First day at the cottage in the hills and plans were made for lunch to try out some kumaoni food at a local place in Mukhteshwar, about half an hour drive from our cottage. I was excited as I had heard a lot about this food but hadn’t ever tasted any.
Skies were a gorgeous blue with nary a hint of cloud or mist – almost a razor-sharp vista, when we set out mid afternoon for a delicious gourmet affair.
We were welcomed by the sight of a cosy garden – a hammock in one corner, floors mats strewn in another; both begging a snooze while marigolds, roses and other wild flowers poked out their colourful heads in all corners of the garden. Birds trilling, butterflies flitting by and sun winking at us through the branches – a sense of Alice in Wonderland had descended on me. Any moment now the Mad Hatter would pop up and nervously fondle his watch!! Sigh!
I discovered a quaint little corner in the garden with a sweet little bench and a bouquet of white flowers hanging from a bush – enchanting is not enough to describe the whole vista.
With a fab view of the valley ahead of us, our server laid out an array of dishes – a dal, a vegetable and a chicken curry with some freshly cut salad, rice and rotis, all rounded up with some “meetha” which was suji ka halwa!!
Doesn’t sound very impressive – right? Check out the pics with the taste and description.
The thick gravy like green dish is a preparation made from spinach and fenugreek leaves and is called Kafuli – even Popeye would have been overjoyed to taste this delicious vegetable. Uniqueness of this dish is the addition of rice powder to it.
Another leafy vegetable dish was a local saag which was prepared with a lot of care and great flavours
The dal is the traditional Gahat ( Kulat) which is quite a hardy grain and can be sometimes tough to digest. Its made simply with ginger and garlic temperings.
The bread/roti is typically made from Ragi or the Mandua flour which are very nutritious and great in flavour.
A simple chicken curry but the flavourings of the khada masala was just brilliant. We loved the undertones of sauf (fennel) and cloves in all the dishes – seems it’s a potent combination of this cuisine.
Since we were their only customers of the day; they hadn’t prepared any food in advance.. So most of it was impromptu. When we demanded a typical sweet of the region, we were disappointed as there were no prep done for it. To appease us, the cook quickly made suji ka halwa and we all declared it was quite different and appealing from the way we make it home.
The beauty of the entire meal was that it was simple in flavors, very nutritious and great taste.
Needless to say, the hammock was fought over after this great meal as we all needed a snooze to settle the great meal that we all agreed, had led us to eat more than our usual.