Cuisine of Himachal Pradesh
The preferred taste in Himachal Pradesh food varies
from region to region. Non-vegetarian food, with a generous dose of
spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and red chillies, is very much
the norm. The average Himachali cuisine churns out all sorts of meat,
lentil and cereal preparations.
¤ Simple Eating Habits
However there may be local variations. For instance, in the barren
regions of Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti, there is more emphasis on
locally-grown coarse grains like buckwheat, millet and barley. In
areas with a pastoral tradition, milk and its products are liberally
used in cooking. Himachalis are not particularly fond of vegetarian
fare and till recently tubers like potatoes and turnips were all they
ate in the name of vegetables. Green vegetables, however, are
increasingly finding their way into Himachali food.
the everyday meal is the usual dal-chawal-subzi-roti (the common
north Indian meal of rice, lentil broth, dish of vegetables and
bread), special dishes are cooked during festive occasions.
¤ Famous Himachali Food
Famous Sidu 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. With a
stuffing of fat it is first browned over a slow fire and then steamed.
Sidu is normally eaten with ghee (clarified butter), dal (lentil
broth) or mutton. In many parts of the state, ankalos made of rice
flour are a festive dish. In the dry Lahaul-Spiti valley, the leaves
of buckwheat are mixed with wheat flour and made into cakes called
aktori. Patande (a sort of pancake) is a specialty in the Sirmaur
¤ The dham - A Famous Traditional Festive Meal
Dham is cooked only by botis (a particular caste of Brahmins who are
hereditary chefs). Preparations for this elaborate mid-day meal begins
the night before. It is served in courses on epattalsi or leaf
plates. In the Chamba region, the typical menu for a dham would start
with rice, moong dal (green lentil broth) and a madrah of rajma (red
kidney beans) cooked in yoghurt. This is followed by boor ki kari
and a dark lentil (mash dal). Topped by khatta (sweet and sour sauce)
made of tamarind and gur (jaggery), the dham ends with the mittha
(dessert) sweet rice, liberally mixed with raisins and dry
¤ Himachal Hospitality
Himachalis are most hospitable, and inviting an acquaintance
(this could be someone theyve just met!) home is a way of life.
The host will then offer whatever food there is in the house, for they
believe that a guest should not leave without eating. In case you have
no time for it or turn down the offer for some reason, you will find
something being stuffed into your bag be it just green apples!