Food from the Mountains of Kumaon

Yes, I am still holidaying in Uttarakhand! So far, I have visited
Binsar, Kausani, Ranikhet and of course, Almora, which is my base for this
trip. Next stop, Nainital and thereafter Amritsar! In my earlier post, I had
published a photo-essay on the colourful market of Ranikhet. In this one, I’ll
focus on the food of the Kumaon region, known as pahadi food (or food from the mountains). Disclaimer – all the food
you see in this post has been made by my mother-in-law; my contribution has
been to photograph it and eat it 🙂

Last week was the fag end of the Navratri festival, followed by
Dussehra. So here are some of the festive goodies rustled up for Dussehra
breakfast, which are made at most pahadi
homes on that day. Images are followed by quick recipes. Since these recipes
are hand-me-downs, there are few proportions; go with your instincts and let me
know how they turn out!
Pue – these are fried dumplings made out of rice flour or
Soak 1 cup of semolina in a mixture of ½ cup of yogurt and ½ a cup
of cream. Allow it to soak for 3-4 hours. Add some ground fennel seeds, powdered
black pepper and some jaggery (dissolve jaggery in some milk and then add). The
batter should a similar consistency as that of idli batter; slightly thicker
than pancake batter. In a large pan, mix equal parts of ghee and oil and heat on
a high flame. Drop little dumplings of the batter in it and deep fry. Drain off
excess oil and allow to cool on a plate lined with paper napkins. Serve warm.
Aloo ke Gutke – these are potato
wedges cooked in mustard oil and flavoured with local spices, including jambu,
which is used extensively in Kumaoni food. Jambu is a kind of dried Himalayan
Chives. It’s available at Gourmet West, the in-house food store at Westside,
Mumbai. I’m sure you can find it at other gourmet stores as well.
Cut potatoes into wedges. Heat mustard oil and make a tempering of
asafoetida, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, dried red chillies and jambu. Add the
potato wedges, turmeric, coriander powder and grated ginger. Cover and cook
till the potatoes are done. Add garam masala powder and aamchur powder (dried
and powdered unripe mangoes – readily available in stores). Serve hot,
garnished with fresh coriander.
Kheere ka Raita – this is a cucumber
salad with yogurt and liberally flavoured with mustard.
Grate large yellow cucumbers and drain water out of it. Add
turmeric, grated ginger, coriander powder, cumin powder, red chilli powder and
salt. Grind about 1tsp of red mustard and add to the cucumber. Mix in enough
yogurt. Leave to marinate for couple of hours so that the mustard flavour
develops. The longer you marinate, the bigger the mustard hit!


    • deliciouslydirectionless 3 November, 2012 at 15:54 Reply

      Thanks, Arun! Unfortunately, the page you've pointed to doesn't exist. However, the large yellow cucumber that I've mentioned – I've seen it only in the mountains. You can use regular cucumbers to make this salad as well…

  1. Anonymous 18 February, 2013 at 07:06 Reply

    hey can you put up a picture of bhatt ke dubke, the green paste-gravy made from black soybean cooked in iron handi ? 🙂 thank you

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