On our last trip to Palampur in Himachal Pradesh we got to taste a soulful Kangri Dham at The Tea Room restaurant inside Wah Tea Estate. It is a traditional non onion garlic vegetarian meal that is prepared on auspicious occasions. The dishes vary from region to region and hence every region has a distinctive dham. The most popular one is the Kangri dham that is from the Kangra district. There is a predominance of lentils and dairy products in Dham as vegetables are sparse in these mountainous regions. Moreover, it is served on leaf plates and is eaten sitting on the floor in rows.
Today's episode captures our tryst with Dham in a very unique and picturesque setting i.e amidst a tea garden. The restaurant where we tried it prepares it in a traditional manner. On reaching there we met Chef Pankaj who is a localite. He gave us a detailed overview about the dham and then moved on to show us some of the preparations. We came to know how it is mostly prepared in brass or iron vessels and in mustard oil. All the food is prepared over woodfire and hence it is clearly a laborious task that is executed with teamwork and great expertise. Here at the Tea Room's kitchen Pankaj Ji was the one man army managing the whole preparation with calmness.
To save time, some of the dishes of this meal were already prepared so we got to witness the making of just chuare ka raita, palda, teliya mah, kale chane ka khatta and rice along with khatta meat and mushroom ka madra. The second last dish is not a part of the dham but a traditional non veg curry. Mushroom ka madra was a slight deviation from the usual madra because it had onion garlic in it. Overall pr
Soon after we joined Upasana and Kaveri at the outdoor setting area with pretty tea bushes in the backdrop for relishing the dham. The meal was served in a regular cutlery because here the main idea is to introduce the tourists and visitors to this beautiful food tradition in a convenient setting. The dham was accompanied by the khatta meat. The dishes in the dham included rice, chuare ka raita (dry dates curry), teliya mah (black lentil dish), palda (vegetable in yogurt curry), kala chane ka khatta (tangy black chickpea curry), mushroom ka madra (mushroom cooked in a yogurt gravy) and meethe chawal (sweet rice). Everything was very hearty and homely.
After a small break we set out on a short food tour across Palampur. The first stop was Cliffy's restaurant, a very popular South Indian eatery. It is a chic place with a serene outdoors. The food here is mostly classic Tamilian dishes as the couple who own this place are from Tamil Nadu. Here we tried some paniyaram, podi idli and cold coffee that had a very authentic taste.
The second stop was Ganga Ji's Shop where we tried one of the best samosa. It is basically a grocery shop where Ganga Ram ji also serves a limited batch of delicious samosa that he makes on his own. In spite of a big accident that caused him major physical injury, he continues with his work.
The third stop was Bobby Bun Tikki, a small yet busy cart selling the local favourite bun tikki. It is a bun stuffed with potato patty and salad. We loved this unique snack. The last stop was Treet Ice Cream Parlour which is a local ice cream company. Here we polished off a rabri ice cream.
We are extremely thankful to The Tea Room at wah for hosting us for the dham experience.