Taste of Himachal - A platter of delicacies from the hills

Different parts of Himachal has different cuisines and it varies according to the weather & other factors like agricultural status, communities, population density etc. During normal days dal-chawal, roti-sabzi, curd & other mild products are used in meals. But special preparations are done during festivals or special occasions. The whole setup of having specialize cooks making selected food items is called Dham. Dham of Mandi is different than what you get in Kangra. This Photo Journey shares more about Himachali Dham and various aspects associated with it. As a traveller you should find out opportunities to experience Himachali Dham. This post will also share some tips for that :).  Like other Indian states, Himachal Pradesh also has it's own cuisines and some of them are popular in some parts of the state. I am not a foodie but thought of compiling this list of popular Himachali Cuisine enjoyed. I have also tried to add some links to recipes shared by experts.   Dham धाम is most popular Himachali cuisine and it's not a single dish but an array of dishes prepared in very special way. Dham preparation varies from one region to another. Like dishes served in Kangra Dham are different than what you experience in Mandi Dham. Do click on the link to know more about Dham - what is dham, when it's prepared, who prepares and how it's served etc. No celebration is Himachal is complete without Dham.  Sepu Badi सेपु बड़ी is made up of Mah daal. Mah dal is kept in water overnight and paste is made in grinder. Cuboids of this paste are fried. Now these fried pieces can also be kept for few weeks. And then fried in coriander, onion, garlic, tomatoes to make delicious gravy. Sepu Badi is one of the popular dish in Mandi Dham as well.   Rehru रेहरु - Himachalis make their own kind of Kadhi. Rehru is form of Kadhi which is made quick and with fresh lassi. It's so simple to make Rehru. A quick Tadka of coriander with pinch of salt & turmeric. Since most of the houses have easy access to Lassi, Rehru is common side dish in Himachal. कचालू कड़ी is another form of Kadhi which is popular in Himachal. It's also called Khairu.  Aloo Palda आलू पलदा - Potatoes with thick gravy of curd. In my childhood, I was never able to differentiate between Kadhi and Aoo ka Palda. Because most of the time Kadhi was also made using curd and hence very thick. But gradually I learned the difference. It's very yummy dish and you may want to check it's recipe here.   Jhol झोल - Like famous rice-curd from south, Jhol is rice cooked in buttermilk. Rice is simply put into buttermilk and boiled. At times salt is also added before boiling while some enjoy adding salt while serving. It seems that people used to enjoy Jhol with sendha namak in early days.   Mittha मिट्ठा - As the name itself says it's sweet dish which served at the beginning of a meal. In some parts of Himachal it's served at the end of a meal. Mittha is made up of various things but Pumpkin Mittha ( कददू मिट्ठा  )  and  Badana Mittha are most popular. Sweet Fennel, small pieces of coconut and Raisins are also added. Mittha is not made everyday but on special occasions and if there are guests at home.  Sidu सिड्डू - It's a kind of bread which is made by wheat flour.  This is usually served with ghee or dal. More about Sidu and it's recipe can be checked here.  Babru बबरू - Babru is usually cooked on auspicious occasions and the process of making Babru is very interesting. Wheat flour is fermented and then fried in oil. They are soft and sweet. Babrus are packed & sent to relatives when you have a function at home and want to invite your loved ones. Gradually readymade sweets replaced this tradition but still it's followed in small villages. Babroos are also made to celebrate birthdays. My Grandmother makes Babru on my birthday. Before distributing to all families in the village, a few are served to God.  Chana Madra चना मद्रा - Madra is thick gravy and rich in ghee. There are different types of Madras made in Himachal Pradesh but Chana Madra is one of the most popular. Chana Madra is specially included in Kangra Dham. When I searched, I came across this brilliant post which shares the recipe of Chana Madra - Check out  Kadoo ka Khatta कदू का खट्टा - Since Pumpkin is found in abundance and can be stored for a longer period of time, it's used in lot of Himachal Dishes and the most popular is कदू का खट्टा.  Daal Maah दाल माह (काली दाल ) - Black Lentils or Mah dal is favorite dal of Himachalis. And it's one of the important dishes served in Dham. It's usually spicy and thick. I see some relation of Kali Dal and Dal Makhani, as both Punjab & Himachal are adjacent states. In fact, some part of Himachal was earlier in Punjab.   Ainklee or Patande पटांडे - It's a bread made up on rice flour. Looks more like Dosa but since ingredient is different it's taste if very different. Usually consumed with sweet milk or Mah daal. And Desi ghee in Mah dal is preferred when you want to enjoy Ainklee. It's made in most of the house on Diali Night. Ainklee is also made on some special occasions at home.  Tudkya Bhaat तुडकिरा भत्त It's basically fried rice. Many times remaining veggies are fried in rice. This is a very generic term used and ingredients vary from one part to other. Usually Tudkya Bhaat is also made from left-over food from Dham.   Rahra Chicken राहरा - Although mutton is popular non-veg dish in Himachal but when Chicken is preferred over mutton, Rahra Checken is made.   Malpua मालपुआ Malpua is quite popular in other states of India. It's sweet dish made up of wheat flour/maida and dipped in sugar syrup.   Daal ke bhalle दाल के भल्ले  Kachalu Kadi कचालू कड़ी - Colocasia roots ( अरबी  ) is called कचालू in Himachal. If you are aware of Kadhi Pakoda, this form of Kadhi has fried कचालू instead of pakoras. This is usually served with मक्की की रोटी ( Corn Bread) and usually preferred in winters, but it's not that कचालू कड़ी is not made in other seasons.  Ghandyali da Khatta गण्डयालि खट्टा  Auriyali Moong dal औरियाली मूंग दाल - Kashundi ( Mustard seed ) is known as 'ओरी ' in Himachal. And moong dal is made with Kashundi. This is usually part of Dham, but also made as regular meal at home. Usually it's खट्टी dal.   While compiling this post, I realized that writing about food and recipes is difficult to explain in English as compared to Hindi. Probably I need to read more food blogs and the recipes shared on these blogs.   If you have ever tasted any of these Himachali Cuisines, do share your inputs and I would appreciate if you can share photographs. And do feel free to mention in comments if I missed anything which is specific to Himachal Pradesh.

Like other Indian states, Himachal Pradesh also has it's own cuisines and some of them are popular in some parts of the state. I am not a foodie but thought of compiling this list of popular Himachali Cuisine enjoyed. I have also tried to add some links to recipes shared by experts. 




Dham धाम is most popular Himachali cuisine and it's not a single dish but an array of dishes prepared in very special way. Dham preparation varies from one region to another. Like dishes served in Kangra Dham are different than what you experience in Mandi Dham. Do click on the link to know more about Dham - what is dham, when it's prepared, who prepares and how it's served etc. No celebration is Himachal is complete without Dham.



Sepu Badi सेपु बड़ी is made up of Mah daal. Mah dal is kept in water overnight and paste is made in grinder. Cuboids of this paste are fried. Now these fried pieces can also be kept for few weeks. And then fried in coriander, onion, garlic, tomatoes to make delicious gravy. Sepu Badi is one of the popular dish in Mandi Dham as well. 


Rehru रेहरु - Himachalis make their own kind of Kadhi. Rehru is form of Kadhi which is made quick and with fresh lassi. It's so simple to make Rehru. A quick Tadka of coriander with pinch of salt & turmeric. Since most of the houses have easy access to Lassi, Rehru is common side dish in Himachal. कचालू कड़ी is another form of Kadhi which is popular in Himachal. It's also called Khairu.

Aloo Palda आलू पलदा - Potatoes with thick gravy of curd. In my childhood, I was never able to differentiate between Kadhi and Aoo ka Palda. Because most of the time Kadhi was also made using curd and hence very thick. But gradually I learned the difference. It's very yummy dish and you may want to check it's recipe here

Jhol झोल - Like famous rice-curd from south, Jhol is rice cooked in buttermilk. Rice is simply put into buttermilk and boiled. At times salt is also added before boiling while some enjoy adding salt while serving. It seems that people used to enjoy Jhol with sendha namak in early days. 

Mittha मिट्ठा - As the name itself says it's sweet dish which served at the beginning of a meal. In some parts of Himachal it's served at the end of a meal. Mittha is made up of various things but Pumpkin Mittha ( कददू मिट्ठा  )  and  Badana Mittha are most popular. Sweet Fennel, small pieces of coconut and Raisins are also added. Mittha is not made everyday but on special occasions and if there are guests at home.



Sidu सिड्डू - It's a kind of bread which is made by wheat flour.  This is usually served with ghee or dal. More about Sidu and it's recipe can be checked here.



Babru बबरू - Babru is usually cooked on auspicious occasions and the process of making Babru is very interesting. Wheat flour is fermented and then fried in oil. They are soft and sweet. Babrus are packed & sent to relatives when you have a function at home and want to invite your loved ones. Gradually readymade sweets replaced this tradition but still it's followed in small villages. Babroos are also made to celebrate birthdays. My Grandmother makes Babru on my birthday. Before distributing to all families in the village, a few are served to God.

Days like these I feel proud. When someone makes a dish from #indiaonmyplatter and this is the result.. #Repost @d.srujan ・・・ Himachali Chana Madra ( or Madhara ?) and Fulkas for dinner! Madra is a curry made out of legumes ( usually Chana, Rajma or Urad Daal ) with curd / yogurt as the base and fresh spice mix out of cloves, cinnamon, pepper and cardamom fried in mustard oil. It is a refreshing change from Chana Masala and Chhole version of Chickpea curry because it is a No Onion No Garlic No Tomato gravy. The recipe is adapted based on Maah ka Madra from @saranshgoila 's book #IndiaOnMyPlatter . The only change I have made it replacing Urad Daal with Kabuli Chana / chickpeas. Saransh, the curry is so fragrant, my whole kitchen smelled of freshly ground spices after making it. Thanks a lot for the recipe! ☺☺ And finally, I think managed to learn how to cook with mustard oil, so it was another Yay of the Day! Ingredients: 1/2 cup of dried chickpeas, soaked in water for about 6-8 hours, yielding about 1 cup finally, 1 black cardamom or 3-4 green cardamom, shelled / seeds removed 3 cloves, 3-4 peppercorns, 1/2 inch piece of cinnamon, 1 tbsp of rice flour, mixed with 1/4th cup of water 2 tbsp mustard oil, 1 tsp cumin seeds, pinch of asafetida (hing), optional, 1/2 tsp coriander powder 1/4th tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp chilli powderSalt, to taste 3/4th cup thick curd / greek yogurt, beaten, coriander leaves, for garnish Method continued in the comment below. Clickable link to the recipe available in the profile. #madra #madhara #chanamadra #chickpea #yogurtbasedgravies #himachalicuisine #indiancurries #vegetariancooking #indiancuisine #whatsfordinner #whatsonmyplate #vscocam #vscofood #whatvegetarianseat #himachalifood #sadakchef #pahadikhana #pahadicuisine #kumaonicuisine #unusualcurries #unusualsabzis
A photo posted by Saransh Goila (@saranshgoila) on
Chana Madra चना मद्रा - Madra is thick gravy and rich in ghee. There are different types of Madras made in Himachal Pradesh but Chana Madra is one of the most popular. Chana Madra is specially included in Kangra Dham. When I searched, I came across this brilliant post which shares the recipe of Chana Madra - Check out

Kadoo ka Khatta कदू का खट्टा - Since Pumpkin is found in abundance and can be stored for a longer period of time, it's used in lot of Himachal Dishes and the most popular is कदू का खट्टा.

Daal Maah दाल माह (काली दाल ) - Black Lentils or Mah dal is favorite dal of Himachalis. And it's one of the important dishes served in Dham. It's usually spicy and thick. I see some relation of Kali Dal and Dal Makhani, as both Punjab & Himachal are adjacent states. In fact, some part of Himachal was earlier in Punjab. 

Ainklee or Patande पटांडे - It's a bread made up on rice flour. Looks more like Dosa but since ingredient is different it's taste if very different. Usually consumed with sweet milk or Mah daal. And Desi ghee in Mah dal is preferred when you want to enjoy Ainklee. It's made in most of the house on Diali Night. Ainklee is also made on some special occasions at home.

Tudkya Bhaat तुडकिरा भत्त It's basically fried rice. Many times remaining veggies are fried in rice. This is a very generic term used and ingredients vary from one part to other. Usually Tudkya Bhaat is also made from left-over food from Dham. 

Rahra Chicken राहरा - Although mutton is popular non-veg dish in Himachal but when Chicken is preferred over mutton, Rahra Checken is made. 

A photo posted by Vivek Samaiya (@vivek_samaiya) on

Malpua मालपुआ Malpua is quite popular in other states of India. It's sweet dish made up of wheat flour/maida and dipped in sugar syrup. 

Daal ke bhalle दाल के भल्ले - It's very time taking process. Usually urad dal is put into the water for few hours and then make paste of it. Then some spices are mixed in this paste. Bhallas are made in desi ghee and then soaked in salted water. Preparation process varies from one part of Himachal to another. 

Kachalu Kadi कचालू कड़ी - Colocasia roots ( अरबी  ) is called कचालू in Himachal. If you are aware of Kadhi Pakoda, this form of Kadhi has fried कचालू instead of pakoras. This is usually served with मक्की की रोटी ( Corn Bread) and usually preferred in winters, but it's not that कचालू कड़ी is not made in other seasons.

Auriyali Moong dal औरियाली मूंग दाल - Kashundi ( Mustard seed ) is known as 'ओरी ' in Himachal. And moong dal is made with Kashundi. This is usually part of Dham, but also made as regular meal at home. Usually it's खट्टी dal. 



Patode - And how can I miss patode. There are very tasty and usually enjoyed with tea. It's a substitute for pakoras. At times, it's also used as subzi. Some people enjoy patode with jeera chachh. Check out the link to see other alternates and recipe. 

While compiling this post, I realized that writing about food and recipes is difficult to explain in English as compared to Hindi. Probably I need to read more food blogs and the recipes shared on these blogs. 

If you have ever tasted any of these Himachali Cuisines, do share your inputs and I would appreciate if you can share photographs. And do feel free to mention in comments if I missed anything which is specific to Himachal Pradesh. 

---------
If you liked this post and found it helpful, I would request you to follow these things when traveling -


  1. Manage your waste well and don’t litter
  2. Use dustbins. Tell us if you went to a place and found it hard to locate a dustbin.
  3. Avoid bottle waters in hills. Usually you get clean water in hills and water bottles create lot of mess in our ecosystem.
  4. Say big no to plastic and avoid those unhealthy snacks packed in plastic bags. Rather buy fruits.
  5. Don't play loud blaring music in forests of jungle camps. You are a guest in that ecosystem and disturbing the locals (humans and animals) is not polite

7 comments:

Vinod Bhavuk said...

हिमाचिली व्यंजनों पर शोधपरक आलेख, बधाई हो सर

Ami said...

Well captured. Have to try so many of them. Need to head to Himachal now.

Maniparna Sengupta Majumder said...

Very much informative for me. Thanks for sharing. I didn't know a bit about these dishes... :-)

The Untourists said...

Oh I love Himachali food, from Madha to siddu, all of them. Unfortunately you hardly get to taste that outside of Himachal.

ArchanaC Kapoor said...

wow... to be honest I didn't know most of these... India is such a powerhouse man!

Shrikant said...

Thats lots of reading! I really liked cover pic. Each dish will be more tasty to read if accompanied with picture ☺

VJ Sharma said...

This weekend I visited Himachal again and had Seera (a preparation of Wheat grains). I forgot clicking it's pick. The process is really long to prepare raw material. It's considered good to be consumed in summers.

.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...