From Jakhya To Jamboo: Exploring The 7 Spices Of Uttarakhand
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Uttarakhand is popularly known as "the land of Gods". The state is always filled with tourists who come to explore the incredible scenic beauty of that region. Apart from ancient temples, forests, rivers, and snow-capped mountains, Uttarakhand also has a rich cuisine. If you have ever been to this place, then you might have tried some hearty dishes such as chainsoo, kafuli, arsa, and gahat ke parathe from the Kumaon and Garhwal regions.

These delightful dishes are made with simple ingredients but taste incredibly delicious, and the credit goes to the local flavours and their authentic cooking style. Talking about the local flavours, Uttarakhand also has some aromatic spices that play an important role in giving regional foods an amazing taste. 

From jakhya to jamboo, here are seven spices from the state of Uttarakhand that give an incredible flavour to their dishes: 


Also known as dog mustard or wild mustard, this spice is mainly used for tempering dishes. These seeds are similar to regular mustard seeds but are comparatively smaller in size. Jakhya is known to give a nutty crunch to food and is commonly a part of Kumaoni and Garwali cuisines. It is used to add flavour to curries and dals.  


Popularly known as hemp seeds, these are another local spice from Uttarakhand. Though it can be found in many other regions of the country, not everyone uses it as extensively as this state does. Mainly used as a flavouring agent, bhanga seeds are roasted, ground to paste with jaggery, green chillies, and garlic, and used to season vegetables like arbi, cauliflower, and spinach. Bhaang ki chutney is also a popular side dish in Uttarakhand. 

Kaala Jeera

Kaala jeera, or black caraway, is cultivated in the high-altitude areas of the state and is rich in aroma and medicinal properties. It has a distinct nutty, rich, and grassy flavour that is used to enhance the taste of vegetables and raita. It can also be used for tempering dals and curries.  


This is another Pahari spice that is known for flavouring Uttarakhandi cuisine. It is basically an aromatic root that is used in its raw or powdered form. It can be added to stir-fried vegetables, curries, and tadka. This herb is also known to have medicinal properties that cure stomach ailments. 


Also known as Perilla frutescens or beefsteak plant, these are tiny, greyish seeds that are used for flavouring chutneys and salads. Just like bhanga, they are also roasted and ground into a paste, then combined with garlic and green chillies. Another way of eating bhangjeera is with rice. These seeds are often combined with local rock salt collected from riverbanks and added to dishes. 


Lai is basically the seed of red mustard leaves that are typically found in the hills. These seeds are tinier than mustard and are extensively used to season raita. Lai has a very pungent smell and a sharp taste. So, if you like your food to be a little bold in flavour, lai is the perfect spice for you.  


This is another hidden gem of Uttarakhand that is said to have the potential to control cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. It is also known as jimbu or faran in some places, and this spice is popularly used as a tempering and flavouring agent. Belonging to the onion family, jamboo is added to curries, soups, pickles, and meat dishes.