Uttarakhand&rsquos Food Festival in December saw a lot of regional delicacies and Kumaoni flavours coming together, but the stand out among them was the Pahadi Rasoi. &ldquoWe have a very rich food culture in the state,&rdquo said Pankaj Agarwal, the proprietor of Devbhoomi Rasoi, also popularly known as Hapur Walo Ki Dukan.
The name might confuse you as when asked about his link to Hapur, Agrawal says his grandfather was from the town in Uttar Pradesh, but he holds no roots there. &ldquoThe name just came to be, and we haven&rsquot changed it ever since my grandfather.&rdquo They have their sweet shop and kitchen at Musoorie's Landour Bazaar where you would notice a steady flow of customers everyday.
Food from Pahadi Rasoi had the public hooked, with dozens lining up to the stall. There were warm desserts like jalebis, gulab jamuns etc, prepared in jaggery and tea made of millet flour, and even black bitumen was a public favourite. &ldquoThis is a great platform to offer tourists our heritage cuisine, which they might not be able to find elsewhere,&rdquo said Agrawal. &ldquoAt least not the authentic kind.&rdquo Their popular thali includes local delicacies like the Kumaoni raita infused with mustard oil and mustard seed, and Aloo Urdi and Choliya, which is made with chickpea and dal and is the equivalent of the Punjabi choley.
The flour of finger millet, known as Mandwa in Hindi, is a major ingredient in a lot of the food in Uttarakhand&rsquos local cuisine. The black colour that the millet imparts to the dishes gives them an interesting look. On the menu of Devbhoomi Rasoi, you will find a lot of dishes made with finger millet, like the buns in pav bhaji and all their savouries as well as the sweet dishes.
&ldquoI have been in the food sector for the past 35 years, and we have been working with the food festival since 2013 when it first started. Tourists coming in should taste pahadi food, and they are bound to fall in love with it. All our dishes and products are local. We use Timbru wood which is a natural preservative, cooked in kansa (copper) metal, using finger millet flour,&rdquo Agrawal said. He has cooked for a lot of people and is a frequenter of such food festivals where he can expose the public from different regions of India to his heritage cuisine.
Address Landour Bazaar, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand