The high altitude, hilly terrains, and extreme weather of Ladakh - also known as the ‘Land of High Passes’ - make it necessary for the local people to protect themselves from the chilly winds and stay warm almost throughout the year. Apart from wearing layers of clothes, the locals eat rich and nutritious food that generates heat in the body and helps them survive in the cold weather.
Waking up to the breathtakingly beautiful view of snow-capped mountains can be a tempting proposition for city dwellers. But for those living in that region, getting through the winter months can be very difficult. Thus, their diet plays a vital role in ensuring their health and well-being.
Hot cups of tea keep doing the rounds in Ladakhi households on a cold winter morning. Since they have to get to work despite the weather, it is essential to keep themselves warm and energetic. Influenced by the neighbouring regions, you’ll find plenty of influences of Tibetan and Himalayan cuisine in the Ladakhi fare. Here are some yummy breakfast dishes from the region that you should definitely try.
Including carbohydrates in one’s regular meals is important for the locals, as it provides them with the required energy. Khambir is a traditional bread from Ladakh, which is thick and round in shape, and made with whole wheat fermented dough. The crust is obtained first by baking it on a hot stone and then directly cooking it over fire. This thick and crusty brown bread is quite filling for breakfast.
2. Butter Tea
Another staple element of a Ladakhi breakfast meal is Butter Tea. A delicious concoction that finds its roots in Tibetan cuisine, this tea is quite popular in Kashmir too. The warmth of the butter-salt-yak combination works best to survive the chilly winter months. The freshly churned tea leaves and the infusion of yak meat lends the beverage a dark pink colour and a distinct aroma.
Bread-jam is a breakfast staple everywhere. As a kid, you too must have eaten it on the way to school. Seems like Ladakhis love jam too, but only when it’s made with apricot. Also known as Chulli in the local dialect, the apricots that grow in the region are commonly used to make pickles and jams. This is often eaten for breakfast, alongside bread or as it is.
This is a warm and thick vegetable soup that has pasta-like elements in it. The word Chhutagi literally translates to ‘chu’, meaning water, and ‘tagi’, meaning bread in Ladakhi. The pasta-like dough is shaped into a bow-tie and dunked in a soup of potatoes, carrots, and plenty of other leafy veggies. This is a soul-soothing and nutritious breakfast treat.