The Land of the High Passes, Ladakh is an unproductive yet fascinating place located in the northern part of India, Jammu and Kashmir. It shares its border with Tibet to the east, Kashmir Valley to the west and Spiti & Lahaul to the south.
The rough terrain, the hassle of being rough, the natural beauty, and the majestic mountains have made Ladakh an adventurous place to visit. However, its rustic and natural magnificence has been retained for lack of modernity. Ladakh is home to various communities, but mainly Tibetan Buddhists have been living here for a long time, while Indo-Aryan and Shia Muslims are also part of the region.
The high number of Tibetans in Ladakh does not mean that the popular dishes are only noodle soup and momos. Having said this, Ladakh’s cuisine is a blend of Chinese, Tibetan, Korean and Continental dishes. Keep reading to know the traditional yet famous food of Ladakh that you can indulge in while exploring this mesmerizing place.
List of Ladakh’s Popular Traditional Food
Thukpa is often known as the staple food of the Leh, India. It is considered the best lip-smacking food in this region. Those who are fond of noodles should not miss this noodle dish. This noodle soup contains poultry, steamed veggies, pork and beef in the right proportion. The blend of all these ingredients is garnished with spicy chutney to complement the overall savoury taste of this dish.
2. Ladakhi Pulao
Unlike the pulao available in Lucknow and Kashmir, Ladakhi pulao is more subtle in appearance. But, it does not lag in terms of taste and flavours. Ladakhi Pulao is the staple dish of this region as raw white raw material is the main factor in this dish. First, the rice is soaked in aromatic seasonings and then caramelized with onions, carrots, and nuts to give you a sumptuous look and taste. Being a special dish of Ladakh, you cannot find Ladakhi Pulao on the streets or even in famous restaurants. To try this recipe, you’ll need to be invited by the locals.
A pure vegetarian dish made from spinach, saag is quite healthy and simple yet delicious. The primary ingredients of this recipe are Spinach, Red Chillies, Cloves, Garlic and Mustard Oil. It can also be eaten with plain roti or even with rice. This semi-dry food is inseparable from the homes of Ladakh. But, it originated from Kashmir, and now it has gained popularity all over India including Ladakh.
Tingmo, well defined as Teemo, is a famous vegetarian meal, which can be eaten any time of the day. It is a delicious vegetable stew, which can be eaten either as a dish or as a breakfast food. The key ingredient of this recipe is vegetables served with pieces of fermented bread. However, it is a purely vegetarian dish depending on the main ingredients which are vegetable stew should be pleasant, spicy and sour. Bread is made from white flour, which is quite different from loaf or roti.
5. Kulcha Bun
The kulcha bun is very different from the kulcha, which we see in the street food category. It is a unique dish eaten with Kahwa or Butter Tea. Being a popular item among the people, visitors & foreigners are crazy about this food. If you are looking for delicious Ladakh cuisines, you must try this recipe.
Phirni is a delicious dessert served instead of Kheer in Ladakh. It is served in a pot made of clay, which is known as Kulhad in India. This dish will enhance its taste even more. Phirni originates from Iran, where it is called rice pudding. In India, phirni consists of milk, steamed rice, vermicelli and sugar. In addition, it contains dried fruits like almonds and pistachios.
Loved by the locals of Leh Ladakh, Khambir is an ancient yet traditional dish. This brown-coloured bread gives you a thick crust when baked in a pan. It can be eaten with butter tea by mixing the taste of butter and salt. The combination of butter tea and loaf khambir enhances your taste buds making you want to eat it again and again.
Skewera is another dumpling soup, a speciality of the locals of Ladakh. It is very similar to chutagi but looks like thumb-sized rotis. With the essence of all the multiple veggies put into the soup becomes more delicious.
Momo is the most loved snack not only in Ladakh but all across the country. They are stuffed dumplings steamed in a vessel called a Mokto. The container or pan contains water at the bottom of the vessel, and the other three vessels at the top have holes for steam to cook the stuffing thoroughly.
The mixed culture and food diversity show that people living in Ladakh love to eat savoury as well as spicy food the most.