A Beginner’s Guide To The Cuisine Of Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand’s hills and river views make the ideal setting for sitting down with a wholesome meal or picking snacks up to eat on the go. Mainly divided into Garhwali and Kumaoni, the cuisine of Uttarakhand is varied and includes everything from lentil dishes to desserts. We list eight dishes from Uttarakhand that range from savoury to sweet:


A popular dish from Uttarakhand, phaanu is found mainly in the Garhwal region. It is a complex preparation that uses different types of lentils, which are soaked in water overnight. The consistency of phaanu is soupy, which is why it makes a great accompaniment to rice. 


Another Garhwali specialty, chainsoo is made with urad or kali dal and is rich in protein. To make chainsoo, the lentils are roasted and mashed into a paste, which is then cooked in an iron pot. The dish has an earthy flavour and while some people find it hard to digest, it has been known to give Punjab’s maa ki dal competition. 


Native to the Kumaon region, dubuk is made using local pulses like gahat and bhatt. It is considered a treat during the winter but can be eaten all year round. Dubuk has a smooth texture since the pulses are ground to a paste, and is best enjoyed with rice. The dish also goes well with chapatis. 

Aloo gutuk

Potatoes grow abundantly in the Kumaon region and hence form an important part of the diet of Kumaonis. Aloo gutuk uses steamed potatoes, and red chilli and coriander as garnishes. It tastes great when accompanied by puris, Kumaoni raita and bhaang ki chutney. Every household in Uttarakhand has a different recipe for the dish. 


Also known as singodi or singauri, singori is a well known sweet dish from Uttarakhand. It is made using khoya or thickened milk wrapped in a maalu leaf. Similar to kalakand, singori consists of the maalu leaf folded into a cone shape and filled with khoya. Historians believe that the treat originated in Almora.


Hailing from Garhwal, arsa is an important part of ‘kaleo’, an offering made for auspicious ceremonies in households in the region. It is believed that South Indian Brahmins came to Garhwal and taught locals how to make alsa in the 9th century. The dish is known as ‘ariselu’ in South India, where it uses a different type of jaggery. 


A sweet popular not just with locals but tourists as well, gulgula is a sweet snack made with jaggery and wheat flour. It is a kind of doughnut that can be found at most local markets. To make the recipe more interesting, yogurt, banana pulp and fennel seeds may be used.

Jhangora ki kheer

Jhangora is a kind of millet that is used as the primary ingredient in this dessert. It is made by adding soaked jhangora to boiling milk and stirring continuously, after which sugar is added. The dish is garnished with nuts. It is the ideal sweet treat to prepare for special occasions and festivities.