Garhwali food refers to the food prepared by people living in the Garhwali Himalayas of Uttarakhand and the Garhwali people settled in other Indian States and overseas. The cuisine of this region is designed to suit the hard working nature of the natives. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food culture exists here, although vegetarian food is dominant.
Historical and Cultural Influences
The Garhwali people are said to be descendants of Indo-Aryans and Indo-Iranians. The place is also home to Rajputs, Brahmins, and the Kumaoni people. Therefore, the food culture of this region is mixed, with both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
Common Ingredients Used
Some common ingredients used in making Garhwali food are rice, lentils, pulses like gehet, dal, ghee, mustard oil, and other seasonal ingredients. Spices such as garlic, ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and asafoetida are also used.
Major Everyday Garhwali Food
Mandua roti made with millet flour or bhari roti which is a thick roti with dal stuffing are commonly had for breakfast. Dishes made of rice and dal along with accompaniments such as chutney or pickle are everyday meals. Seasonal leafy green vegetables are also preferred. Dal dishes made with toor, masoor, urad, and channa dal serve as side dishes. Dishes like chainsoo, bhatwani, kafuli, jholi, and phaanu are some of the side dishes served with rice. While the kafuli is a thick gravy preparation made with spinach leaves, the phaanu is a spicy dal dish.
Urad pakora, poori, kaddu ki bhujji, and alu tamatar ka jhol are some of the traditional Garhwali foods. Alu tamatar ka jhol is a rich preparation made with ghee, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and spices. One of the traditional non-vegetarian preparations is the kachmauli, where a goat is smoked in open fire with leaves and seasoned. The bal mithai and singhori are traditional sweets of this region. The bal mithai is like a chocolate fudge coated with sugar balls. The singhori is a milk-based sweet that is wrapped in a leaf.
The festival foods of Garhwali cuisine include arsa, roat, bal mithai, singhori, gulgula along with other adaptations from North Indian cuisine such as kheer and gajar ka halwa. The roat is a sweet roti made with wheat flour, milk, jaggery, and ghee. Arsa is another traditional sweet made with rice flour and sugar syrup.
Health Benefits of Garhwali Foods
The Garhwali cuisine mostly includes cereals, lentils and pulses, which are a rich source of protein and, hence, highly nutritious. The mustard oil used in cooking is known to be good for the heart. It reduces cholesterol levels and is also rich in omega-3 fatty acid, along with antioxidant properties. Based on the nutritious ingredients and a healthy cooking medium, the Garhwali food is considered to be healthy and nourishing.