Grains and pulses are given most respectable treatment in Himachal Pradesh. The first produce of the season is always offered to Gram Devta, the village deity.
Maize, covering largest portion of the cropping area, is the staple food of the region, still boiled rice and pulses are preferred diets of the people. Rice is the most revered one and it is used to propitiate dieties in almost all the worships. A community lunch on any festive occasion in Himachal Pradesh starts with boiled rice. This typical lunch reserves a place apart dishes of pulses called madra, beans cooked in curd; telia mah, whole urad or mah (a pulse) in oil; moong rai daal, mustard flavoured green grams; and mhani, sour whole grams. The festive meal is cooked larths of stone and mud, erected for the purpose, in which logs of wood are burnt to keep the giant pots humming by Botis, a caste of Brahmins who are heriditary chefs. The flavours, fragrances and aroma of these hot and spicy dishes have, now, brought these to the dining table of any modern home. While immunity lunch cooked in the traditional way has its own savours, the touch of housewife and mothers of famiilies make the dishes no less relishing in the in the kitchens equipped with gas stoves and burners.
The people in hills, with little irrigation facilities, end heavily on the wind pattern that is harbinger of rains in
No wonder, a festival called Minjar, ear or spike of corn, at Chamba, a picturesque town on the north of Himachal Pradesh is celebrated in honour of the maize crop. On a Sunday during monsoons, greetings and minjars are exchanged among the families in anticipation of a rich maize crop propitiating Varun, the rain God. Beautifully dressed women, singing and dancing immerse minjars in
One of the most liked steamed preparations of maize is Pacholtu.