Category Archives: Culture of Himachal Pradesh

Pahadi Dish FAQs by Himachali Locals

If you live, travel and stay in Himachal Pradesh then, you are already aware of what Pahadi people call their unique Dishes. There are more than 50 dishes to mention here, we’ll only mention the most unique and less well-known dishes Himachali and Uttarakhandi people make at their home. This blog will only include the shortest description for every single mentioned dish below.

Here’s the List of Unique yet Tastiest Pahadi Dishes:

1. What is Sidoo or Siddu?

A flour based steamed dish which contains many ingredients to fill-up with the mix of these ingredients into the hollow piece of well mixed wheat flour. Then, Pahadi’s treat it with steam and heated until it gets fully baked from inside too. Then, it gets served with home-made sauce or chutney.

There are a number of ingredients people used to fill in Siddu’s but main of those ingredients are poppy seeds, Walnut, Almonds, Chili flakes, roasted Cumin-Coriander powder, Turmeric and Salt etc.

2. What is Redoo(रेड़ू):

Redu or Redoo is a salty dish with lassi and rice in it. It is one of the most common of these and is majorly common in Kangra and Neighbour districts of Kangra. This dish is usually half treated with heat, don’t heat and treat it fully on stove.

3. What is Palda(पलदा):

Palda is known by many names like Kaddu, Palada, Palda etc. A very similar dish to the above Redu but the main difference is it container Curd with Tadka.

4. What is Kalakadu(कलाकड़ू):

A rare but unique kind of Kakdi which is used to make a mix-veg like dish out of it. Read more.

5. What is Lonku:

Lonku is a vegetable known for its recipes like Lauki etc. This is also used to make it easy to make quick snacks like Katlu/Pakodas etc. Read more!

6. What is Badiyan(धूड़ा पेठा वड़ियां):

After griding an Ash guard and mixing it with a Flour (Besan, Wheat). Pahadi people make Vadiyan(Raw pakodas from that mix). This mix is then dried in direct sunlight. Then, people save them to make a Aaloo vadiyan like sabzi using those Ash Guard pakodas.

7. What is Surr(सुर):

A most famous yet unique kind of Pahadi drink which contains Alcohol and used to get a chill fell and hangover in winters like Alcohol and hash. People usually make it at home using some seeds and grains.

8. What is Lugdi(लुगड़ी):

Lugdi is a viscous drinking liquid people used to extract while making rice in non-cooker vessels. When rice gets heated up correctly and ready to use, you can extract its liquid to drink it after mixing a pinch of salt.

9. What is Jholl(झोल)

In Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, Jhol is well known for a drug-based drink. Its main ingredient is rice. Usually, it can be purchased only in factories and their wholesale markets only.

10. What is Sund or Sonth:

It is known as many names in many states but majorly it is a desi-ghee mixed Laddo of made at home for healthy immune and energy gain. People usually make these laddu’s or mixed for regular eating in Winter season. No. of ingredients used in these laddus are Ginger powder, Raw and dry sugarcane Gudd, life dry coconut, Wheat, Desi Ghee, Almonds, Pista & Gond etc. This is very common yet healthy dish for regular eating in all of the north India. Read more!

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Unique Natural Vegetables in Himachal Pradesh

Being a Pahadi/Himachali resident for more than 25 years of time, I have explored many good, Vitamin rich, seasonal and easy to find vegetables for free. These vegetables can be found in forests, near crop fields etc. Some of these vegetables are only available at landslide like areas for example Tardi, Jimi Kand etc. Most of these vegetables can only be found in rural and Pahadi areas such as Himachal Pradesh, Jammu, Uttarakhand, States in north-east of India etc.

Collage by Naveen Bhatia

In this blog, I’ll tell you everything I know about these veggies along with areas where these can be found and their local names as well.

Free Pahadi Vegetable are listed below:

1. Turdi(तरड़ी की सब्जी )

It’s a one-of-a-kind vegetable we get in Kangra(कांगडा़) District of Himachal Pradesh in the form of a root inside the soil. You just have to dig deeper after finding a plant of it or find a well grown plant of it at steep/inclined places where it is easier to dig soil to find root of Tardi plant. You can recognize its leafy plant by having a look at its leaf (See image attached below). This plant can only be found in season of Winters only.

Image Source: Himalayan Wild Food Plants

Its roots are the real vegetable (See attached images below) you need to dig deeper than 2 feet usually. This leafy plant can be found in forests.

Image Source: Himalayan Wild Food Plants

2. Lashade(Lush-yade/लसैड़े)

This is one of the most common season vegetables people used to make in district Kangra of Himachal Pradesh. There are more than 1 way to make the dish out of these small pieces like marbles but, the most famous one is chatpata chutney kind of taste with amazing kind of texture in it. It can be found on trees known for it and these trees are only common in rural areas or in forests/jungle kind of areas too in the district. Back in lockdown, we found some of its trees in some Punjabi urban areas too.

Image Source: Navbharat Times

3. Bhrooni(Dhoodhe Ka Saag/भ्रूणी)

It is known as one of the most famous Saag in Kangra district for this seasonal vegetable. This is totally natural and cannot be found in agricultural places to buy plants of it. Winter season comes with many vegetables like Bhrooni, Lashyade etc. It is one of the best Saag I’ve eaten till date and the Saag is known for its Dhooni technique which is nothing but a technique to give it a different flavor through Coal. Its naturally grown are very common to see in Kangra and other districts of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Image Source: Himtimes

4. Vasant Phool (Amaltas Flowers/वसंत)

Vasant flowers or Amaltas flowers are seasonal and can only be seen in naturally grown 3-6 feet high plants in Spring season. These flowers are tasty enough to use as main element to make Pakoda’s or Katlu(Local dish; Flat Pakodas). People collect these flowers and make bhajiyas out of them. Flowers are easy to collect as this grow on small plants in high numbers. The taste of these pakodas cannot be compared with others in the same category. There are more recepies to make drinks, curries from these seasonal flowers.

Image Source: Fayde aur Nuksan

5. Lungdu(Lingda/लुंगड़ू)

Lungdu is well known but rare to find in most of the areas as Lungdu usually grows in permanent watery places like rivers, canals, kulhs(Local name of small canals made for crops) etc. But you can find Lungdu’s in all local vegetable markets and shops in the season of Winter.

Image Source: Signup Trending Nature

In Himachal, there are 2 types of areas/soil

  • Changar/चंगर
  • Palam/पल़म.

Changar areas are known for their dry soil and hills while Palam areas are known for their moisture and watery areas and soil.
Lungdu’s are usually found in Palam areas while Bhrooni, Turdi, Vasant Phool and Lashyade are more common to find in Changar areas.

6. Braahn Phool (Braahn Flowers)

These are also flowers and these flowers only grow in mountains like Dhauladhar Parvat etc. You can find them in Rainy, summer as well as in Winter season for making drinks, chutneys and pakoras etc. These flowers have great benefits lined up in a row for humans as well as for pets like Cow, Bufalos etc. You can buy these flowers in vegetable markets only.

Image Source: Ruchiajay ki easy recipes/YouTube

7. Ambua(Unripe Mango)

I hope some of you already know about dishes Himachali people make from ripe and unripe Mangoes. Mangoes are very common to find, pick and also can be bought at shops and stores. But the dishes we make out of mangoes is still only limited to villages and Pahadi regions. Ambua is most loved in this list of vegetables/dishes as mangoes are easy to find and are affordable in India. Ambua is a gravy based mixture of spicy, juicy and salty sweet dish which people used to make and eat in rainy and pre-winter seasons.

Image Source: Amazon India

8. Tatt-Mor(Tamtor or Junglee Mushroom)

You may have seen many types of artificially made mushrooms in your vegetable markets but there are some other types of mushrooms which cannot be really found in any of these places or markets, known as Tamtor/Tatt-Mor. Tatt-Mors are edible kind of natural grown fungi/mushrooms which are non-toxic and have many minerals and vitamins within them. Tatt-Mors can only be found in crop fields in the rainy season. These Tatt-Mors grow to 1-2 maximum in number at a time. There are many naturally grown mushrooms which can be eaten and are useful for humans too such as Bhatmori/भतमोरियां(Grow in 100s of numbers and are smaller than Tatt-mors), Tatalan/टटालां, Khumb/खुंमब etc. We’ll cover all these in our upcoming blogs.

Image Source: News18 Hindi

9. Badi Nali (Nari Saag)

Badi Nali saag is very rare to find but grows in watery places like near rivers and canals etc. In Himachal, people used to have small artificial canals in between their crop fields to water their plants. It grows naturally and only a few people recognize it as Badi Nali. This is one of the most tasties dry saag vegetable but you can only find this in the Palam areas.

Image Source: Navbharat times

10. Choo/Chooyi Nali (छू-नली दी भुजी)

This Saag also comes in the same category as Badi Nali but the main difference is Choo Nali can be eaten as dry as well as gravy like saag. Both Choo Nali and Badi Nali grow in watery places like rivers and Baodi’s(ground water storage for drinking).

Image Source: Himalayan Diaries/YouTube

11. Karali (Karali/Kachnar Flowers)

This is the most used yet multipurpose vegetable we Pahadi people get from Kachnar trees. Sometimes, it is used as saag like a dish, on the other hand its flowers are also used as main ingredient to make pakodas. Pahadi pakodas are different in shape from Halwai pakodas. These pakodas we used to make are flat shaped and made in vessels where we used to make our rotis. This vegetable can only be found in trees in Pre-holi season which is also known as Winter to pre-summer season.

Image Source: Fusion Kitchen

12. Kooku (Banana Tree’s Flower)

Kooku is a flower grown in Banana trees and is rare enough in banana trees. This is used to make dishes like mix-veg and tastes just like Cabbage dishes. This vegetable cannot be found in markets but is easy to find in villages. This vegetable grows in Rainy and Winter season mostly.

Image Source: Margaret Saheed/Redbubble

13. Maanu(Child Bamboo Tree)

Maanu is an edible yet unique kind of vegetable and can only be found in between Bamboo trees in Rainy season. Whenever you see a tiny size child bamboo covered with small covers of layers, it is Maanu. You can make a mixed-veg like dish out of it. This is a protein and water rich dish you’ll ever eat. By the eay, almost every rainy season’s vegetable grown naturally is water rich in content.

Image Source:

14. Khukhni

Khukhni just looks like Choo nali but grows in Wheat crop fields. This is very common even in urban areas and can be used to make dry saag out of it. There are some other non-toxic saags you can find in urban areas just like Khukhni i.e. Bathu, Bhrooni etc.

Image Source: Go Botany Native Plant Trust

15. Tirmira

Tirmira is one of the rare in 2022 to find but is very minty flavored. naturally grown leafed used to make chutney/sauce. Tirmira cannot be found in markets but is rich in minerals and vitamins. When you eat its leaf, it gives you sweet mint behavior on your tongue. It grows in trees and can be found in any season.

Image Source:
Hospital de Câncer de Barretos

16. Ellu/Sesame Seeds

Ellus are used to make chutney for winter and summer seasons and these can be found near rivers only. Ellus are seeds of naturally grown, small plants near watery areas. There are many chutneys people used to make from these seasonal seeds.

Image Source: indiaMART

17. Ran-baani(Pahadi Cactus Flower) & Gangu Choo (Pinkish Fruit in Cactus)

This is most rare to find among these unique vegetables but is good enough to be consumed in rural areas if you find the right flower/middle sticks of Ran-Bani cactuses. It can be seen only in Winters. Unfortunately, we haven’t found any image of the original Ran Bani Cactus but we managed to find Gangu Choo photographs, see below attached.

Gangu Choo is a fruit that comes from junglee cactus having pinkish color. These fruits have tiny natural needles which can make your thoughts suffer a lot. So, clean or cut them before eating and always wash them carefully.

Image Source: indiaMART

18. Kachaalu/Arbi

It’s a root just like Turdi and grown artificially by people in villages. These can be found in markets as well as in villages. People used to make Patrode(Kachalu Pakoda), Saag, Arbi dish etc. using this vegetable. Kachalu mainly means big enough leafs converted into Patrodas/Patodas etc.

Image Source: Pinterest

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