Himachal Pradesh apart from being blessed with breathtaking natural beauty, is also a tasteful blend of exquisite pahari cuisine that gives any traveller more than just one reason to fall in love with this beautiful mountains dotted state. Himachali or pahari cuisine has a unique aroma and flavour to it due to the usage of a lot of yoghurt and cardamom and cooking on slow flame. One can clearly see that the Himachali dishes have a lot of influence of Punjabi and Tibetan style of food.
The availability of vegetables is a challenge in the hilly and cold terrain of Himachal Pradesh hence, most of the traditional dishes are either non-vegetarian, make use of different types of lentils in them or both. The use of varied spices like chillies, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric and coriander powder is common and make the food rich and spicy; very much to the delight of the tourists that flock to this part of the country almost all year long. The pahari folk also use a lot of dairy products, especially buttermilk, curd and ghee to make their food even more delectable.
There are a lot of restaurants all over Himachal Pradesh which serve authentic pahari food for you to enjoy and imprint on your minds. So, if you are planning to go to the land of the majestic Himalayas for your next vacations, you should definitely give a try to these amazing dishes from Himachal Pradesh.
No festivities of Himachal are considered complete without Dham. It is a dish prepared by the Brahmins of the regions of Chamba by cooking red kidney beans (rajma), green lentils (moong daal) and rice in curd. It is served teamed with mash daal, boor ki kari and sweet and sour sauce made from tamarind and jaggery (gur). It is traditionally served on plates made out of leaves.
Mittha as the name suggests is a local dessert of Himachal Pradesh. It is prepared with sweetened rice mixed with a generous helping of raisins and other dry fruits.
Sidu is a local bread made from wheat flour. The flour is kneaded and set aside for some hours for the yeast to settle and the dough to rise. This dough is put on direct flame of bonfire to be par-cooked and then later steamed to complete the cooking. This distinct bread is usually enjoyed with ghee or butter alone or can be savoured with mutton or daal as well.
Babru is like a Himachali variation of the popular kachoris. It is made by stuffing soaked and ground black gram daal paste to kneaded dough patties. These patties are then rolled and deep fried and served with tamarind chutney.
5. Chana Madra
Madra is a form of yoghurt and chickpea flour based gravy popular in pahar cuisine. Chana Madra is one such dish made with kabuli chane or white chickeas cooked in the gravy seasoned with assorted spices, ginger, garlic and onions.
6. Auriya Kaddoo or Kadoo Ka Khatta
The name itself brings a tangy taste in our mouths. Khatta is indeed a very sumptuous dish made with pumpkin cooked in a spicy and tangy madra gravy and dried raw mango powder or amchoor along with other spices. Other popular vegetable preparations of the region are Sepu Vadi and Gucchi Mattar
7. Chha Gosht
Another of Himachali delicacy, Chha Gosht is a dish that is made with marinated lamb meat cooked in a gravy of gram flour, yoghurt and spices such as cardamom, red chilli powder, coriander powder, bay leaf, asafoetida and ginger-garlic paste.
8. Mash Daal
Mash daal or kali daal is made with split black lentils or ma ki daal. It is soaked overnight, pressure cooked and then simmered in a heavy bottomed pan along with thinly sliced onions, ginger, garlic and spices shallow fried in hot mustard oil to give the comforting mash daal.
A popular breakfast dish of Sirmour district, Patande can rightly be called as Indian pancakes. Ladle full of smooth batter made from wheat flour, milk and sugar are poured on a ghee laden hot griddle and a thin pancakes like those resembling dosa(s) are cooked to make sweet and yummy Patande.
10. Kullu Trout
This fish delicacy made with marinated trout shallow fried in mustard oil with spices is a much loved dish of the Kullu region. Cooked in minimal spices, the dish brings out the natural flavours of the delicious trout.
Akotri is a typical delicacy of the Northern Hills. It is a type of cake made with buckwheat mixed with wheat that is usually prepared on occasions of festivities.
12. Tudkiya Bhath
A type of pulao, Tudkiya Bhath is made with rice cooked with lentils, potatoes, onions, ginger, garlic and yoghurt and spiced with bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, red chilli powder etc. This spicy rice dish is usually served with mash daal.
A unique dish made from the lotus stems, it is truly a scrumptious. The stems are thinly sliced, washed and boiled then stir fried with onion, ginger-garlic paste, gram flour, cayenne pepper and other spices that renders the dish a distinct taste and texture.