Bhatwani a Savory Delight of Uttarakhand


Nestled in the lap of the Himalayas, Uttarakhand boasts a rich culinary heritage deeply connected to its mountainous terrain and resilient people. Among its unique dishes is Bhatwani, a flavorful curry made with black soybeans, locally known as “bhatt.”

Bhatt is a staple in the Pahadi (hilly) cuisine of Uttarakhand. Traditionally, people go beyond simply preparing dal with bhatt, instead transforming it into diverse curries like Bhatwani and Dubke.

It’s recipe varies slightly across the state, reflecting the regional culinary nuances of Uttarakhand. However, the core ingredients remain consistent: black bhatt, mustard oil, fragrant spices, and sometimes chopped vegetables.

The Star of the Dish – Black Bhatt

Black bhatt, unlike its more common yellow counterpart, is a unique variety found primarily in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. It’s prized for its distinct earthy flavor and firm texture. Before cooking Bhatwani, the black bhatt is soaked and sometimes even shallow-fried to remove the raw flavor.

Aromatic Spices and the Art of Slow Cooking

The preparation of Bhatwani involves tempering mustard oil with cumin seeds, garlic, and sometimes black pepper. The bhatt is then added and cooked slowly, allowing it to absorb the flavors of the spices. Additional ingredients like tomatoes, onions, or leafy greens may be incorporated depending on the regional variation.

A Hearty and Flavorful Experience

Bhatwani is a dish bursting with flavor and texture. The black bhatt provides a satisfying bite, while the mustard oil lends a pungent aroma. The carefully chosen spices add depth and warmth, creating a truly comforting experience. Bhatwani is traditionally served with rice, making it a complete and wholesome meal.

A Culinary Connection to the Land

Bhatwani is more than just a dish; it’s a culinary expression of the resourcefulness and resilience of the people of Uttarakhand. The use of black bhatt, a locally-grown crop, reflects their deep connection to the land. Bhatwani’s slow-cooking process embodies the patient spirit required to thrive in the mountain environment.

So, if you’re ever exploring the stunning landscapes of Uttarakhand, be sure to seek out Bhatwani. This flavorful dish is not just a delicious meal, but a window into the rich cultural heritage of the Himalayas.

Some other Dishes of Uttarakhand

Kafuli/Kaapa – Kafuli is a winter favorite and is a green delight made with spinach, fenugreek leaves, and a unique gravy using rice or wheat paste. It’s considered the state food of Uttarakhand.

Phaanu – A lentil powerhouse, Phaanu combines various lentils like arhar and gahat into a protein-rich soupy dish, typically enjoyed with rice.

Lagdi – Lagdi is a beloved treat, particularly for children. Its uncomplicated recipe and quick preparation make it a popular choice for a quick energy boost or a satisfying after-school snack.

Kandali Ka Saag – Kandali Ka Saag is a dish that showcases the unique flavor of a local wild vegetable called Kandalee, cooked simply with spices.

Aloo Tamatar Ka Jhol – Aloo Tamatar Ka Jhol is a comforting combination of steamed potatoes and a flavorful tomato gravy, this dish pairs perfectly with rice or bread.

Mandua ki Roti – Mandua ki Roti is made from foxtail millet flour, these rotis are a nutritious and slightly gluten-free option.

Jhangore Ki Kheer – A Jhangore Ki Kheer is a Garhwali specialty, this kheer features jhangora millet slow-cooked with milk and nuts, offering a delightful textural experience.

Gulgule – A Gulgule is a sweet treat made with jaggery, Gulgula is a popular snack throughout North India, including Uttarakhand.

Arsa – Deep-fried rice and jaggery fritters, Arsa is a sweet indulgence often enjoyed during festivals.

FAQs about Bhatwani

What is Bhatwani?

Bhatwani is a flavorful curry from Uttarakhand, India, made with black soybeans (bhatt) and a variety of spices. It’s a hearty and comforting dish, traditionally served with rice.

What are the key ingredients in Bhatwani?

  • Black bhatt (soybeans)
  • Mustard oil
  • Cumin seeds
  • Other spices like turmeric, coriander powder, asafoetida
  • Sometimes, chopped vegetables like tomatoes, onions, or leafy greens

Are there different variations of Bhatwani?

Yes! The beauty of Bhatwani lies in its adaptability. Here are some popular variations:

  • Kumaoni Bhatwani: Simpler version with minimal additions, focusing on the black bhatt flavor.
  • Garhwali Bhatwani: Richer with onions and tomatoes for a base gravy.
  • Spicy Bhatwani: Includes green chilies or red chili powder for a fiery kick.
  • Bhatwani with Vegetables: Adds chopped vegetables for extra texture and nutrients.

Can I make Bhatwani at home?

Absolutely! While finding black bhatt outside Uttarakhand might be tricky, you can substitute with regular black soybeans. Here are some tips:

  • Use high-quality spices.
  • Slow cook the bhatt for optimal texture and flavor absorption.
  • Consider garnishing with coriander leaves or ghee.

What other dishes should I try in Uttarakhand?

Uttarakhand boasts a rich cuisine beyond Bhatwani. Here are some other must-try dishes:

  • Kafuli/Kaapa: Winter favorite with spinach, fenugreek leaves, and a unique rice/wheat paste gravy.
  • Phaanu: Protein-rich lentil soup made with various lentils.
  • Dubuk: Whole black gram simmered in a flavorful broth.
  • Kandalee Ka Saag: Local wild vegetable dish cooked with spices.
  • Aloo Tamatar Ka Jhol: Steamed potatoes with flavorful tomato gravy.
  • Mandua ki Roti: Nutritious rotis made from foxtail millet flour.
  • Jhangora Ki Kheer: Garhwali specialty with jhangora millet slow-cooked in milk and nuts.
  • Gulgula: Sweet treat made with jaggery.
  • Arsa: Deep-fried rice and jaggery fritters, a festive sweet.

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