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Amma Ki Rasoi – A Kumaoni Treat for a Happy Baisakhi!

In the hills of Kumaon, an Amma sits removing the stems off of coriander at noon. When you ask her what she’s doing, she says she’s prepping for a feast for the Bikhoti dinner. She was kind enough to share some recipes with us.

Signhal

A sweet evening snack that is often served with tea/qahwa is deep fried to perfection. Here’s how you make Signhal. 

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup Sooji (Semolina/ Rava)
  2. 1/2 cup Hung Curd (Greek Yogurt)
  3. 1/2 Ripe Bananas (Mashed)
  4. 1/2 cup Sugar
  5. 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom Powder (Elaichi)
  6. Milk , as needed
  7. Sunflower Oil
  8. To prepare Uttarakhand Style Singhal Recipe Take a large mouth bowl. Add semolina, thick yogurt, mashed banana, sugar and green cardamom powder. Mix well.
  9. Add enough milk and make a smooth batter.
  10. Cover and keep it aside for 3-4 hours.
  11. Heat oil in a kadai/deep frying pan.
  12. Take a clean plastic bag and make a cut in the end. Fill the bag with semolina batter and press the bag so that batter will reach the point where the bag has a cut.
  13. Drop the batter in the oil in a spiral shape like jalebi. Fry until golden brown.
  14. Drain on an absorbent paper and repeat the process.
  15. Serve Uttarakhand Style Singhal Recipe with rabdi as a dessert or with tea as a snack
Lesu

A very popular breakfast staple in the hilly regions of India, Lesu is a flatbread from Garhwal which is prepared by stuffing Mandua dough into Wheat flour dough and eaten with ghee.

Ingerdients

  1. 250 gm wheat flour
  2. water as required
  3. 2 teaspoon carom seeds
  4. 250 gm ragi flour
  5. salt as required
  1. To start with, take a bowl and add wheat flour, ragi flour, carom seeds and salt. Knead them into a soft dough using appropriate amounts of water. When done, cover with a wet cloth for 10 minutes.
  2. When done, divide the dough into equal portions and shape each portion into a rounded ball. Meanwhile, heat a non-stick pan.
  3. Roll each rounded ball into a shape of roti using dry flour. Put roti on a heated pan and cook until the side facing pan is golden brown in color. Then, gently flip it and cook from the other side as well.
  4. Cook as many roti as possible and then serve it hot with yogurt or any favorite chutney of your liking or you can also have it with any sabzi.

Sani hui mooli aur nimbu

A refreshing uttarakhandi coleslaw, it’s an upgrade from a mundane raita for most people living in India. Can be served as a side to a warm meal or can be used as a topping for several dishes.

Ingredients:

  1. Radish – cut into jullian (sticks) – 1 and 1/4th cup
  2. Garlic – chopped – 1 tbsp – Heaped
  3. Green chillies – ¼ cup – chopped
  4. Lemon – only flesh – 1 heaped tbsp. – chopped
  5. Salt – 1 tsp / to taste
  6. Yogurt – ½ cup
  7. Hemp Hearts – 3 tbsp
  8. Sugar – 2 tbsp
  9. Cinantro – 1 tbsp minced.

Instructions

  • Cook hemp hearts on low warmth for 3-4 minutes
  • Make garlic, hemp hearts, green chillies, yogurt, salt, sugar by mixing in a sustenance processor or a smaller than expected blender
  • In a bowl, crease the yogurt sauce alongside radish cuts and you’re ready to serve!
Bhang ki chutney

Made from hemp seeds, Bhaang ki chutney is a staple side in the hills. Often served with other savoury meals, the flavour of this particular dish can make any dull meal scrumptious. 

  1. Bhaang (Hemp) seed 50 grams 
  2. Green chilly 02 pieces 
  3. Lemon juice of 01 lemon 
  4. Mint leaves 40 grams 
  5. Tomato 02 pieces 
  6. Salt as required 
  7. Water as required

Instructions

  1. Heat a pan on low flame and add your bhaang (Hemp) seeds.
  2. Roast bhang seeds till the aroma comes out from seeds and keep aside.
  3. Now take tomatoes and roast them on fire to burn the outer skin but don’t remove skin. It will give smoky flavor and taste to our chutney.
  4. Clean your mint leaves and remove all the stalks.
  5. Use a traditional sil batta or mixer. Grind roasted tomatoes, bhang seeds, green chili and mint leaves to a smooth texture.
  6. Use water as per requirement. 
  7. Finally, add lemon juice and season chutney with salt.

The food of Kumaon is much like their lifestyle, simple yet hearty. Most dishes are nutrient rich since the people need their energy for carrying out agriculture, which happens to be their primary source of income.
When you look at a Kumaoni family sharing their dinner on a festival like Bikhoti, you’d see people breaking bread together with content.
If you look hard enough to scratch under the surface, you’d notice a glimmer in each of their eyes which has something to say.
For Amma, that glimmer translates to a sense of pride of being able to serve a four course meal for the people they love most in the world.
For the grandfather, it translates to a sense of accomplishment of keeping their family together.

For the father that works hard away from home is glad to be with their whole family together. While the mother that takes care of the land and the house, is in awe of breaking bread after a year of hard work.
If you’re intrigued by the local food of Kumaon, we at Alaaya are hosting Gud Dhaani, an experiential celebration of Baisakhi, where we plan on indulging our guests with such hearty cuisines. Join us for Gud Dhaani, and explore Kumaon with us, through Amma ki Rasoi.

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