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.
Made of wheat flour, Sidu is a type of bread and is a well known local dish of Himachal Pradesh. The preparation of it takes a little longer time than the other dishes as it needs to be molded for about 4 to 5 hours. The flour of wheat is kneaded with the required amount of yeast and this dough gets ready to be cooked in 4 to 5 hours. Once the dough is ready, it is stuffed with fat and then roasted over low fire and lastly, for a few minutes, it is steamed. It is usually eaten with butter, mutton or even with some cooked vegetables. Many of the hotels and restaurants make it the part of their menu as the tourists oftentimes try to explore the local dishes to add some extra colors in their experience.
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.
3. MAASH 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.
5. TROUT FISH:
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.
Patrodu is made from leaves of Arbi (Colocasia), Gram flour and spices. Oblong, flat leaves of Colocasia are picked during monsoon. A thick paste of gram flour, salt, ground turmeric, chopped coriander leaves, cumin, ajwain, chopped green chillis, asafoetida, ground onion, ginger and garlic is prepared with 2 spoons of mustard oil. A single leaf of Colocasia is then placed upside down and this thick paste applied to it in a thin layer. Another leaf is then placed upside down on top of this leaf and the same paste applied to it. Once 4-5 layers of leaves and paste are ready, the leaves are very carefully and tightly rolled from one side to the other making a roll. The roll, if needed, can be tied with a string to keep it together. A few such rolls are then put in a pressure cooker and steamed for sometime. Be careful though, you do not want to over-steam them and eat a mishy-mushy paste of leaves. The steamed rolls are then cooled, nowadays in a fridge but natural cooling does just fine
In Himachal Pradesh, a northern state in India, Taro is known as ghandyali in Mandi district. The dish called patrodu is made from the leaves of the ghandyali. Also in the capital Shimla, using gram flour a pancake style dish is made called patra or patid.