Whenever you plan for a joyous trip to any place, the tempting traditional foods of that place come to your mind apart from various other rejuvenating experiences. Since the taste and variety of food vary from place to place, every region has a different variety of foods, making it a more special place to visit.
Himachali Dham: The Introduction
Himachali cuisine varies from region to region. Dham is one of the traditional feasts prepared specially during religious festivals or any joyful occasions in Himachal Pradesh. It is a mid-day meal that comprises some special dishes other than the everyday meal like daal, chawal, sabzi, roti.
Dham is specifically prepared during special occasions like weddings, birthday parties, etc., or any religious events or festivals by “Bhotis”(the brahmin chefs). The preparation of the festive feast starts the night before and is usually cooked in brass vessels called “Batohi”, “Baltohi,” or “Charoti” on firewood in a very low flame. And this process of slow cooking enhances the taste of this traditional meal.
The food is served in “Pattal”(leaf plates), and people sit on the floor and enjoy it.
The delicious meal Dham is full of flavors and tempting aroma, and the menu consists of different vegetarian food items, including sabzis, lentils beans, etc. The Dham includes all the six tastes that complete the food according to Ayurveda principles.
The Dham comprises all the lentils and beans and is served with rice mostly. Rice is served 3 times, firstly with Madra, following with dal and khatta, and in the end with chana daal and kadhi.
What Includes Himachali Dham or Dham Menu
Enjoying the delicious authentic regional food adds an amazing experience to your trip. The dishes of Himachal Pradesh have different flavors in different regions. The list of traditional Dham menus includes:
Madra is an essential component of Dham throughout the Himachal Pradesh states. It is especially a very thick curry prepared using curd/yogurt. It is cooked on a low flame in brass vessels. There are different madras that is cooked using Kala chana, rajma, safed chana, etc
Maa Ki Daal
Maa ki daal is a whole black gram daal gravy that is cooked by soaking it overnight. It is cooked on a low flame using very little spices until it softens and blends into a thick creamy consistency gravy. This flavorful daal is served with steamed rice or chapatis.
Kale Chane Ka Khatta
It is a popular dish from Himachal Pradesh specifically made in the Kangra district. This soupy dish is prepared from black chickpeas. Kale Chane ka khatta is a flavorful sweet, and sour chickpeas soup served with steamed rice.
Chawal is a very basic dish that is served with almost every sabzi or gravy. It is steamed rice.
Matar paneer is a popular dish and needs no introduction. It is cooked in a delicious and creamy onion, tomato gravy, and rice or roti.
Kaddu Ka Khatta
Ikaddu ka khatta is a dry pumpkin curry/sabzi served as a side dish with roti or rice. This dish is cooked in mustard oil using whole spices without onion and garlic in it.
Bhey is a spicy and delicious dish made from lotus stems. Lotus stems are thinly sliced and boiled, then stir-fried with different spices to make them flavorful. It can be served with roti or steamed rice both.
Meethe chawal is one of the essential dishes in the Dham of Kangra valley. It is a dessert made from rice using saffron and dry fruits.
Let’s go through some of the famous Himachali Dhams from different regions of Himachal Pradesh
Chamba is the origin of the Dhams. Madra and Kala Chana are the important dishes in Chamba Dham. Chamba kadhi with gucchi (local mushrooms)pulao is also a popular dish from Chamba Dham.
You can enjoy the Chamba Dham at a Dhaba in Sultanpur. Some other restaurants in Chamba town will provide few dishes of Chamba Dham. You can visit HPTDC Iravati’s hotel for a delightful Chamba Dham experience.
Mandyali Dham (Mandi)
The Mandi /Mandyali Dham is one of the easiest to visit among all Dham as it lies on the Delhi-Manali route. They follow the ayurvedic way and hence serve the dessert first. Then, a sweet dish made from Bengal gram flour called boondi ka meetha is served before the meals.
Then, various other dishes like Sepuvadi curry with deep-fried fritters are served with rice. The platter also includes maa ki daal, kaddu ka khatta, and kidney beans(rajma) madra.
The final serving is of buttermilk. Mandi is one of the most easily accessible towns of all. You can enjoy the mandi Dham at Sharma Dhaba situated near the Bus stand in Mandi at very affordable prices.
You can relish the popular Kale chane ka khatta, moong daal, teliah mah( black lentil ), chickpeas madra, and various other curries served with steamed rice.
The Kangri Dham uses a unique technique of giving a smokey flavor to the dishes where they pour mustard oil over a hot coal piece over the dish and then the dish is covered until all the smoke gets absorbed in the food giving it a smokey flavor.
You can get kangri Dham near Palampur in a small town named Maranda. Kangri Dham is easily available in Thakur Dhaba opposite the Hanuman mandir. The Kangri Dham platter is also available in Shimla at a popular restaurant called Himachal rasoi for few days of the week.
The Kullu Dham or Kullvi Dham has almost similar dishes in the platter as other Dhams, including telia mash (black lentil fried in oil or ghee)and various Madra (Chickpea Madra, Rajma Madra, Gucchi Madra) served with steamed rice. The chane ka khatta, meethe chawal are also served to complete the meal.
The authentic Kullvi Dham can be enjoyed at the well-known Sapna sweets restaurants in the main market. Most of the people or visitors visit the town during Kullu Dussehra and enjoy its delicious dhams.
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