Almora is a lesser-known mountain town that sits in the quaint Kumaon division of Uttarakhand. The cuisine found here is special because it’s a reflection of the region’s mountain landscape and the genius work of the locals. With organically-grown vegetables, Kumaon people create simple, hearty meals. The dishes here fit the label of the ongoing obsession behind farm-to-plate food but the locals here nail this trend effortlessly. Wondering which wholesome meals you should try here? We’ve got it covered in our take of the food in Almora.
What Kind Of Food Would You Find On Your Plate?
Short answer – Nutritious! But let’s go for the longer answer because there is tons that you need to know. The food in Almora features ingredients picked straight from the bounties of nature. It’s miles away from frozen, processed foods that our moms keep telling us to avoid. Instead, the locals here prefer growing their own fruits, vegetables and even herbs. You’d probably also have a chance to see the fields on which the peas, potatoes, carrots, radish and beetroots that you’re served are actually grown.
The dishes in Kumaon cuisine are also unique because they’re the innovation of the locals that live in close proximity to the mountains. The people of Kumaon find ways to add herbs, seeds, and leaves found in the region to come up with simple yet delicious dishes. The dishes here get reconstructed as per the seasons and the availability of certain ingredients in the mountains. Food preparations are then creatively altered by the chefs – the local Kumaon people.
Some ingredients that are almost always present or featured regularly in Almora meals are a variety of pulses, seeds, edible leaves and plants. You vegans out there, Almora hears that you have a tough time with meals and has made it easy-peasy for you! When you visit you’ll also realize that Kumaonis definitely have a soft spot for dals. But read ahead to know the names of the other dishes for you to try in Almora –
Bhatt Ki Dal
A humble home-cooked bhatt ki dal (curry of black pulses) in Almora can easily help any traveler feel like home even though miles away from home. It is a flavorful comfort food for the locals and requires the most simple ingredients. When the low temperatures in Almora make you feel low in energy, this nutritious dal can be the boost you need. It’s a staple among the locals as it helps them fight the flu and stay healthy when the Himalayan weather gets difficult.
Bhang Ki Chutney
Bhang ki chutney is the awesome sauce that is going to make a world of difference to most of the Kumaon meals you try. Let’s just say it’s a match made for the dishes you’ll find here. This sauce is made of bhang (hemp seeds), cumin seeds, garlic, tamarind and salt. It comes together after some serious crushing of the spices with coriander and turmeric on a stone mortar.
Thechwani is a nourishing dish prepared with radish and potatoes that are easily available in Almora. Both these ingredients are crushed into tiny pieces (strangely similar to teenage crushes) and then blended with spices. We’ve got a gut feeling that this hearty gravy will keep your gut happy in Almora.
Like we said when in Almora, you’ll slowly realize that most of the cuisine features hearty gravies and dubuk is one of the many. Like thechwani and bhatt ki dal, this heavy dish is a blend of lentils, rice flour and a dash of spices. When a bowl of dubuk comes to your table steaming hot, it’s a food that can possibly warm even a cold-hearted person.
Kumaoni Dal Bade
Dal bade (or as we know it – dal vadas) are crispy fritters that you simply can’t resist when in Almora. They are more addictive than chips and are best served with a hot cup of tea. If you’re visiting Almora during the monsoon season, you’ll definitely want to get a plate full of these crunchy snacks just for you. You might turn a little like Joey from F.R.I.E.N.D.S and not want to share Kumaoni dal bade with anyone.
Aloo Ke Gutke
Aloo ke gutke is a dish made entirely of potatoes grown in the mountains and definitely an upgrade from having french fries at a fast-food joint. Most locals consider this to be their go-to comfort food in the winters. Just a heads up, the potatoes fried in spices can get you hooked. Trust us, you could lose count of how many of these you binge on. The potatoes are usually paired with a mix of cucumber and yogurt instead of ketchup! It’s an interesting combination, and you have to give it a shot.
The mouthwatering quality of food in Almora doesn’t just end at savoury, wholesome dishes. When you wish to end your meal on a sweet note, turn to the bal mithai to do the job. The texture of this dish is similar to that of chocolate fudge. This sweet dish is made of Khoya (dried milk solids), cane sugar and butter. Once it’s ready it is coated with sugar. This dish is a specialty of Almora and could be unlike any other dessert you’ve tried.
Another sweet dish that you’ll want to take home with you is singal. It might look like a jalebi but it is a much healthier version of it. The ingredients that go into making this spiral-looking sweet are milk, banana, curd, cardamom, sugar and nutritious rava (semolina). As you can see, Kumaon locals don’t stop themselves from giving desserts a healthy twist too.
You’re Ready For Your Pahari Food Affair
The distinct flavors of Kumaoni food is found in the food in Amora, present in these dishes and many more. We’ve listed out the best of the menu. You’re now prepared to explore all the breathtaking places that Almora offers and have a nourishing affair with food. Wait, do you also have your accommodation sorted out? If not check out goSTOPS Almora. We’ve got the perfect location and the comfiest beds, plus some swell company too!
Which Food Is Famous In Uttarakhand?
Some of the most famous and sought after dishes in Uttrakhand are –
- Kafuli – A thick gravy made of fenugreek and spinach leaves
- Phaanu – A dal made of mixed soaked lentils
- Chainsoo – A gravy dish made of roasted lentils
- Arsa – A sweet dish made of cane juice, rice and mustard oil
Why Is Uttarakhand Famous For Food?
There’s a craze for Uttarakhand food because the dishes are prepared from organically-grown produce. Uttarakhand meals consist of lentils, fresh edible leaves, seeds with health benefits and grounded spices. It leaves you feeling nourished and energized to explore the mountains despite how difficult the environment can get because of the high altitude.
What Is The Difference Between Garhwal And Kumaon?
Garhwal and Kumaon are the two main regions of Uttarakhand. The capital of the state lies in the Garhwal region, making it the more popular of the two. A larger number of districts fall in the Garhwal side. Kumaon is smaller but gets plenty of tourist attention because it’s naturally blessed with ethereal views of the Himalayas.
What Is Kumaoni Thali?
A Kumani thali features a perfectly balanced meal with stir-fried potatoes, lentil gravy, a bowl of rice, and a spinach and green pumpkin dish. It also includes a traditional sweet dish and cucumber raita on the side. A Kumaoni thali is incomplete without bhang (hemp) chutney.
What Is The Famous Fruit Of Uttarakhand?
Most fruits in Uttarakhand have some medicinal or health value. The most famous fruits to try in the state of Uttarakhand are kafal, apricot, apple, cherry and hisalu.