BHAANG KI CHUTNEY
So, when I went to Delhi for graduation I couldn't help but tell my new friends about our Kumaoni dishes especially BHAANG KI CHUTNEY. Yes, you guessed it right... their jaws dropped! They couldn't even believe that it was allowed to keep 'bhaang' (hemp/ marijuana) in the vicinity of our parents, let alone parents themselves encouraging kids to have its chutney. Their reaction for me has always been hilarious and I used to love fooling around with them, letting them naively believe that our parents casually drugged us. 😂
However, here's the thing. The ingredient actually used to make the chutney is hemp seeds (and not the flowering or fruiting tops of the plant) which is not psychoactive in nature and therefore isn't considered a narcotic. Hence, this dreaded chutney, along with being absolutely safe, is also quite healthy.
To make 'bhaang ki chutney' hemp seeds are first roasted and then grinded along with other ingredients such as mint leaves, lime juice, spices, water and ginger- garlic paste (if preferred) to form a paste like consistency. You can always experiment with the traditional recipe and give it your own unique flavour. For instance, in the chutney displayed here, we've also added some raw mangoes to the recipe to give it that extra tartness.
Like Bhang ki Thandai is a staple all-over India during the festival of Holi, Kumaonis prepare Bhaang ki Chutney with Aaloo ke Gutke (stir fried potatoes) to celebrate the festival in their own unique style.
So on your visit to Kumaon don't forget to surprise your tastebuds with this mouthwatering dish. *Fun fact- Cultivation of hemp is legal in the state of Uttarakhand, provided that it is only sold to the government to be used for industrial purposes!