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Monday, 29 January 2018

Dham - Traditional food of Himachal Pradesh

Dham is a traditional vegetarian festive meal of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It is a mid-day meal prepared on auspicious occasions , festivals , weddings, and other religious functions. Traditional Dham is served to people in Himachali cuisine on all such occasions typically on the floor in pattals (plates made of leaves). Himachali cuisine has a unique aroma and flavor due to use of lot of yogurt and spices like chilies, cardamom , cinnamon , turmeric and coriander powder. The food is typically cooked in mustard oil and on low flame. As availability of vegetables is a challenge in the hilly and cold region , the traditional dham has no vegetable dish in it and most of the dishes are made with different lentils and dairy products like curd, ghee, buttermilk , paneer (cottage cheese). The dishes served at a Himachali dham varies from one district to another , here i am sharing the dishes of the dham of Kangra District.


  I believe the people surrounding us do influence our lives with their thoughts, their way of dressing and their food too. I have learnt a lot of south Indian dishes from my neighbours during my stay in Hyderabad. Here in Mohali i have a dear friend , Garima staying in my society who is from Himachal Pradesh. I first tasted a typical Himachali food at her place. My hubby too loved the humble food full of flavors. I always found a mention of dham in her food talks .The foodie in me could not settle with just tasting the food, i kept on bothering her to tell me about all the dishes served at their dham. I jotted down all the dishes she mentioned with their recipes she could recollect ( for some recipes i referred to google and about a dozen of sites on Internet) , got the required ingredients and in her supervision cooked this utterly delicious festive meal at my place :)

The dham dishes included here are
  • Madra - a thick yogurt based gravy made from chickpeas
  • Kale chane ka khatta - A tangy soup made with black chick peas  
  • Maa ki daal - A creamy gravy of black lentils
  • Chawal - steamed rice
  • Mukund wadi curry - Sundried lentil squares cooked in onion tomato gravy
  • Matar Paneer - Cottage cheese and green peas curry
  • Kaddu ka khatta - A tangy dry Pumpkin vegetable curry
  • Bhey - A spicy Lotus Stem dish
  • Meethe Chawal - Flavorful sweet rice with saffron and dry fruits
  • Salad

I had prepared this dham 2 months back and was struggling to find time to write about it .I have about 30 recipes in my drafts , as i just love cooking and shooting but i feel writing is just not my cup of tea :(  Need some suggestions to work on this ...anyways, finally when the theme for #129th #FoodieMondayBlogHop was decided as  #Himachal Recipes , i could not delay this post any more. At first i thought i could pick up just one dish from this dham and write a blog post on it , but  then i settled with the the entire dham. ( the reason behind this is that , i am constantly learning and trying to improve my food photography , as a result of which after few days , the pictures i have clicked earlier fail to appeal me and i feel i could have done better and then i do not feel like posting it). I feel many of my blogger friends can relate with me on this feeling. So lets begin our culinary journey of Himachali Dham from Kangra District !

Chana Madra - Chickpeas in thick yogurt based gravy. 

Chana madra is a flavorful and lip-smacking rich yogurt based dish of Himachali dham. This popular dish is an onion garlic free chickpea preparation, cooked in ghee , curd , spices and dry fruits. Chana madra goes well with both chapati and steamed rice and makes for a delightful lunch. 


Preparation time: 8 hours
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

  • 1 1/2 cup Chickpea (Kabuli Chana) , soaked overnight and boiled
  • 1 cup curd
  •  2 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick ( dalchini)
  • 4-5 black pepper corn 
  • 1-2 pods of green cardamom (elaichi)
  • Pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder ( i have not used)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoon golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoon cashew nuts
  • Salt to taste

  1. Beat the curd using a whisker very well until it is creamy ,smooth and lump free. Heat a heavy bottom sauce pan and add ghee to it. Once the ghee melts , add pinch of asafoetida followed by cumin seeds and whole spices (bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom , black peppercorn). Stir for 30 seconds.
  2. Next on low flame add turmeric powder, red chili powder and coriander powder. Stir fry for few seconds. Now add the boiled chickpeas .
  3. Stir fry the chickpeas on medium flame for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Now again lower the flame and add the beaten curd while stirring continuously.
  5. Do not stop stirring or the yogurt will curdle. (Even if it curdles slightly don’t worry as the gravy will even out as the dish thickens eventually)
  6. Stir continuously for 7-10 minutes on medium flame .
  7.  Add sugar followed by raisins and cashew-nuts. Stir the mix well and cook until ghee separate outs.
  8. Now add 2 cups of water and allow the mix to boil.
  9. Now simmer for another 7-10 minutes. Keep stirring in between  to ensure it does not catch the bottom.
  10. Serve the delicious madra with steamed rice and enjoy with your loved ones !

Chane Ka Khatta : Tangy Black Chickpea Soup from Himachal Cuisine

Chane ka khatta is a traditional and very popular Himachali dish made from black chickpeas . Khatta  is a mildly sweet and tangy soup that is served with rice and is a part of the Kangri Dham ( Festive meal of Kangra District ) The dish is very flavorful and the recipe is very simple.


Preparation time: 8 hours
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

  • 1 cup black Chickpeas, soaked overnight , boiled
  • 1 teaspoon cumin 
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • Small piece of Jaggery ( gooseberry size)
  • 2 Tablespoon rice flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon dry mango powder
  • 1 teaspoon carom seeds
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 6 -7 cloves of garlic
  • Handful of fresh mint leaves
  • Salt to taste
  1. Take carom seeds and garlic cloves in a mortar and pestle , crush them with a pestle and coarsely pound the mix, to it add the green chilies and finely chopped onion, keep pounding the mix , now add fresh mint leaves to this mix and pound again until all the ingredients blend well. Add little salt while doing so. Keep this crush aside until use.  
  2. Heat a sauce pan. Smoke mustard oil ,allow it cool down a bit. Now add cumin seeds.
  3. Once the seeds crackle, add the pounded mix and salute for about a minute or until the raw smell of garlic and onions goes off. 
  4. Add turmeric powder and saute for few second. Next add the boiled chickpeas along with the water used while boiling them. Saute for few seconds.
  5. Now mix 1/4 cup water little by little in the rice flour in a bowl. Mix well to get a lump free slurry. Add this slurry to the sauteed chickpeas.
  6. Add 1 1/2 cup water and stir well.
  7. Allow the soup to boil.
  8. Season it with salt to taste ( be careful as we have added salt to the crushed mix) ,jaggery and dry mango powder. Give a quick stir and allow the soup to simmer for 7-10 minutes so that all the flavors blend very well with each other.
  9. Do a taste test of the soup , add more dry mango powder or jaggery as per your preference. The soup is more on the tangy side. Give it another boil and put off the flame.
  10. Serve the flavorful kale chane ka kahatta with steamed rice.

Meethe Chawal / Meetha Bhaat -  A flavorful and rich sweet rice dish from Himachal Pradesh loaded with dry fruits and ghee.

Meethe chawal or zarda pulao is a sweet dish made from boiled rice , sugar and is loaded with dry fruits and ghee. Saffron lends a rich flavor and golden yellow color to this dessert. Meethe chawal is usually prepared on festivals and special occasions and is a must in the dham of kangra valley. Traditionally first the rice is cooked till al dante and then sugar and nuts are added into it and simmered till done. I have followed the same method. 


Preparation time: 15minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6

  • 1 cup any long grain fragrant rice / Basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 2-3 tablespoon ghee
  • 10-15 Almonds
  • 10-15 Cashew Nuts
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 4-5 green Cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 inch Cinnamon stick
  • Few strands of saffron 
  • Pinch of Turmeric powder 
  • 1/4 cup milk
  1. Rinse the rice and soak for 10 minutes . Add saffron strands to Luke warm milk. Keep aside until use.
  2. Cook rice in 3 cups of water in an open vessel until it is al dente. ( the rice should be 80 % cooked , but should retain its shape and should give a bite on chewing)
  3. Drain the rice in a colander and allow it cool down .
  4. Heat ghee in a wok. Add fennel seeds to it. Stir fry the seeds on low flame until fragrant.
  5. Now add the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods. Fry for few seconds
  6. Next add in raisins and nuts . Fry the dry fruits on low flame for about a minute or two taking care nit to burn them.
  7. Now add sugar and allow it to caramelize a bit . The sugar should not change its color to brown. Add 1/4 cup water and allow the sugar syrup to boil. 
  8. To this boiling syrup add the cooked rice followed by pinch of turmeric and saffron milk.
  9. Mix everything very well, taking care not to break the rice grain.
  10. Cover cook the rice on low flame for 8-10 minutes or until all the moisture dries up.
  11. Serve the flavorful meetha bhaat warm or cold.

Kaddu Ka Khatta  : A scrumptious tangy spicy preparation made from Pumpkin.

Kaddu ka khatta is a lip smacking pumpkin dry curry served as a side dish along with steamed rice. It goes perfectly well with phulka or chapati. The curry is cooked in mustard oil and whole spices like red chilly , cinnamon , cloves, fenugreek seeds , mustard seeds , bay leaves and cumin seeds.  Dry mango powder adds in the required tangy flavor to the dish. The dish is onion garlic free and very simple and hardly takes any time to cook. 

Bhey: A unique dish made from lotus stem , bhey is spicy and flavorful.

It can be served as a side dish with chapati or steamed rice. here thinly sliced lotus stem is washed, boiled and then stir fried with onion garlic and other spices to give a flavorful dish. Click here for the detailed recipe with step wise pictures.

Maa Ki Daal : A simple yet flavorful lentil gravy where whole black gram , soaked overnight are cooked in mustard oil with minimal spices and simmered until it blends well and gets a creamy gravy consistency. Serve Maa ki Daal with hot steamed rice or phulka and some salad for a soulful comfort meal.

Matar Paneer : Cottage cheese (Paneer) and Green peas cooked in a spicy Onion Tomato Gravy. Matar Paneer needs no introduction , this delicious dish pairs very well with both Jeera Rice and chapati. Click here for the detailed recipe with step wise pictures.

Mukundwadi , is the name given to sundried lentil squares . These lentil squares are pressure cooked in a onion tomato based gravy and is mildly spiced using whole spices. Adding little cream to the curry gives it a rich flavor .

Sending these flavorful Himachal Dham recipes to #129Th #FoodieMondayBloghop with #HimachalRecipes as theme for this week. Do check out my fellow bloggers post on this theme for some lovely Himachal recipes .

  I hope you would love to try out some of the dishes shared in this post. If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us. Follow me on #Facebook , #Instagram , #Twitter and #Google+ for more recipes and new updates. 

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Dubki Kadhi Recipe - Chattisgarh Cuisine

Dubki Kadhi is a curd based one pot dish from the Indian state of Chattisgarh. Dubki word in Hindi means to dive , here small dumplings made from soaked and ground black gram (urad dal) are dropped into boiling kadhi , hence the name. Dubki kadhi is very different from the Punjabi kadhi in many aspects. Here the dumplings are not deep fried like in the Punjabi kadhi but are boiled in the kadhi itself so it is healthy and less in calories. Also the dumplings in this dubki kadhi are made from split skinned black gram while in Punjabi kadhi , pakodas are made from chickpea flour. Dubki Kadhi is delicious and easy to cook . It tastes great when served hot with steamed rice or Jeera Rice. It can also be paired with phulka or paratha. 

 Chattisgarh Cuisine is the theme for this month in the Facebook group Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge . I was paired with Priya Suresh who blogs at Priya's Versatile Recipes  . Do check out her blog for some easy and tasty recipes. She gave me curd and black gram as my 2 secret ingredients and i cooked this delicious dubki kadhi for the challenge. I have followed the recipe from here. The dish came out very well. Now i have something new to try out for my lunch , a healthy alternative to the regular Punjabi kadhi :) 

Preparation time: 4 hours
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Servings :3-4

  • 1/4 cup split and skinned black gram (dhuli urad dal)
  • 1 cup curd
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 inch ginger piece
  • 1 green chili
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 dry red chilly
  • 1-2 sprig of curry leaves
  • Pinch of Asafoetida (hing)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing 
  • Salt to taste
  1. Rinse the skinned black gram couple of times in running water . Soak it in enough water for 3-4 hours. After soaking time, drain water if any and transfer the black gram to a grinder jar along with garlic cloves, ginger and green chili. Pulse to get a paste. Add salt to taste and keep the paste aside until use.

 2. In a mixing bowl take 1 cup curd and whisk it using a whisker to make it lump free and smooth. To this  beaten curd add 1 tablespoon of the ground paste of black gram. Whisk again very well so that the ground paste mixes properly with the curd.

3. Heat a pan and add mustard oil to it. Allow the oil to smoke. Now reduce the flame and allow the mustard oil to cool down a bit. Add mustard seeds. Once the seeds splutter , add asafoetida followed by turmeric powder.

4. Next break the red chilly into 2 pieces and add it along with curry leaves.

5. Lower the flame, add the whisked curd to the tempering while stirring. Add 2 cups of water to it and allow the mix to boil.

 6. Make small dumplings of the black gram paste using your hand or spoon and drop them into the boiling kadhi. Allow the dumplings to cook on medium flame until they are well cooked. Once cooked the dumplings will come to the surface of the kadhi.

 7. Lastly season the kadhi with salt.

 8. Garnish the dubki kadhi with fresh coriander leaves and serve with Jeera Rice.

 Notes :

  • Whisk the curd very well after adding the black gram paste or else the kadhi will have lumps.
  • Make small or big dumplings of black gram as per your choice. The dumplings become twice in size on cooking.
  • Try to grind the black gram without adding water to it. 
I hope you would love to try out this delicious healthy kadhi recipe for yourself. If you do so , feel free to share your feedback with us. Follow me on #Facebook , #Instagram , #Twitter and #Google+ for more recipes and new updates. Will come back on Monday with a new recipe , till then enjoy your long weekend , eat healthy and stay fit !  

Monday, 22 January 2018

Kesar Rabdi

Kesar Rabdi is a delectable dessert from North India. A creamy rich delight which can make any occasion special. Basically rabdi is a sweetened evaporated milk dish made by boiling milk on low heat for a long time. Kesar rabdi is a flavorful variation to this classic rabdi in which saffron imparts a golden yellow color and aroma to the dish. 

Today is Vasant panchami , a popular Hindu festival that initiates the arrival of spring. This day falls on the fifth day of Hindu Calendar Magha and is also celebrated as the birthday of Maa Saraswati (Goddess of knowledge and art). Yellow is the dominant color of this festival. It signifies the ripening of fruits and crops. The mustard field in North India bloom during this season giving a yellow coat to nature. People wear yellow clothes, offer yellow flower to goddess and many yellow colored delicious dishes are prepared for the occasion. Last year i prepared Pineapple Halwa for this occasion. This year i made a simple yet delectable dessert - Kesar Rabdi to offer as naivedhyam to goddess Saraswati.
Mustard Fields 
Kesar Rabdi recipe is very simple and needs just 3 basic ingredients namely milk , sugar and saffron. I have used pistachio slivers for garnishing, but it is purely optional. The recipe calls for reducing the milk on low flame , until it becomes dense and has layers of cream in it. This evaporated milk is further sweetened and flavored with saffron to get this creamy rich kesar rabdi. Kesar rabdi is usually prepared on special occasions and festivals . It can be served chilled or warm as a dessert on its own or drizzled over sweets like malpua , jalebi or gulab jamun.

Sending this recipe to #128th #FoodieMondayBlogHop where the theme for this week is cooking with 3 ingredients. Do check my fellow bloggers posts for some innovative ideas on this theme.
 Preparation time: 5 minutes
 Cooking time: 30 minutes
 Servings : 2-3

Ingredients: Measurements used 1 cup =200 ml
  • 4 cups full cream milk
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 10-12 strands of Saffron
  • Few pistachio slivers for garnishing (optional)
  1. Heat milk in a sauce pan or a broad bottom vessel on medium flame. Once the milk boils, reduce the flame to low . 

2. Scoop out 2 tablespoon milk from it and transfer to a small bowl. Add saffron strands to the milk when it is warm and keep aside until use.

3. Allow the milk to cook further on low flame. Keep pushing the cream layer towards the sides of the pan. Stir the milk occasionally so that it does not catch the bottom of the pan.

 4. Keep boiling the milk until it becomes thick and reduces to half the original quantity. Now scrap the sides of the pan and collect all the cream layers to the center.

 5. Add sugar followed by the addition of saffron milk. Stir well and cook for another 5 minutes . The rabdi will turn golden yellow in color. Put off the flame. The rabdi will thicken further on cooling.

  6. Garnish the kesar rabdi with pistachio slivers and serve warm or chilled. 

  • The quantity of sugar can be increased as per the desired sweetness. My family likes to have this sweet mildly sweet .
  • You may use cardamom powder to flavor the rabdi.
  • Kesar Rabdi can be served warm or chilled either as a dessert on its own or drizzled over malpua, gulab jamun or jalebi.
I hope you would love to try out this simple yet delectable dessert for yourself. If you do so , feel free to share your feedback with us. Follow me on #Facebook , #Instagram , #Twitter and #Google+ for more recipes and new updates.

For more similar recipes, do check my posts on




Monday, 15 January 2018

Sweet Corn and Tomato Bruschetta Recipe

Sweet Corn and Tomato Bruschetta is a simple and flavorful Italian appetizer. This delicious side dish is easy and quick  to make , is refreshing and can be enjoyed any time of the year. Basically Bruschetta consist of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt. Variations may include toppings of tomato, beans, vegetable or cheese.  Here i have used a fresh salad made from ripe tomatoes, boiled sweet corn kernels , red bell pepper , onions and herbs as topping. Orange zest and freshly crushed black pepper add in to the flavors in this bruschetta.  

Sweet Corn and Tomato Bruschetta can be served as a delicious snack and a very appealing starter at kids parties and gatherings. The vibrantly colored veggies in this bruschetta are enough to tempt even the fussy eaters.

I have used a multi-grain Baguette with oats and flax seeds to make this appetizer a guilt free affair. Have brushed olive oil on the slices of baguette and grilled them using a convection oven. Rubbing garlic cloves to the hot toasted bread infuses a wonderful garlic flavor to it.

#BruschettaRecipes is the theme for our #127 th week of #FoodieMondayBlogHop and this flavorful sweet corn and tomato bruschetta is my contribution towards the theme. Do check out my fellow bloggers post for some lovely and innovative ideas on this theme.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Servings : 6


  • 1 Baguette (i have used multi-grain baguette with oats and flax seeds)
  • 1/2 cup boiled sweet corn kernels.(i have boiled kernels for 3-4 minutes in microwave oven)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped ripe tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup cubed red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped coriander
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • Freshly crushed black pepper as per taste
  • Salt to taste


  1. Slice the baguette using a knife. Place the slices of bread on a baking tray and brush it with olive oil. Toast the slices in a preheated oven for 4-5 minutes. I have grilled the baguette slices in a convection microwave oven for 4 minutes on high rack using grill mode.

 2. While the bread slices are getting toasted we will prepare the topping. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a pan . Add onions and allow them to sweat.

 3. Now add red bell peppers and saute for about a minute on high flame. Add boiled sweet corn kernels and saute for another 30 seconds.

 4. Remove the sauteed veggies in a mixing bowl. Add tomatoes, coriander , orange zest . Mix well Season the salad with salt and freshly crushed black pepper. Toss well. Do a taste test here and add any seasonings if required .

 5. When the toasted bread slices are brown and still hot , rub the peeled garlic cloves on to the slices. This will infuse lovely flavor to the bread.

 6. Now place a tablespoon of prepared bruschetta topping on each bread slice and our flavorful sweet corn and tomato bruschetta is ready to serve .

  • The baguette slices can be toasted ahead of time , but once the salad topping is added to the toasted slices, serve immediately as the bread may turn soggy.
  • You may add grated cheese over the topping if desired.
  • Sauteing the veggies is optional , you make keep it raw if you like it.
  • If you do not have baguette , you may use regular whole wheat or multi grain bread slices, cut it to bite size pieces and toast it. 

I hope you would love to try out this easy appetizer for yourself. If you do so feel free to share your feed back with us. Follow me on #Facebook , #Instagram , #Twitter and #Google+ for more recipes and new updates.

For more similar recipes, do check my posts on 



If you are looking for more recipes from Italian cuisine, check the following posts from my blog