The Cuisine of Himachal Pradesh – the north Indian state lying at the foothills of the Himalayas – boasts of a uniqueness of its own. Influence of the neighboring lands of Punjab and Tibet is clearly evident in the Himachal cuisine. Besides, the geographical and climatic conditions of the state have a strong effect on the dishes of Himachal Pradesh and the way they are prepared. The day-to-day cuisine of Himachal Pradesh is simple and very much similar to that of other north Indian states. Rice, paddy and maize constitute the staple diet of the people here. But the preferred taste varies from region to region. Thus, while in the barren regions of Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti, locally-grown coarse grains like buckwheat, millet and barley are mainly used, regions with pastoral tradition use large quantities of milk and its products in their dishes.
Non-vegetarian food, with liberal usage of spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and red chilies, form an integral part of the cuisine of Himachal Pradesh. The local people are not known to be particularly fond of vegetarian fare. In the average Himachal households, all kinds of meat, lentil and cereal preparations are generally cooked.
A typical everyday meal in the cuisine of Himachal Pradesh comprises ‘dal-chawal-subzi-roti’ (the common north Indian fare of lentil broth, rice, vegetable curry and bread). Special dishes are cooked during festive occasions.
The preferred taste in Himachal varies from region to region. Non-vegetarian food, with a generous dose of spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and red chillies, is very much the norm. The average Himachal kitchen churns out all sorts of meat, lentil and cereal preparations.