Tehri is a vegetarian rice dish popular in parts of North India.
If you are from Uttar Pradesh or any other North Indian state, you must have memories of relishing a plate of Tehri on a Sunday afternoon with your family. The comforting, flavourful and aromatic plate of this rice-based dish has its roots in the Awadhi cuisine. A traditional plate of the dish is served with coriander chutney, raita or Kachumber salad. The dish is made with an assortment of veggies, mustard oil, whole spices, curd and some humble Indian spices.
Tehri has its roots in history and is believed to have been invented by the vegetarian bookkeepers of the Muslim emperors of the Indian subcontinent. It is believed that the bookkeepers got inspired by Biryani and made a vegetarian version of it to suit their dietary preferences. However, the style of preparation differs from Biryani as the time and equipments as the royal kitchen weren’t available to the bookkeepers. The Kayastha community of the court of Awadh is believed to have found the recipe of Tehri first. The dish gained popularity during the Second World War when the prices of meat were at their peak and royal cooks began adding potatoes to Biryani.
Tehri is not just limited to UP but has many variations. In Jammu and Kashmir, the Kashmiri Pandits savour it as Tehar. The dish is comfort food in their households. A version of it is also relished on Cheti Chand or Sindhi new year as Prasad. The dish is popularly served with sai bhaji or bhee aloo in langar. A version of Tehri is also made in Bangladesh which is enriched with flavours of beef.
Many get confused between Biryani, Pulao and Tehri. However, all three of them differ from each other in terms of preparation, ingredients and utensils used. While Biryani is made by adding marinated ingredients, Tehri is a much simpler version. While Biryani and Pulao have distinct differences, Tehri is an amalgam of both. The frying and cooking of vegetables in whole spices is inspired by Biryani while cooking the dish without layering is inspired by Pulao.
No matter what, Tehri is the go-to comfort food for many Indians. Here is a detailed recipe for you to try.