Pahadi Gahat/ Kulath Ki Dal Phanu/

February 1, 2020mayurisjikoni
Blog post



Where is Uttarakhand?

Known as the Land of Gods, Uttarakhand is situated in North India. Uttara is northern and khand is region, therefore the northern region. Separated from Uttar Pradesh in 2000, its an amalgamation of  13 hilly districts of Northern India. In fact, this scenic state is has various outdoor activities, many religious shrines, abundant in wildlife and home to the Valley of Flowers. Uttarakhand is divided into two regions Kumoan and Garhwal. Its neighbors are China (Tibet) in the north, Nepal to the East, Himachal Pradesh to the North West and Uttar Pradesh to the south.

Some interesting facts about Uttarakhand

  • The ancient language Sanskrit is its official language
  • Known as DeviBhoomi or Land of Gods because of the numerous Hindu religion sites like Rishikesh, Haridwar, Gangotri, Yamnotri,Kedarnath, Badrinath.
  • Its the source of the two most sacred rivers, the Ganges and Yamuna.
  • The state flower is Brahma Kamal. Its white in colour and its believed that Lord Brahma holds the white lotus in his hand.
  • Rishikesh is believed to be the yoga capital of the world.
  •  Lakshman Jhoola, the swaying bridge is in Uttarakhand. Its believed that where the bridge exists, is the place that Lakshman crossed the Ganges using a jute rope.
  • Have you heard of the Chipko Movement? Uttarakhand has the most forest coverage compared to all the other states of India. This movement took place in 1970s when women hugged the trees to prevent them from being cut down.
  •  Home to the oldest national park, Jim Corbett National Park, which was founded to preserve the famous Bengal Tigers.
  •  Tungnath Temple in Uttarakhand is believed to be the highest Shiv Temple in the world, it is about 1000 years old.
  •  Second highest peak of India, Nanda Devi is in Uttarakhand.


Uttarakhand/Pahadi Cuisine

It mainly consists of two kinds of  cuisine, either Kumaoni or Garhwali. The basic dishes from Uttarakhand are simple and yet very flavorful and nutritious. Also famously known as pahadi (Pahari) food, many of the dishes are prepared over wood fire or charcoal fire making it taste so different. This is one place where vegetarians will find an abundant choice of dishes. Wheat, Ragi and Barnyard millet are staples.

  • One of the very few states where you will find bhang chutney, usually made from hemp seeds, coriander, mint, chili and salt.
  • Phanu – a famous Garhwal dish where lentils like moong, horse gram, Urad(black gram) or Green grams are coarsely ground and cooked to a creamy and thick consistency.
  • Kafuli – a thick creamy preparation of a mixture of fresh greens.
  • Kandalee ka saag –  a preparation made using crushed bicchu ghaas, or stinging nettle.
  • Chainsoo – a thick dal or curry made from black grams (urad) using ginger and garlic. Here the lentils are ground without soaking.
  • Kumaoni Raita – a yogurt based side dish prepared using cucumber, turmeric, fenugreek.
  • Dubke – made from bhat(a local variety of soya beans), where the beans and a small quantity of rice are soaked overnight. Next day its ground into a paste and cooked with simple ingredients like salt, asafetida, chilis, ginger and sometimes garlic.
  • Aalu ka jhol – a simple potato, tomato and onion curry.
  • Aalu Gutook – a kumaoni dish made using potatoes, red chilis and coriander powder.
  • Baadi, a porridge like dish made from buckwheat flour and its usually enjoyed with phanu.
  • Rus/ Thhatwani – several lentils are cooked in water. Its then strained. Lentils are served separately and some rice flour is added to the stock, cooked with simple spices and the watery curry is served with rice.
  • Arsa – a sweet ball made from jaggery and rice flour. Served either with tea or as a dessert.
  • Singodi is a kumaoni sweet where condensed milk or khoya is flavoured with coconut and cardamom and wrapped in an aromatic maalu leaf.
  • Jhangora ka kheer – pudding made from barnyard millet.
  • Gulgula, famous Garhwal sweet made form wheat flour, jaggery and spices. These fried balls are served as dessert or enjoyed any time of the day.

Jhangora/Little Millet/Sama/Barnyard Millet/Moriyo

It’s the first time I’m trying out a dish from Uttarakhand. By not checking out this cuisine before, I’ve missed out on tasting such a wide variety of vegetarian dishes. Oh well, never too late. In the meantime, I would like to share some recipes where I’ve used jhangora (sama, barnyard millet) to prepare some really easy and delicious dishes. I love making Samo/Moriyo Kheer. Moriyo or Sama khichdi is really healthy and filling. Farali Uttapams are healthy and can be made when one is fasting or when you want to include millet in your diet.

My Partner:

My partner Priya who blogs at The Girl Next Door, asked me to think through what I’d like to make as it was like swimming in unknown waters. As I’d never tried out any dish using horse gram I wanted to use this power packed lentils. Priya suggested I use horse gram and cumin seeds. I suggested that she uses Red chilis and coriander powder to make her dish. She came up with the famous Aalu Gutook/ Aloo ke Gutke recipe. Besides this recipe, I urge you to check out her Thai Pineapple Salad made using Sriracha and soya sauce with honey.

A bit about the group:

Shhh Cooking Secretly group took a virtual to, soya ur to Uttar Pradesh during the month of December. This group is where members get together to cook a dish on the decided theme. We are paired up and give each other two secret ingredients to cook with. The group  started by Priya of Priya’s Versatile Recipes is an interesting way to know other food bloggers and try out dishes beyond one’s comfort zone.Other members have to then guess the two secret ingredients till we share the recipe link. Its a fun group and along the way have made some good friends.


About the Gahat/Kulath Dal Phanu

Gahat or Kulath is the pahadi name for horse gram. Not a widely used bean it is packed with plant protein and is very  helpful when dieting as it suppresses the hunger hormone, ghrelin. However, its widely used in Uttarakhand, From what I understand phanu is when the lentil is ground coarsely before cooking. Soaked overnight, traditionally it is ground using a sil bhatta (grinding stone) to a coarse paste and then cooked over slow fire till done. Gahat or Kulath Dal is can be cooked whole too, without grinding. The resulting curry is thick and creamy. Its usually enjoyed with roti, rice, baadi or ragi roti.

Dietary Tips:

  • Vegan
  • For gluten free version avoid adding asafetida
  • For a Satvik friendly phanu, avoid adding onion and garlic

phanu 1

phanu 5

phanu 3

phanu 4


1 cup horse gram (gahat, kulath)

4-5 cups water

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 tsp ginger paste

1 tsp chilli paste or use 1-2 green chilis finely chopped

1 tsp garlic paste

¼ tsp asafetida (optional)

¼ cup fresh tomato puree

1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)

1 tsp coriander powder

1-1½ tsp salt

1 tbsp mustard oil

1-2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

  1. Soak the horse gram in enough warm water overnight.
  2. Next day drain out the water and rinse the beans twice or thrice.
  3. Drain out the water, grind the beans into a coarse paste in a food processor.
  4. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.
  5. Add cumin seeds.
  6. As soon as the seeds begin to sizzle, add asafetida and chopped onion.
  7. Stir fry the onion till it becomes soft.
  8. Add garlic, ginger and green chilis.
  9. Add tomato puree, salt, coriander powder and turmeric powder.
  10. Stir well and cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes.
  11. Add the coarse horse gram paste.
  12. Add water and mix well.
  13. Cover the pan and let the phanu simmer over low heat for 20-30 minutes or till the horse gram is cooked and soft.
  14. Add chopped  fresh coriander and serve this creamy and thick phanu with cooked jhangora (barnyard millet), rice or mandua ki roti (pahadi ragi roti).


  • Add chili according to your taste
  • If you don’t have tomato puree, then chop 2 tomatoes finely and stir fry with the onion till it becomes soft. Mash lightly before you add the horse gram paste.

Pin for later:


A little request:

If you do try this recipe then please either

  • add a comment below,
  • send a picture to my email
  •  tag me as #mayuri_jikoni on Instagram
  • or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962


  • Renu Agrawal Dongre

    February 3, 2020 at 8:52 pm

    I made a dal from this, but did not grind it. I can see in your pic that grinding the dal is adding so much texture and also it is adding to the creaminess of the dish. Would try in this way next time

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 3, 2020 at 8:54 pm

      Renu it took longer to cook but the overall texture was wonderful. Please try it. Perhaps you could let it cook in the pressure cooker, may take a shorter time.

  • poonampagar

    February 4, 2020 at 5:50 am

    In chainsoo we cook roasted ground black gram without soaking it. I am loving the texture of this horsegram dal. Going to try out this recipe soon. Thanks for the wonderful share.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 5, 2020 at 2:32 pm

      Thanks Poonam and you’re welcome.

  • The Girl Next Door

    February 4, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    This looks so rustic, wholesome and delicious! So very nutritious too, with the goodness of horse gram. I could have a bowl of this on its own.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 5, 2020 at 2:28 pm

      Thanks Priya, its a wonderful way to enjoy the health benefits of horse gram.

  • amrita roy

    February 7, 2020 at 8:34 am

    So many regional dishes in India definitely makes our cuisine rich.. Sometimes I wonder our country has so many dal recipes and each of them are just awesome… love this dal made from horse gram

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 7, 2020 at 8:02 pm

      Thank you so much Amrita, I am sure if we all did a research, we would definitely get 365 variations of dal just from all the states of India.

  • Priya Vj

    February 7, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    Very flavorful recipe and really loved the writeup on uttarakand and its regional speciality 🙂

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 7, 2020 at 7:59 pm

      Thank you so much Priya.

  • namscorner18

    February 11, 2020 at 11:05 pm

    So flavorful, healthy and nutritious dal with horse gram. Looks so delicious. Loved reading your detailed write about the uttarakhand cuisine

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 18, 2020 at 7:57 pm

      Thank you so much Narmadha.

  • Vasusvegkitchen

    February 15, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    Pahadi gahat looks super delicious di, it looks very rich with its creamy texture. My family liked this energetic recipe, loved your version by adding tomato puree, superb👌

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 17, 2020 at 10:47 pm

      Thank you so much Aruna. I would love to try the dal without the tomatoes.

    2. Batter Up With Sujata

      February 18, 2020 at 3:30 pm

      Cooking process of Uttarakhand is totally different. Grinding soaked horsegram definitely made it more delicious. This gahat ki dal looks so creamy flavorful and tasty. Never used horsegram but now I have to try it once.

      1. mayurisjikoni

        February 18, 2020 at 7:48 pm

        Thank you so much Sujata, try using horse gram, its so healthy and tasty.

  • shobhakeshwani

    February 16, 2020 at 3:21 am

    Pahadi preparations are really different and delicious. lovely post

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 17, 2020 at 10:46 pm

      Thank you so much Shobha.

  • MJ

    February 16, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    This looks delicious and reminds me of a rich and creamy dall like dall makhani. This is a new dall for me. I like the idea of soaking it and then blending it before cooking.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 17, 2020 at 10:46 pm

      Thank you so much Mina, try horse gram if you get it, its really healthy and yes its creamy without any addition of butter or cream.

  • FoodTrails

    February 17, 2020 at 7:56 am

    Gahat ki Dal has a rustic taste, my mom used to make it, in whole form. I don’t make it at my place it since a long time as hubby didn’t like the taste of this dal . I love the your way of grinding this soaked dal and then cooking it.. will try this way.. sounds so flavorful and love the texture!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 17, 2020 at 10:45 pm

      Thank you so much Swaty, we loved the simple flavors and the creamy texture of this dal.

  • Jolly

    February 17, 2020 at 11:52 pm

    One of my favourite dal. I used to make it in a whole form with onion tomato based tadka with some spices. I loved this style too of grinding the soaked dal. Sounds easy yet delicious and healthy!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 18, 2020 at 7:52 pm

      Thank you so much Jolly, try this version, you’ll like it.

  • Mireille Roc (@ChefMireille)

    February 18, 2020 at 4:17 am

    So interesting to learn so much about Uttarkhand, You are inspiring me to visit this state on my next trip to India. Dal also looks so delicious!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 18, 2020 at 7:50 pm

      Thank you so much Mireille.

  • Archana

    March 9, 2021 at 7:10 am

    Pahadi Gahat ki dal is so very yum. I loved it and I love the fact that you have ground the dal. Sound like a yum dal to eat.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 9, 2021 at 12:59 pm

      Thank you so much Archana. It is a tasty and different dal or curry, try it.

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