Gary Mehigan's Ladakhi Food Adventures Include Kahwa, Khambir

Australian celebrity chef and restaurateur Gary Mehigan is no stranger to Indian cuisine. In fact, when he conducts many masterclasses across several regions in India, he also dives into the local food culture, sampling everything from dosas and vadas on the streets of Madurai to pork vindaloo in Goa. The chef, well-known for his 12-year stint on the acclaimed cooking show MasterChef Australia, was recently in Ladakh, and his foodie adventures here were all about exploring the region’s flavours and cuisine.

The cookbook author’s culinary adventures began with a refreshing glass of a drink made from sea buckthorn. In an Instagram story, he explained how the "yellow sour fruit" is "picked in summer here from the thorny bushes that grow everywhere where there is water." Ladakh is also known for having abundant apricot cultivations, and in his story, he also pointed to a jug of refreshing apricot juice readily available in Leh’s market.

On his trip, he also had a glass of warm kahwa tea, brewed with green tea leaves and infused with almonds and several aromatic spices, including cinnamon, cloves, and saffron. Gary’s tour of Leh also took him to Leh’s Old Town on a short walk he described as "a nice, gentle way to acclimatise to the altitude." Here too, his foodie explorations involved tasting the traditional chana khambir, a flatbread stuffed with chickpeas.

Gary’s Instagram post celebrating the different foods of Ladakh also featured an array of dry fruits found in the local market. In the carousel, he included a video of sacks upon sacks filled with walnuts, cashews, almonds, apricots, and so much more. In the region known as the Land of the High Passes, the chef also captured an image of a local vegetable seller with fresh produce and the quaint, narrow lanes of Leh’s market filled with shops, cafes, and stalls serving delicious local cuisine. Tell us in the comments below which drink you would prefer apricot or sea buckthorn!