We all know about the Kashmiri Waazwan but did you know that a similar kind of treat awaits you in the gorgeous state of Himachal Pradesh? By Japleen Kaur
Dham was originally a system that would have six-eight courses all served in one plate on important occasions or at weddings. Only Brahmins called Bhotis used to prep these meals but as time passed, more and more people have adopted this method of eating across the region.
The legend says that a long time ago when Jaistambh was the king of Himachal he wanted something just like the Waazwan but with vegetarian delicacies. And so, the Dham was born. During that time vegetation was not possible in hilly areas and hence till date Dham consists of only lentils and dairy. Though over time, according to the things available in different terrains, the Dham evolved and started including meat on the menu in some regions.
What you’ll always find on your plate is — chana dal, kadhi (made out of curd), maa ki dal, khatta (chana cooked in tangy sauces), meetha (made out of boondi and khoya), and rajma on most days. While this meal is a sure-shot thing during weddings, nowadays you even get them at local restaurants, especially in Kangra and Chamba areas.
These dishes are slow cooked for around seven-eight hours in pots that are kept underground. Basically, cooking is done in an all natural, all organic way to keep the nutrients intact. Thus, even when it’s so much food at one go, you can digest it well, and not feel bloated.
Traditionally, Dham is eaten while sitting down on the floor with the courses being served to you, one after the other. The right way to eat to it? Dig in with your hands.
A wholesome meal, with a lot of history, next time you’re in Himachal, you know what your sure-shot meal is going to be.