Let the hills come to you: Flavours of Himalayas are making its way into premium menus of Bengaluru
Chefs are bringing down recipes from the remotest parts of Leh, Nepal and Tibet for the fine-dine tables.
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The flavour of the spiritual hills and pine-clad valleys is now making its way into the premium menus of Bengaluru. Chefs are bringing down more recipes from the remotest parts of Darjeeling, Uttarakhand, Leh, Nepal and Tibet for the fine-dine tables.
The greens of Kumaon hills from Uttarakhand have made it to the posh menu of resto-bar Bombay Brasserie. It is served with traditional mandua roti made using millets with jaggery and homemade butter as accompaniments, just how it is eaten in Kumaon.
Experts say that the Himalayan region is home to several ethnic groups that speak more than 35 languages. The food is as varied and unique. This prompted restaurateur Rahul Khanna to curate a dedicated Himalayan food festival at Foxtrot in Koramangala. The hill-inspired menu is dotted with staples like Thukpa (Tibetan noodle soup), Ghale-style momos (Nepal), Tingmo (Tibetan steamed bread), and Ema Datshi (Bhutanese stew).
“It was time to revive the cuisines from the North-east Indian belt, take it beyond the token momo and give it a newfound respect,” says Khanna, adding, “We asked our crew of chefs from Nepal and North-East to simply make their home food in our kitchen. The head chefs helped with the tweaking and plating to suit the young and curious minds of Bengaluru’s millennials.”
Even Iranian eatery SodaBottleOpenerWala is frequently using ingredients from the Himalayas. It is currently using sea buckthorn or sour wild berry from Leh in its chaats. In the past, it incorporated the Himalayan trout fish in a festival menu. “Focus is on to explore and put the spotlight on indigenous ingredients now,” says country head-cuisine Mohit Balachandran.
To give competition to routine Andhra and North Indian thaalis, Himalayan eatery Utse on Commercial Street is serving Tibetan thaali with fried meat pie and glass noodle curry and an Everest thaali with black dal, meat curry, rice and veggies from the region. Owned by Tibetan native Dechen Dolkar and her husband Sujith Belliyappa, the eatery sources some of its masalas and traditional kitchen equipment from Nepal.
“When we opened the restaurant two years ago, we catered to the huge population of Himalayan natives in Bengaluru. Online platforms spread the word and today we even receive locals and students from other states too,” says Belliyappa.
Foodies of Bengaluru have taken to the Himalayan hospitality as it has given them a new genre to navigate and explore. Pratheek Ponnappa, a consultant with Capgemini, has been indulging in hill delicacies like Ladakhi Thenktuk (chicken broth bowl meal with flat noodles) and elaborate thaalis at Utse and Yak’s Kitchen. “I can indulge in food from some of the remotest parts of the Himalayas without having to travel to the region,” says Ponnappa.