11 Traditional Foods of Himachal Pradesh

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The land of diversity, India, has always been a centre stage of surprises for the whole world. This diversity is unmistakable in the languages, communities, climates, cultures, traditions, and most importantly cuisines that keep fascinating people from across the world. These cuisines are not just reflective of India’s rich & varied culture but also serve as a focal point for foodies.

The Devbhoomi or Land of Gods, Himachal Pradesh is one such state that besides being home to snow-capped mountains, green valleys, scenic vistas, tranquil environment, and unspoilt air, offers a plethora of cuisines for tourists to explore. The post compiles a list of mouth-watering and famous foods of Himachal Pradesh that you must try on your next trip to this wonderful state.

1. Siddu

Siddu is one of the most loved foods in Himachal Pradesh. This local side is made from wheat flour and served to complement main course meals including vegetables and/or mutton. In the food culture of Himachal Pradesh, Siddu is one dish that is not only tricky but also time-consuming to prepare. However, for the taste that it renders, the efforts are worth it.

Speaking of the recipe of this classic Himachali steamed bun, it is prepared with dough made from wheat flour, salt, sugar, ghee, and yeast and filling that typically includes grinding walnuts, almonds, and poppy seeds individually into smooth pastes. Once the small roundels of dough are filled with fillings, they are put on the direct flame until they get half-cooked. After that, the buns are steamed for at least 15-20 minutes, and they are ready to be served. Make sure they are not overdone so that the taste and nutrients remain intact. This traditional food of Himachal Pradesh is available in local restaurants across the state.

2. Madra

Quite prevalent in Chamba and Kangra, Madra is a delicacy that is native to the beautiful district of Chamba in Himachal Pradesh. Not just for Madra but Chamba is well-known for its unspoilt natural beauty, and thus is a part of most Himachal tour packages.

The popular food of Himachal Pradesh, Madra is made from soaked chickpeas (main ingredient) and/or vegetables (optional). The dish obtains its rich taste from various spices such as cumin seeds, cinnamons, cloves, cardamoms, and turmeric & coriander powder. Madra is a traditional food of Himachal Pradesh that is loved by people of all ages. So, when you are in Himachal Pradesh, make sure you don’t give this curry a miss.

3. Babru

Pretty popular in Shimla, Babru is one of the famous food items of Himachal Pradesh. In terms of appeal, Babru looks similar to the famous kachoris of North India and serves as a perfect snack to be had with tea. Speaking of the key ingredients of this special food of Himachal Pradesh, they include wheat flour and black gram. You can easily get Babru at various local restaurants in Shimla.

Having crispy Babrus with a hot cup of tea in the chilling climate of Shimla is a heavenly experience that you can’t afford to miss out on. And yes, make sure you do try this lip-smacking Himachali kachori with tamarind chutney which takes its taste to another level.

4. Tudkiya Bhath

Native to Chamba, Tudkiya Bhath is a traditional food of Himachal Pradesh. At first glance, one may think ‘what is so special about this pulao?’ Tudkiya Bhath is not your regular pulao. This famous food of Himachal Pradesh is loaded with and draws its taste from ingredients like rice, ghee, lentils, potatoes, yoghurt, veggies like tomatoes, garlic, ginger, onions, and spices like cardamoms, cinnamons, and bay leaves. Deeply rooted in the food culture of Himachal Pradesh, the dish tastes so flavourful that you can’t have enough of it. For the best experience, Tudkiya Bhath is served with mash dal and lime juice.

5. Bhey or Spicy Lotus Stems

Of several traditional foods of Himachal Pradesh, Bhey or spicy lotus stems is one item that is lovingly relished in the households of the Himachali people. The main ingredient of this scrumptious dish is the lotus stems. These stems are sliced finely and then cooked in gram flour, ginger, garlic, onion, and spices like turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder, and cayenne pepper which lend the dish with a great taste. Irrespective of the places to visit in Himachal Pradesh, you will be able to enjoy this popular food across the state.

6. Aktori

Extremely popular in Lahaul and Spiti, Aktori is a traditional food of Himachal Pradesh. Although the dish originates in Spiti Valley, it is frequently prepared and fondly enjoyed across the state. This dish is a festive dish that is highly enjoyed during festivities and celebratory events. Speaking of its preparation, it is quick and hassle-free to prepare. Made in the form of a cake or pancake, the main ingredient of Aktori is buckwheat leaves that are cooked in wheat flour using milk, sugar, water, and baking soda. If you ever try the recipe at home then for the best experience, make sure you top this sweet straight from the mountains with honey/ghee. Every bite of it is so indulgent that you would want to have it again and again.

7. Dham or Dhaam

Dham or Dhaam is the special food of Himachal Pradesh that not only tastes great but is also full of nutrients. Quite prevalent in Manali and Chamba, this complete food comprises rice, boor ki Kadi, dal, curd, and rajma which is complemented with gur (jaggery). This exceptional thali style food is highly loved and savoured by tourists who visit Himachal. At various known restaurants of Himachal Pradesh, this dish is prepared by ‘Botis,’ special chefs. As this wholesome thali contains delectable delicacies, it is a must-serve during festivals and celebratory events. To enjoy the luscious taste of this dish, make sure you visit Himachal during festivities.

8. Chha Gosht

Chha Gosht is a traditional food of Himachal and an instant favourite of hard-core, non-vegetarians. Yes, if you are a non-vegetarian lover, nothing can serve you better than this delicious dish. Chha Gosht is made with marinated lamb that is cooked in the gravy of gram flour and yoghurt. The use of Indian spices like coriander powder, cinnamons, cardamoms, asafoetida, bay leaves, cloves, and red chilli powder along with veggies like ginger-garlic paste, green chillies, and onions lend this dish an enriching taste. This delicacy is a pure delight to your taste buds and other senses of smell and sight. Although native to Chamba, it is available across the state.

9. Kullu Trout Fish

The list of Himachali delicacies is not just restricted to vegetarian options only. There are a great number of choices to explore for non-vegetarians as well and one such option is Kullu Trout Fish. Quite popular in Kullu, this dish is prepared with marinated trout fish that is cooked to perfection with minimal spices to ensure the natural taste of trout and its nutrients remain intact. Being one of the famous foods in Himachal Pradesh, this healthy cuisine is served with several boiled vegetables and fish lovers simply love it for its authentic taste. There is no dearth of restaurants serving this dish in Kullu and other places of Himachal Pradesh. So, if you are a fish lover and planning to visit Kullu anytime soon, make sure you give it a try. And when you will do this, one thing is for sure, it will leave you wanting it for more.

10. Kaale Channe Ka Khatta

The special food of Himachal Pradesh, Kaale Channe Ka Khatta is a complimentary dish that is usually served with Madra. So, when you have Madra, you can try it along as well. besides, this traditional pahadi dish is served with rice and tastes sour and spicy. Prepared from boiled black chickpeas, this dish uses a variety of Indian spices and ingredients that include tamarind powder, fennel seeds, mint powder, asafoetida, cumin seeds, wheat flour, green chillies, coriander powder, and salt to taste. Quite prevalent in Kangra, the enriching taste of this dish is not a thing to miss on your trip to Himachal Pradesh.

11. Mittha

Of the several foods of Himachal Pradesh, Mittha is one of the most toothsome dishes that you must give a try. The best thing about this Himachali cuisine is it is available all over the state. Taking about the preparation of Mittha, this sweet dish is mainly made on special occasions and includes rice, dry fruits, and raisins as its key ingredients. If you are someone whose meals are incomplete without a dessert, Mittha deserves to get a try. The taste is so heavenly that it will leave you craving for more.

Now that you are aware of the famous food items of Himachal Pradesh that pretty well reflect the rich food culture of the state, make sure you try most of them on your trip to this heavenly destination.

Food, Himachal Pradesh, Travel Guide

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