Eat Like A Local: Get The Uttarakhand Experience

Eat Like A Local: Get The Uttarakhand Experience
A spread of various foods from Uttarakhand Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Have you heard of these Garhwali and Kumaoni delicacies?

Sahana Iyer
December 10 , 2019
06 Min Read

What comes to your mind when you think of North Indian food? Is it the inevitable seven versions of a paneer dish? Or the ubiquitous orange gravy with vegetables available in most restaurants? There is a lot more to North Indian cuisine than those generic kormas and butter masalas. Located amidst the shadows of mountains and lush forests, Uttarakhand is a treasure trove of lesser-known delicacies. Simple yet hearty dishes are in abundance in both Garhwal and Kumaon regions. Vegetarian options are more common. Here are 6 dishes to try on your next visit to Uttarakhand:

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Self taught artist, avid cook (@shiana25) on Jun 12, 2017 at 11:00pm PDT



A dish popular in Garhwal, Kafuli is for those who love their greens. It is a concoction of spinach and fenugreek leaves, flavoured with ginger, chillies, curd and spices. First, the leaves are chopped and boiled with some water and green chillies. The same is then blended. Ginger, spices and curd are added to some oil in a pan, and simmered for a while. The blended mixture is added to this. Kafuli is often served with roti (flat bread) or rice. Health-conscious folks, you must add this to your diet - it is extremely nutritious and rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and iron.  


The food of a region is a reflection of its topography. Chainsoo, a common pahadi dish, is an  example of this. The high-in-protein gravy is made with black gram dal. It can be hard to digest so it is roasted and ground first. This not only makes it lighter on the gut but also adds an extra layer of flavour. This dish helps locals combat chilly nights in the mountains and also boosts energy. You prep it by roasting and grinding the dal. In the tempering, add onions, tomatoes, garam masala powder, coriander and garlic. Serve it with some steamed rice and spiced baby potatoes for a well-rounded meal. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by AYUSHI (@ayushibhatt96) on Apr 18, 2019 at 8:10am PDT


Indian sweets are known for their high-calorie, sugar overloaded, syrup-dipped recipes. Singori isn't like that. A dish exclusive to Kumaon, this sweet is made with khoya and grated coconut, neatly wrapped into a cone of maalu leaves (maalu is a local climbing shrub with a subtle camphor-like aroma). Rich in fibre and protein, you can consume this sweet without any guilt about calories. For added flavour, you can garnish it with nuts and rose petals. 


Sweet dough balls - many countries have their own version of this. India has a multitude of sweets in ball-form like gulab jamun, rasgulla and various laddoos. Another one to add to that long list is the pahadi delicacy, arsa. This bite-sized sweet is one of the most popular sweets in the region. The rich golden-brown spheres are made by deep-frying a mixture of rice, water, and cane sugar. Arsa is customary in wedding ceremonies in the state. They are easy to pack and serve, making them ideal for travel. So, if you can’t get enough of this delicious dessert on your visit, why not pack some for the ride and bring back some to share?

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by 🐝BAWA 85 (@bawa.85) on Feb 21, 2019 at 9:03pm PST

Gahat ke Parathe

Parathas and North India kind of go hand-in-hand. We’ve all had the aloo (potatoes), mooli (radish), methi (fenugreek) and gobi (cauliflower) ones, but there is a paratha avtaar you may not know about - Uttarakhand’s gahat ke parathe. Made with horse gram, and traces of garlic, salt, sugar, and lime juice, these are served with fresh chutney and curd.

Kumaoni Raita

India has a huge diversity of cuisines but there are a few gastronomic items that stay common. One such dish is the raita. The Kumaoni version's foundation is made with curd, cucumber and turmeric powder. Green chillies, coriander, and spices are then added to the mix. A blend of mustard seeds adds a final punch. 

Related Articles

Around The World In 5...

Kartikeya Shankar May 27 , 2023

A Foodie's Guide To...

Shweta Dravid May 22 , 2023

Our Other Editions

Outlook’ is India’s most vibrant weekly news magazine with critically and globally acclaimed print and digital editions. Now in its 23rd year...

Explore All
  • Check out our Magazine of the month
  • Offbeat destinations
  • In-depth storytelling
  • Stunning pictures
  • Subscribe