Complete India Travel Guide

"Visiting Himachal Pradesh and not trying out its cuisine can be a regret later despite the fact that the options are limited. So make sure that you taste the delicious Himachali cuisine that your host serves you during your vacation to the state."
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Stuffed Shimla Mirch,  Himachal Pradesh
Stuffed Shimla Mirch, Himachal Pradesh

Cuisine of Himachal might not be as rich and varied as many other Indian states yet it definitely has a uniqueness of its own. Influence of Punjab and Tibet can be clearly seen in the Himachal cuisine. Moreover, the geographical and climatic conditions of the state have also had an impact on the way and kind of dishes prepared in the state.

Usual Food & Drink

The day to day food of Himachal Pradesh is simple and very much like the rest of the north Indian states. Rice, paddy and maize are the staple diet. Rice along with Maahni (urad dal prepared with dried mangoes) or Madra (lentils made with yoghurt). In Chamba, Madra is cooked using rajmah, yoghurt, desi ghee and around 20 spices. Also, dishes made from Salayara and an iron rich cereal called, Kodra form part of the regular food. Sattu, another nutritious item is made use of on daily basis.

Himachalis are specially fond of non vegetarian food. So much so that till recently, the only vegetables that the people made use of here were potatoes and turnips. However, gradually, green vegetables are increasingly been used on daily basis. Non vegetarian items are cooked along with good amount of spices and ghee.

Tea is extremely important for the people of Himachal Pradesh. A number of recipes for preparing tea are known by the people. The importance of milk and other dairy products is also recognised by most of the people.

Festive Food & Drink

Amongst festive food, the traditional meal, dham finds instant mention. Dham is prepared by botis only who are brahmin chefs and have been in this profession for generations. The utensils used for cooking the food are normally copper ones. The preparations for dham begin a night before, and when ready, it is served in courses to people who sit on floor. Epattalsi or leaf plates are utilised to serve the food. And as for the dishes themselves, they include rice, a curd based dish, curry, mustard based raita, pulses and sweets.

There are other festival dishes that are prepared in Himachal Pradesh. Ankalos are made of rice flour while aktori, a cake is prepared by mixing leaves of buckwheat with wheat flour. Then, there is also Patande which is a type of pancake dish.

Other Foods

The people of Himachal Pradesh also eat a variety of other Indian and International cuisine like for example south Indian, Thai, Chinese and Italian. Dosas and Uttaphams are the most favourite of south Indian dishes while momos and pastas are consumed with equal delight. Infact pastas seasoned with different kinds of sauses and spices are widely eaten throughout the state of Himachal Pradesh.

Tibet and Japan too have their influence on the cuisine of Himachal. Amdo is one of the dish that owes its origin to the northeastern region of Tibet.

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