F – FOOD

Welcome to the sixth day of the #BlogchatterA2Z challenge.

Today my blogpost is a Foodies delight!!!!

The cuisine of Kumaon and Garhwal (the two regions of  Uttarakhand) is mostly based on lentils, leafy vegetables and a variety of flour grains. Most of these items are produced locally. Food also changes according to the season based on the seasonal body requirements.

1) SISUNAAK SAAG (STINGING NETTLE ):- 

Common name:- Bicchu ghas (Kumaon) and Dhol kanali( Garhwal)

Botanical Name:- Girardinia diversifolia

Stinging nettle is actually a wild plant that grows in abundance here. It has sharp hair like layer on the leaf that cause a stinging sensation when exposed to the body.This is due to Formic acid present in it. A local remedy is applying Dock plant(Leaves like a spinach) which grows near the stinging nettle and gives a cooling sensation. This is an example of Neutralization reaction in Chemistry.

It is not a frequently cooked dish but it has its own uniqueness.

The tender leaves are plucked using a tong. When kept for some time the stings subside and the the leaves are exposed to fire to remove insects and the washed and boiled a nd cooked similar to a mustard saag. Seeds are also roasted and eaten.

Stinging nettle is rich in iron,magnesium and Vitamin A. The chemicals such as Formic Acid and histamine in it act as anti-inflammmatory agents. Paste of roots helps to treat wounds and headache. Concotation of leaves, roots etc help in curing gastric problems and boils

Jean Bardot, scientist at University of Maryland Medical Centre in the US, terms the plant as β€œa super wild food” for its diuretic, anti- rheumatic, anti-allergic nature.

Watch Chef Kunal Kapoor cooking with a local chef .(The video is in Hindi but still worth watching to observe the plant, the process of cutting and cooking)

2 )BHANG KI CHUTNEY:-

Bhang : Hemp plant used to make Marijuana.

This plant grows in the wild though it can be commercially grown too. The seeds of this plant are not intoxicating, the leaves are. The seeds are used to make oil, protein and milk also.The seeds are allowed to dry on the plant. The fiber of the plant is used to make ropes, clothes etc.

Watch Chef Kunal Kapoor prepare it. (Non Hindi speaking people may also watch it to observe the plant, seeds and the recipe)

Out of the numerous sweets let us enjoy two of them.

3) BAL MITHAI:-   It is a brown chocolate-like fudge, made with roasted khoa (milk thickened by heating in an open pan) and soaked in sugar syrup and then coated with white sugar balls.It is a popular sweet from Almora town of Uttarakhand. It can be stored for a long period of time if kept at room temperature.

Wikipedia attributes the invention of Bal Mithai to Lala Joga Ram Shah of Lal Bazaar, Almora during early twentieth century. Scholars believe that the Bal Mithai initially must have been the name of the prime offering to the Sun God.Over the years, the sweet has found home in many Kumaoni stories and folklore, arising from the milieu of Kumaon  as evident from the memoirs of noted Hindi writers. (Source Wikipedia)

And look what did I find it can be ordered online!!! First apart after the lockdown it seems… https://www.foodfeasta.com/location/indian/almora-uttarakhand.html

Watch Chef Kunal Kapoor cooking with local chefs.

4) SINGAURI:- This is also a local sweet  product created  in Almora. It involves condensing the milk without allowing it to change its colour.The soft solidified  material is packed in cones made of green leaves od awild creeper found locally called Malu( Bauhinia vahlii).The leaves add to the taste of the sweet (leaf is not edible).

Pic Courtesy: uttarakhandshopping.com
Pic Courtesy : Dr. Manisha Sanguri Jalal

Enjoy these delicacies!!!!

Author’s Note:- Information and photographs have been widely sourced from various websites as well as my personal contacts.Please feel free to inform me of any misinformation or any violation.My email id pashmeenachowdhary@gmail.com

References for information and photographs credits :

# This is the sixth post for #BlogchatterA2Z challenge. My theme is Uttarakhand-The Abode of Gods .

# Do share your links for quick access…Would love to read…. See you around!!!!!

Published by Pashmeena Chowdhary

May you live in such a way,that others will say,"She is a woman,who though ordinary,somehow stands out and has a beautiful story to tell." 😊 (Daisaku Ikeda)

21 thoughts on “F – FOOD

  1. I have tried baal mithai and it’s very tasty but bhang chutney and singauri were new to me.
    thanks for introducing to the food of Uttarakhand. Well researched and great post it was fun to see all attached videos too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I watched the first 2 videos and am really amazed by how stinging nettles can be turned into food and medicine. They grow wild around here. I think I’m covering hemp seeds for “H” as well but they are turned into a carrier oil. I like the stone board and the stone to mash. The desserts look so yummy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot for showing such deep interest..The stone board is traditionally used in India for grinding though now gadgets have replaced it a lot.. But the traditional way added taste to food..Thanks again for reading.. Am learning a lot from your blog posts..

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeh Kunal Kapur wahi se belong karta hai kaya? But interesting .. Bichhu ghass and bhaang ki mithai wow!! Any idea about which part of Uthrakhand these cuisines belong to specially? I will keep them in mind during my next visit to my in laws place. We always have a chance to visit Haridwar and Rishikesh from there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No idea about that..He was filming a series on local food..Well bichu ghar am unsure that it is made regularly but bap mithai you will find in Nainital,Almora and the other one only in Almora..This is based on my part knowledge, might be available elsewhere too..Nainital has a famous shop called Mamu halwai..You can try in Rishikesh etc..Let me know if you get..

      Like

  4. My favorite topic, food. We had a huge bush of bichchu buti near our house. And also the palak. Bal mithai was a favorite. I loved the white sugar balls. I still remember, when we used to buy jalebis, we always got curd with it.

    Liked by 1 person

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