Food from Himachal Pradesh

Posted on: January 15, 2011

A decade and a half ago, when the world was a much better place to live, a few of us decided to visit Shimla. It was a very exciting trip for me as this was the first time I was going on a trip only with friends without any  adult supervison at all. We were a group of girls in their teens going from Delhi to Shimla.  We took an overnight train from Delhi to Kalka and then the toy train from Kalka to Shimla. The five hour journey in the toy train through hills and valleys and beautiful small villages like Dharamsala, Barang is still fresh in my memory. Also fresh in memory the beauty of Shimla, fun-filled  four days with friends and the delicious food.

Himachal Pradesh is a mountainous state situated in western Himalayas. Food is very simple but nutritious, mostly consisting of rice, breads, lentils and vegetable. The food is pahari (pahar = mountain) cuisine with a strong influence of cuisines from Punjab and Tibet. This week I tried some traditional pahari dishes like Khatta, madra and some punjabi influenced dishes like aloo parantha and rajma.


Khatta - PalatesOfIndia

Khatta - PalatesOfIndia


Khatta is a simple dish made with chick pea flour, dry mango powder, corriander powder, chilli powder and boondi (a chick pea flour based snack). It tastes a lot like kadhi and goes well with white rice.


Madra - PalatesOfIndia

Madra is a very traditional Himachali dish made with chick peas, yogurt, coconut, onion, ginger, garlic, chili powder, corriander powder, almonds and raisins. I must admit that I was a little uncomfortable with the chick peas, yogurt and raisin combination but was pleasantly surprised by the end result.


Rajma -PalatesOfIndia

Rajma (kidney beans) is a dish very popular in Himachal and rest of the north India. This is a Punjabi dish with a strong influence on Himachali cuisine. This is kidney beans cooked in onion, tomato, corriander powder, garam masala. This dish is served with white rice.


Parantha - PalatesOfIndia

Parantha - PalatesOfIndia

Parantha (Indian bread) is a dish common in all parts of India. My memory of Shimla is mostly different kinds of stuffed (potatoes, cauliflower, raddish etc) paranthas. For Aloo parnatha (Bread with potatoes), you make a filling out of boiled potatoes, ginger powder, corriander paowder, chili powder, corriander leaves and green chilies ( You can make the filling with the ingredient of your choice). You then make the bread with this filling inside. Servev with butter or yogurt.

Please follow this link for recipe of the above dishes.

Since we already talked about Rajma and paranta, let’s explore the pujabi cuisine next week.


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