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The taste of Kumaon: From singori to chaunsa dal, 4 delicious must-try recipes from the hills of Uttarakhand

By, New Delhi
Jun 02, 2024 06:29 PM IST

Discover the unique flavours of Kumaon, a beautiful region in Uttarakhand. Explore these traditional recipes and enjoy a taste of the hills.

Kumaon, in the north of India, is home to the majestic Himalayas. The food here is simple, unadulterated and extremely nutritious - fit only for the gods. This land (the state of Uttarakhand) is naturally blessed with millions of varieties of herbs, edible roots, wild berries, green leaves and pulses. Most of the people of Kumaon are vegetarians. Curries and iron-rich pulses, cooked over wood fires for hours, with strong herbs such as jambu, jhakeya, gandherni and bhanga (cannabis seeds), are a unique taste experience.

Delve into the culinary delights of Kumaon, a picturesque region in the hills of Uttarakhand.(Pinterest)

Kumaoni cuisine is a subtle blend of flavours that you get used to over time. They don't have strong flavours, but they add a delicate spice to the food. It's a very simple culinary experience with flavours and smells associated with childhood comfort food. Here are some mouth-watering recipes from the hills that you must try. (Also read: From jackfruit to tender coconut: 5 refreshing homemade fruit ice cream recipes to beat the summer heat )

Must-try recipes to experience the flavours of Kumaon

1. Kumaoni Raita

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(Recipe by Chef Kunal Kapur)

Kumaoni Raita recipe (Pinterest)


1 tbsp Mustard seeds

2 tsp Cumin

5 Garlic cloves

2 Green Chillies

A pinch of Salt

A handful of Mint leaves

A handful of chopped Coriander

¼ tsp Turmeric

1 cup thick Curd

1 tsp Chilli powder

1 small Cucumber (peeled and grated)


1. For the chutney paste, pound garlic, and green chillies on a mortar and pestle.

2. Then add fresh mint leaves, coriander leaves, salt to taste, turmeric, and red chilli powder.

3. Pound everything into a fine paste. In a clean bowl, add curd, grated cucumber, and the raita paste.

4. Mix it well with a whisk. Pahadi Raita is ready to be served. Serve it with any kind of paratha and enjoy!

2. Swale

(Recipe by Chef Sanjeev Kapoor)

Swale recipe (Sanjeev Kapoor)



1½ whole wheat flour (gehun ka atta)

Salt to taste

1 tbsp + 2 tsps oil


1 cup boiled black eyed peas (chowli)

4-5 garlic cloves

½ inch ginger, roughly chopped

1 green chilli

½ tsp red chilli powder

¼ tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp coriander powder

½ tsp cumin powder

½ tsp garam masala powder

Salt to taste

Oil for greasing + for deep frying


1. Take whole wheat flour in a large parat. Add salt, 1 tbsp oil and 1 cup water and knead into a stiff dough. Drizzle remaining oil and knead again. Cover with a damp muslin cloth and set aside for 10-15 minutes.

2. To make the stuffing, put the black eyed peas in a blender jar. Add garlic cloves, ginger and green chillies and blend to a fine thick paste. Transfer it into a large bowl, add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and salt and mix till well combined.

3. Grease a worktop with some oil. Take a small portion of the dough and shape it into a ball. Press it and make a cavity in the centre. Stuff with a portion of the stuffing and bring the edges to the centre and press to seal. Pinch the excess dough and flatten it lightly. Roll it into a small disc.

4. Heat sufficient oil in a kadai. Gently slide in the discs one at a time and deep fry till golden brown and crisp. Drain on an absorbent paper.

5. Arrange the puris on a serving plate. Serve.

3. Singori

(Recipe by Chef Sanjeev Kapoor)

Singori recipe (Pinterest)


4-5 fresh maalu leaves

2 cups grated mawa/khoya

¾ cup sugar

½ tsp green cardamom powder

¼ tsp nutmeg powder

1 cup grated fresh coconut

Slivered almonds for garnish


1. Heat sugar and ½ cup water in a non-stick pan. Cook till the sugar melts.

2. Add the khoya and continue to mix and cook till it melts. Cook for 6-8 minutes or till the mixture leaves the sides of the pan, stirring continuously.

3. Add green cardamom powder and nutmeg powder and mix well. Add coconut and continue to mix and cook for 1-2 minutes. Transfer the mixture on a plate and allow to cool to room temperature.

4. Cut the maalu leaves in half and shape each half into a cone. Secure it with a toothpick.

5. Stuff each cone with a portion of the khoya mixture, garnish with slivered almonds. Arrange on a serving plate and serve.

6. Peel off the leaf before eating.

4. Chaunsa Dal

(Recipe by Chef Sanjeev Kapoor)

Chaunsa Dal recipe (Pinterest)


1 cup whole black gram (sabut urad dal)

3 tbsps mustard oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp asafoetida (hing)

2 tbsps chopped garlic

1 tbsp chopped ginger

2 medium onions, finely chopped

Salt to taste

2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp red chilli powder

½ tsp turmeric powder

2 tbsps chopped fresh coriander leaves

Slit green chillies for garnish


1. Dry roast the whole black gram for 4-5 minutes. Allow to cool.

2. Put the roasted gram in a grinder jar and grind to a coarse powder.

3. Heat mustard oil in a pressure cooker, let is smoke. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida and mix well. Add garlic, ginger, onions, salt and sauté for 1-2 minutes.

4. Add tomatoes and mix well. Cook for 3-4 minutes.

5. Add 4 cups water and mix. Cook till it comes to a boil.

6. Add coriander powder, red chilli powder and turmeric powder and mix. Cover and cook under pressure for 3-4 whistles.

7. Open the cooker once the pressure reduces completely. Add coriander leaves and mix.

8. Serve hot garnished with slit green chillies.

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