The hills are alive…with the dazzling aromas of food!
Next when you visit a hill station, make sure to try the local fare that promises to enhance your travelling experience.
One of the joys of travelling is discovering all the hidden gems the destination has to offer. It could be the nooks and crannies where the view isn’t hindered by flashing camera phones, or a little café that serves up the best local cuisine. While searching for these gems may take some research on your part, we have with us here a list of local dishes you must try while travelling to hilly regions. These gorgeous locales don’t just bring you panoramic breath-taking views, but also some mind blowing food you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
Hello, from Gangtok
One of the most popular street dishes from Gangtok, Thentuk is a yummy Tibetan soup made with chicken, red meat or vegetables. Add a dash of chilli powder, if you like spicy food and let this hot soup chase away the cold.
A traditional preparation from Sikkim, Phagshapa has as its main ingredients pork, radish and chilli. Best savoured with rice or roti, it is a summer preferred dish because of its texture. For the health conscious, this is like an explosion of flavours in your mouth!
Looking for something sweet? A handmade dish that finds its origins in Nepal, Sel Roti is a round shaped bread that is sweet and crispy. Mostly prepared during festivals, it is often exchanged between friends and family as a token of love.
Namaste, from Uttarakhand
A dish the natives of Uttarakhand swear by, and even prescribed by doctors, this preparation is made from spinach and fenugreek leaves. Cooked in an iron kadhai to further increase its nutritive value, it is best eaten with steaming rice.
A dish made famous in the Garhwal region, Phaanu is made with a variety of lentils that are soaked overnight. Cooked in a pot, it is usually had for lunch and served with rice.
Aaloo ke Gutke
A dish made to celebrate special occasions, this is a simple recipe where aaloo is roasted with spices. Have this with a side order of puris and Kumaoni raita (a curd preparation made with cucumber and spices), and you are ready to party.
Namaskara, from Coorg
A staple of Coorg cuisine, Kadambuttu are rice balls made from a mixture of broken rice and grated coconut. A versatile side dish, it can be eaten with chicken curry or simple pickle.
A mount-watering affair, a cuisine list from Coorg is incomplete without Pandi Curry. A tangy and hot pork curry, true happiness lies in combining this delectable dish with Kadambuttu, or Akki Roti.
Bamboo Shoot Curry
One of the few places in India to use bamboo in its dishes, this native Coorg dish is prepared during the monsoons. The bamboo shoots need to be thoroughly cleaned before they can be cooked into a curry. A curry with flavourful coconut, mustard and chilli, don’t miss this dish as it’s not available anywhere else in India.
Homemade Coorg Wine
While not strictly a food item, homemade Coorg wine deserves a mention specially when it is consumed with Coorg cuisine. Unlike other wines, Coorg wine is made from locally grown fruits like oranges, gooseberry, chickoo, orange peel and even betel nuts. If you are served a green coloured wine, don’t get alarmed because Coorg wine comes in different colours like red, pink and even green!
Hi, from Himachal
Anardana Chicken is a specialty from Himachal Pradesh and so called as it is marinated in anardana i.e. dried pomegranate seeds. This gives the curry its pinkish hue and a tangy flavour. The use of aromatic spices makes it a dish to be enjoyed with all your senses. Pair it with naan or steamed rice.
A widely renowned dish in the hills, this takes two of our favourite ingredients – kadhi and kabuli chana – and prepares a dish out of it. Made of chickpea flour and yoghurt, Madra is a kadhi-like dish which is bundled with a lot of pahadi flavours and onions, ginger and garlic. Eaten with rotis or steamed rice, sometimes chefs also add paneer or potatoes to add extra texture to the kadhi.
Patande or Himachali Pancakes
Being home to some of the most exotic dishes in the country, Patande is a breakfast dish that originated in one of the districts of Himachal and is also referred to as Indian pancakes. The ingredients for Patande are simple: wheat flour and milk are mixed with sugar and spices like cinnamon and cardamom.
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the dish because it is quite uniquely flavourful. A treat that can be enjoyed by the children as well as the adults, you can add a dollop of your favourite jam or maple syrup to this as well.
Vanakkam, from Ooty
A popular chicken curry, they say it is laced with a whopping 26 spices! A peppery flavoured dish made all the more mouth-watering with authentic Chettinad paste, coconut and onions, this dish will make you forget all other types of chicken dishes. Though you can eat this with rice or roti, we’d say just have the dish without any complements.
After the Chettinad, it is time for something sweet and what better treat than the sweet Payasam! A kheer-like dessert, it is made with rice, milk and jaggery. Some replace the rice with Sabudana. Garnished with almonds and raisins, this dessert will leave your stomach well-satisfied.
A well-loved dish which you may get even in north India, but what use is visiting Ooty if you don’t try their authentic Medhu Vada? Crisp, delightful, served with sambhar and coconut chutney, have it for breakfast, or with chai.
Well there you have it. We hope you take a big appetite with you when you visit any of these places.