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Uniquely Uttaranchali!

Today our meandering culinary journey takes us back to a destination that we have visited several times in the past – the breathtakingly beautiful foothills of the Himalayas… the picturesque state of Uttarakhand, also known as Uttaranchal.

There is a very good reason for which we keep coming back to the hills of Uttarakhand: the amazing food! The simple hill folk who dwell here know how to use cold-pressed Mustard Oil in incredibly creative ways.

The dish we will be making today is a traditional Uttaranchali preparation called Bhatwani. It gets its name from the main ingredient: Pahadi Bhatt Dal (black beans) that grows in abundance in these lush foothills.

Here are the ingredients that you will require.


  1. Black Beans (Bhatt Ki Dal): 200 grams

  2. Garlic (Lasun): 5 cloves

  3. Red Chillies, whole: 5

  4. Mustard Oil: 100 millilitres

  5. Cumin (Jeera) Seeds: 1 teaspoon

  6. Coriander (Dhania) Leaves: 1 tablespoon

  7. Coriander (Dhania) Powder: Half a teaspoon

  8. Red Chilli Powder: Half a teaspoon

  9. Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: Just a pinch

  10. Asafoetida (Heeng): Just a pinch

  11. Garam Masala: Half a teaspoon

  12. Ghee: 1 tablespoon

  13. Black Peppercorns: 4

  14. Salt: to taste

The quantities mentioned above are for preparing four servings. Adjust the quantities proportionately to suit the number of servings that you require.


Heat a tava (griddle) on a Medium flame. Place the black beans on the hot tava and roast for around three minutes or so. When you smell the rich aroma of the roasted beans, turn the flame off. Then coarsely grind the beans and keep aside.

Coarsely chop the coriander leaves.


Heat the Mustard Oil in a pan on a High flame. Wait until the oil reaches its smoking point. When this happens, you will notice streams of white smoke rising from the surface of the hot oil. This is perfectly natural – in fact, it indicates that the Mustard Oil you are using is pure and of good quality. Once the oil reaches its smoking point, turn the flame down to Medium. You are now ready to start cooking.

To the hot oil add the garlic cloves. When the garlic turns light brown in colour add the red chillies; cumin seeds; asafoetida; and black peppercorns. Fry for around 30 seconds.

Next, add the roasted and ground black beans and continue to cook for another two minutes.

Add the coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt to taste. Then add around 750 millilitres of water. Turn the flame up to High and bring the contents of the pan to a boil.

Reduce the flame to Medium. Cover the pan and cook till the ground black beans become soft and create a rich, thick texture with the other ingredients. Then reduce the heat to Low and let the contents of the pan simmer for around 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the garam masala over the top of the pan and give the contents a final stir. Then turn the flame off.

Transfer the contents of the pan to a serving dish. Sprinkle ghee over the top of the dish. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Your traditional Uttaranchali Bhatwani is now ready. Serve it hot. This dish is usually eaten with steaming hot rice.

You can find more recipes at :

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