7 Tempting Dishes From The Valleys Of Chamba
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Chamba is a breathtaking town in Himachal Pradesh that attracts thousands of tourists from around the world. It is a town that is famous for its natural vegetation and a variety of regional dishes that are still cooked using authentic recipes that are hundreds of years old. The primary crops that are grown in Chamba are pulses, wheat, oilseeds, and maize. Majority of these crops are rainfed which means that cultivating them is relatively easier. People in Chamba are very much reliant on the natural vegetation for their diet.

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 Generally, their diet is filled with a lot of nuts, lentils, poppy seeds, and desi ghee. All of these food items help in keeping the body warm from the inside and protecting it from the harsh, cold and changing seasons. Some of the most famous delicacies from Chamba are Patande and Siddu. Here are some of the top regional dishes from Chamba that are delicious and unlike anything that one would find elsewhere.

* Dhaam

Not everyone in Chamba has the right to make dhaam for special occasions. It is made by designated chefs called botis. Dhaam is a fully balanced dish that consists of all the needed nutrients and vitamins for the body. It is made by using some lentils, rice, rajma, boor ki daal, and some jaggery to complete the dish. It is a special dish that is served on the occasion of festivals and celebrations. 

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* Chha Gosht

It is believed that chha gosht was invented by the Gaddi tribe belonging to Dhauladhar. It is a one-pot meal that is prepared within a few minutes. Chha gosht is a non-vegetarian dish from Chamba that is made by using mutton and  is prepared by marinating the mutton pieces in some yoghurt and gram flour and seasoning it with some Indian spices like coriander powder, bay leaves, cardamom, and ginger and garlic paste. The dish doesn't have a lot of gravy. People like to have it with some fresh boiled white rice.

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* Siddu

It is believed that siddu is an evolved version of steamed bread that was invented by the nomadic shepherds who used to travel from one place to another in the hills of Himachal Pradesh. Siddu is a wheat dumpling-like dish that has a lot of regional varieties in Himachal Pradesh. Like other places in Himachal Pradesh, this delicacy is very famous in Chamba as well. Generally Siddu is made from a dough that consists of salt, sugar, flour, yeast, warm water and some oil. One must let the dough rest for at least two hours before making something out of it. Siddu has a stuffing of dal paste, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder and green chilli powder. The stuffing is very carefully added inside the door and it is steamed until the dough becomes fully  edible. 

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* Kullu Tava Trout Fish

Kullu tava trout fish started becoming popular in the Kangra and Kullu districts of Himachal Pradesh in the early 20th century. Earlier people used to consider trout fish as a game fish only and it was neglected from being cultured on a large scale. However, with time as people started cooking the Kullu tava trout fish, it became more popular among the natives. The delectable tava fry fish is made by shallow-frying fish on tava and using some fresh coriander leaves, lemon juice, chilli flakes, mustard, oil, coriander seeds, and salt as per preference. It is further served with some boiled vegetables like potatoes and brinjal on the side. The dish has very subtle flavours of spices and the natural flavour of the fish is enhanced in the dish.

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* Aktori

Aktori is a sweet delicacy from Himachal Pradesh that is made from millets and the flour of buckwheat leaves, but may also have some regional variations. It is lightly sweet and has a melt-in-the-mouth texture. The aktori available in Chamba is one of the most delicious varieties of this snack. It is a very important part of the festivals celebrated in many districts of Himachal Pradesh and is given a slightly sweet flavour with the help of honey. To give moisture to these traditional pancakes of Himachal Pradesh, a lot of desi ghee is used.

* Bhey Sabzi

Bhey Sabzi is not just popular in Himachal Pradesh but in a lot of parts of north India. Many people believe that this dish originated in Jammu and Kashmir where there is a large-scale cultivation and natural abundance of lotus flowers. Bhey means lotus stems. This dish is prepared by cutting thin slices of the stem of the lotus and seasoning it with some Indian spices. It is generally consumed with roti or some boiled rice. The dish has a very crispy texture as the lotus stem is shallow fried in some oil before being seasoned with spices. People like to preserve the earthy taste of lotus stems, and do not overpower them with too many spices.

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* Madra

Madra commonly called Chamba ka rajma is one of the most special recipes from Chamba that is famous around the world. Madra is made by using the choicest version of rajma that are naturally cultivated in Himachal Pradesh. The most special aspect of this recipe is the use of curd to make a creamy gravy that is thick as compared to the regular gravy of rajma. This is an unmissable dish that one must try during their visit to Chamba.