Having more interest in food than just to satisfy palate, I have always been very keen to try new recipe/cuisine whenever possible.
On recent visit to Himachal, we stopped at Chail Palace for lunch, and here we got introduced to Himachali dishes. The restaurant also serves popular cuisines like Indian, Chinese & Continental.
We went with server’s suggestion and ordered Chaah Meat & Chicken Anardana listed as Himachali specialities. Apart from this we ordered regular Dal Makhani, Kadai Paneer and Aloo Subji.
Our server on discovering our keen interest in food and questions on Himachali food insisted on trying Himachali Kadi. Since substantial dishes were already ordered we resisted, but finally gave in to his insistence.
We eagerly waited for food to arrive in the restaurant that was one of the Royal Rooms in erstwhile days. The food got served much faster than our expectation and the aroma along with texture added to the excitement.
Chaah Meat, a popular non vegetarian curry in Himachal, has boneless mutton cooked in Chaah (whey left after churning butter which is called lassi in north India). The pieces were tender and the taste reminded me of Kashmiri dishes that are again curd based. The Chicken Anardana (dried pomegranate seeds, also known as Daddu in local language) on first bite did not taste much different, but by the third bite the tinge of seeds built up and taste had grown. I also got to know that there are local versions as well like food from Kangra, Mandi, Kullu, Laul & Spiti and the Chaah Meat was a dish from Mandi. The origination of Chicken Anardana or Daddu Chicken could not be ascertained.
Dal Makhani, Aloo Subji and Kadai Paneer were also nice. I would specially like to mention about Tandoori Rotis. They were slightly thick and crisp, exactly the way I like. The grandeur and tranquillity of place supplemented the enjoyment.
I am now enthused to further explore Himachali Cuisine that I would as and when we visit other areas of Himachal.
Ed: Rajeev Sood says: “The Dham — A Famous Himachali Traditional Festive Meal cooked only by hereditary chefs. Preparations begins the night before. It is served in courses on epattalsi or leaf plates. In the Chamba region, the typical menu for a dham wo…uld start with rice, moong dal (green lentil broth) and a madrah of rajma (red kidney beans) cooked in yoghurt. This is followed by boor ki kari and a dark lentil (mash dal). Topped by khatta (sweet and sour sauce) made of tamarind and gur (jaggery), the dham ends with the mittha (dessert) – sweet rice, liberally mixed with raisins and dry fruit”. Thanks Rajeev, your inputs have further enhanced our knowledge of Himachali food.
Rating out of 5
Food : 3.5, Ambience: 3.5, Service:4.0 | Overall: 3.5
Meal for two: Rs 600 | Alcohol: Yes
Address: Chail Palace, Chail, Himachal Pradesh
– Aman Kapoor