The day-to-day food of HIMACHALIS is very similar to that of the rest of north India. They too have Lentils, rice, vegetables and bread. As compared to other states in north India non-vegetarian cuisine is preferred in Himachal. In upper areas, Himachali cuisine is dominated by mutton with bread or rice and wine. Thick and rich gravy, with aromatic spices, is used in abundance as the base of many dishes. There are some traditional dishes which can be said to be the speciality of Himachali food.
Here is the list of some of the dishes.
DHAM, the name is enough for a Himachali. It is a mid day meal served at the occasions of marriages, birthday parties, retirement and all religious occasions like JAATARA. Dham comprises of many mouth watering recipes. It is prepared by BOTIS a caste of Brahmins. Brass utensils which are called Charoti or Baltoi are used to cook Dham. DHAM is served in plates called PATTAL which are made up of special types of leaves. In DHAM different pulses and sweet dishes are made. There are different flavors of Dham viz Mandyali Dam, Kangri Dham, Hamirpuri Dham are most famous in Himachal. DHAM starts with serving of plain rice and then MEETHA, ALOO RAJMA DUM, SEPU BADI, MATAR PANEER, CHANA MADRA, CHICKPEA, AURIA KADDU or KADDU KA KHATTA,URAD KI DAL and CURRY.
DHAM either starts with or ends with MEETHA. In some district like mandi MEETHA is served in the beginning of DHAM, and in some districts MEETHA or MEETHA BHAT is served at the end of DHAM. MEETHA BHAAT(rice) in Kangra and Hamirpur. MEETHA BHAT is prepared with red rice and cashew nuts. MEETHA is prepared in different ways and ingredients. KADDU KA MEETHA is prepared from pumpkin. Other forms are BADANA KA MEETHA, KHOYE ka MEETHA. ALOO DUM-Aloo dum is prepared with RAJMA and POTATO. KADDU KA KHATTA is prepared by PUMPKIN, JAGGERY and tamarind. SEPU BADDI is one special dish of Mandyali Dham.
(2) CHANA MADRA
Chana Madra is one such dish made with kabuli chane or white chickpeas cooked in the gravy seasoned with assorted spices, ginger, garlic and onions. Madra is a form of yoghurt and chickpea flour based gravy popular in HIMACHALI CUISINE.
Babru is prepared by wheat flour, sugar, oil and yeast. Its preparation starts a night before. Flour dough is prepared by adding sugar to taste and yeast and and kept for few hours. Then it is fried in the oil.
SIDDU is a kind of bread made from wheat flour. It is kneaded with yeast and the dough is allowed to rise for 4-5 hours. Sidu dough is yeast-based, it has to be prepared a couple of hours before you need it. A special Masala is prepared for stuffing. The process of making Siddu is similar to that of Momos. It is normally eaten with ghee (clarified butter), dal (lentil broth) or with hari chutney.
These are made up of ARBI leaves. These can be eaten with paranthas or chapatis or you can also have this recipe in the form of snack in the evening or in the morning with tea.
(6) CHAA GOSHT
Chha Gosht is a rich meat curry made with marinated lamb, gram flour, yoghurt and spices like cardamom, coriander, bay leaf and ginger.
(7) TROUT FISH
This fish delicacy is a much-loved dish of the Kullu region and Barot in Mandi. Trout fish is marinated with subtle spices to bring out the natural flavours and then shallow fried in mustard oil.
(8) AATE KE CHEELE OR CHILDU
AATE KA CHEELA or SWEET CHEELA is prepared with wheat flour, gur or sugar and ghee. These are also called as North Indian DOSA.
KACHORI is a very famous dish of Mandi. The KACHORI of Mandi is bigger than the Rajasthani KACHORI. The taste of the two is also quite different. The big kachori made from refined wheat flour, red chillies and urad dal (black gram) is served with mixed pickles to enhance the taste.
(10) ALOO PALDA:
Aloo palda is made with potato cooked in yoghurt. Pahari Aloo Palda is slightly sweet with a bit of sourness in it. Palda is a common recipe in the Pahari cuisine.
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