28 December 2020


Winter Foods In Himachal Pradesh that you simply MUST try!

The days around our resort in Palampur have gotten shorter and chillier as winter in Himachal has finally set in for the year. These pleasantly cold days are the perfect time to enjoy a steaming bowl of noodles from our inhouse Maggi station, and then some. Winter cuisine in Himachal has always signified warmth, happiness and nourishment.

This post will talk about some of the winter specialities of Himachal along with some of the foods you can try at our resort in Palampur.

Momos in Mc Leodganj

Comfort Food:

The cuisine of Himachal year-round is typically extremely rich and full of protein and fat to keep oneself warm during the cold nights. As such most of the comfort foods consist of lentils and meat. Availability of fresh produce is also hit-or-miss owing to the cold and thus a luxury compared to other forms of nourishment. 

Madra is a Himachali staple that is guaranteed to keep you warm during winters. Made from chickpea and spices, this simple yet sumptuous gravy goes well with just about anything and makes for the perfect winter food even by itself. Madra is usually part of the Himachali Dhaam but it is also a common dish in many households of Himachal, so this one should be easy to find on your Himachal trip. Chha Ghost is a dish for the meat lovers; this rich mutton based dish is a slow-cooked delight made with Himachali spices that are guaranteed to send your taste buds on a ride. Lamb is marinated in curd and then cooked in a rich gravy made with gram flour and oil.

Wondering what goes best with both these gravies? How about some ‘siddu’? The quintessential bread of Himachal, Siddu is a fermented dish that’s drenched in butter on top to give you an extra boost of warmth. You could also munch on some babru, another type of bread stuffed with lentils. For those tea-time munchies, we turn to a rather unique source of snacks. Lotus stems are a common evening snack in Himachal. Known as Himachali Bhey, the stems are chopped up and fried in gram flour and served with tea.

For more nourishing dishes that make use of fewer ingredients, we have classics like Aloo Palda and Bhang ki Chutney. The former is a rich potato stew that almost tastes like gnocchi. It has all the qualities of a simple kadhi, a basic stew to be eaten with rice. The bhaang ki chutney is a refreshing twist on chutneys, with the primary ingredient being hemp seeds. There’s also bhatt ki dal, a lentil stew with a local black bean as base.

Worried that we didn’t mention any sweet dishes? Gulgule and Gud ke Laddu save the day! Gulgule are round balls of wheat goodness fried in batter, while the gud ke laddu is a sugar bomb coated with ghee that fills your heart with goodness with one bite.

Archana's Kitchen:Himachali Chana Madra Recipe

Image credits: Archana's Kitchen

Tibetan Delights:  

Seldom do we remember that Dharamshala is a Tibetan centre. Along with Himachal cuisine, there is a large variety of delightful Tibetan and some Indo-Chinese cuisine to be found around our resort in Palampur. Life goes beyond momos here although these dumplings are certainly the favourite snack of the Pahadi people. More popular is a snack called Tingmo, a wheat-based cousin of the momo sans filling. The best pick-me-up for these cold days comes in the form of Thukpa, that bowl of goodness that is omnipresent in the markets of Mcleodganj and Palampur. Another speciality that might be more accessible during winter is the Naizha Cake. Made out of yak butter and cheese, brown sugar and flour, this cake is the perfect accompaniment to some chai and its richness will ensure you have a warm evening. Finally, for those that want to explore noodles, there is Thenthuk: Hand-pulled wheat noodles in a rich broth much like Thukpa, but wider and flatter. Making them all the more slurpy!  

Himachali Apples

Apples And Oddities:

Winter is, of course, the apple season in Himachal. The winter state accounts for nearly 30% of India’s total apple production. Come winter and the orchards are a bright red from the fruit hanging overhead. This is also the perfect time for Lungdu, the famous fiddlehead fern that goes into stir-frys or pickles. Of late, farmers have also begun planting pomegranates thanks to their low requirement and high yield. And you might just chance upon some cherries or ‘Lasoda’ pickle made from fresh wild berries. Indeed, while some vegetables are extremely difficult to grow in Himachal, wild fruits like these flourish at higher altitudes and the locals make the best use of what they have.  

One of the most popular snacks in the hills is the fruit of the citrus pseudolimon, a member of the lemon family. Known as galgal locally, the lemon is chopped into pieces, mixed with chillies and masalas and served with sprinklings of brown sugar to balance out the flavors. The roller coaster of flavor coupled with the numerous health benefits makes every component of this snack a delight that can be had guilt-free.

Pumpkins are also a common sight in Himachal during winters! Kaddu ki sabji and aukriya kaddu, a stir fried concoction with mashed pumpkins, are a bit hit in the hills during the cold months.

All this food, and you’re looking for a cuppa to drink? Have a glass of goodness on your next visit to our resort in Palampur. Kangra is one of the few homes of Buransh Ki Chai, tea made with black tea mixed with the petals of the rhododendron flower. This tea is known to have a wide host of health benefits, namely anti-diabetic and antioxidant properties. The brew is popular enough to have earned its status as a geographical indicator of the valley, something us pahadis should be proud of.  

Rakkh’s own organic garden this season has a wide assortment of fruits and vegetables that all go into the cooking at our resort in Palampur. Our restaurant in-house believes in exploring the cuisine of the land and hopes to preserve the Himachali way of life by organizing events such as our Himachali Dhaam.

Feature Image Credits: YOWANGDU

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Ghamrota Village Post Office Ballah ,Tehsil Palampur, District Kangra, Jiun, Himachal Pradesh 176061