repertoire but are usually reserved for occasions when time and pocket permit, or the back garden bears fruit. We help you prepare two easy-to-cook recipes from the hills. Hope you enjoy them.


Dubuk is a tasty black bean dal. Photo courtesy: Mail Today



- 2 cups black beans (gahat dal)
- 15ml refined oil
- 5gm jakhya or cumin seeds
- 5gm fenugreek seeds
- 5gm coriander powder
- 5gm garam masala powder
- 5gm turmeric powder
- 10gm red chilli powder
- Salt to taste
- 5gm garlic paste
- 15gm chopped onion
- 15gm tomato roughly ground
- 10gm green chilies
- 5gm ginger paste
- 5gm asafetida

Method of preparation:
- Soak lentils in water overnight. Grind black lentils without water to a paste. Heat oil in a pan. Add jakhya,fenugreek, asafetida, green chilies, onion paste, ginger paste, and garlic paste.
- Fry for some time. Then add 1/2 cup water, garam masala, coriander powder, chili powder, and salt to taste. Add tomatoes.
- Cook it for some time. When this mixture becomes thick, add lentil paste to it and fry it for some time. Add 4 cups of water and cook it for at least 30 minutes. Stir it regularly.
- Finally, garnish it with green coriander leaves.


Phanu is one of the staples of Garhwal. Photo courtesy: Mail Today



- 1 cup gahat or kulath (horse gram)
- 4 to 5 cloves garlic
- 1/2 inch piece ginger
- 3-4 green chillies
- 1 tsp jakhya or Cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp dry coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 3 cups water
- 2 tsp salt to taste
- 1/2 cup mustard oil

Method of preparation:
- Soak the Gahat daal in water overnight.
- In the morning wash and rub the daal in running water so that it is free of seed covering. Grind it into a dry thick paste along with green chilies, garlic and ginger.
- Place a tawa on a moderate flame. Put some oil and make thick pancakes of daal paste. Use only half of the paste for making the cakes.
- Mix water with the remaining paste making it gravy like. Heat oil in a pan and add jakhya seeds. Add Gahat paste, turmeric powder, dry coriander powder and salt.
- Cover and cook for about 10 minutes on slow fire. Add the Gahat cakes to the gravy and continue simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Garnish with pure ghee and chopped coriander.

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