A Culinary Adventure in Ladakh November 13, 2018 – Posted in: Blogs
The snow-capped mountains and the beautiful landscape of Ladakh calls out to your adventurous side, the part of you that craves new experiences and wants to taste everything that life has to offer. While it is true that the cold Ladakhi climate makes hot tea and even the humble yet versatile Maggi a satisfying experience, Ladakhi cuisine offers much more to the culinary adventurer.
Ladakhi cuisine has close ties with Tibetan cuisine. Fresh Vegetables like pumpkins, potatoes beetroots and beans as well as chicken and mutton make up the staple ingredients. Ladakhi cuisine is mostly steamed or boiled.
Momos are a well-travelled and mouth-watering journey but here are some new paths that can take your taste buds for a pleasant ride:-
Butter tea and Khambir
Butter tea is an acquired taste- It is made with butter (traditionally butter made with yak milk) and salt and tea leaves. The consistency of this tea is closer to soup than the liquid that we are so used to sipping. The cold climate makes this drink especially ideal as the butter may help with chapped lips. Butter tea is often served with Khambir, a traditional bread found almost all over Ladakh.
You can find the best butter tea in Hemis Gompa so add the tea to your itinerary to give your taste buds a workout to match your trekking and riding adventures!
A Tibetan dish and a staple food for the locals, trying a locally made thukpa is a must, even if you have had it in commercial restaurants. Thukpa is essentially a soup with noodles, vegetables and meat. You can also add some spice to your thukpa with a chutney of sorts or enjoy a dry thukpa- which is just as tasty without the soup.
Thenthuk in Tibetan literally means pulled noodle. A deceptively simple looking dish that takes a lot of preparation to make, this soup-based dish has flattened noodles instead of the regular ones you are used to. The flat noodles are made from wheat flour and served with well boiled vegetables and meat.
While Yak cheese is a local staple it is best to remember the local name as is it is possible that the locals might not understand what you mean when you excitedly ask for it. This hard cheese is used in various dishes and also makes for a tasty achar. But it can also be eaten on its own like a hard candy. If you are new to this delicacy be warned for it might take you a while to finish it!
A white-coloured wine made by passing hot water through fermented millet, barley or rice grains, Chaang is a delicious Tibetan drink with very less alcoholic content.
Though it is a traditional soup based dish, it has become a part of the daily meals due to the fact that it is much beloved by the people of Leh. Thumb-sixed pieces of wheat flour are cooked in water and served with meat and vegetables. It is a wholesome comfort food and goes great with dumplings and momos.
The region has an abundance of apricots and so you will find a lot of apricot products such as pickles, scrubs, facepacks and squash. Apricot jam is a must try as it is a farm to table product and goes great with Khambir. This fresh goodness is also a great gift for loved ones back home.
Mokthuk is a must try dish for momo lovers. The dish is essentially momos, which can be vegetarian or meat ones, served in warm soup made with vegetables and spices. A total comfort food that will surely leave you feeling warm and satisfied.
These are just a few dishes that we recommend that you try in Ladakh. It is also a great idea to give the small, local bakeries a try and take suggestions from the locals who know the culinary map much better!
Do you have a favourite Ladakhi dish that you think everyone must try at least once? Let us know!
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