Pahaadi Pijja, Mountain Pizza from Kufri, Himachal Pradesh

Pahaadi Pijja, they call that for Mountain Pizza! And that is what we had as sweet dish at a dhaba (roadside inn) on our way to Chail from Kufri.After a sumptuous lunch, the dhaba owner was very keen to treat us to this specialty of his place. “You must taste this mountain pizza” he insisted… “this is much tastier than the ones you get in your cities” he bragged. He got me curious.. he says it is a sweet dish and then he says it is a pizza.. what could it be?! I positioned myself near his chulha (stove) burning bright with pieces of red hot coal, to take pictures and learn the way he makes it.

Mountain Pizza Preparation

He started off with a rolling out a roti (Indian bread), lightly heated it up both sides. It wasn’t fully cooked yet. This looked simple, at least I can start on my own at home… I thought.

Mountain Pizza

Next he sprinkled some grounded gud (jaggery) on it and then poured ghee (clarified butter) very generously over the whole roti. “It is not going to take long” he kept assuring while going through the process. “This will keep your body warm” he said, as if to highlight ts food value.The ingredients looked fine and easily available types to me.

 

Mountain Pizza from Kufri

Next he placed it on a mesh grill and placed it directly on the coal burning bright inside the chulha. Soon a slight aroma of ghee wafted around, it was making me impatient and curious. The ingredients that went in should definitely produce wonderful results.

Needless to say the result was mouth watering. The gud and ghee melted and mixed; and was sizzling and teasing. The golden glow on it was a stamp of perfection, a little more heat would have spoilt it, I concluded. The chef now ran his pizza cutter on the freshly made mountain pizza criss-cross. It took lot of effort from my end to not grab at the pieces.

Then forgetting all my worries of calories I placed a piece in my mouth. Slowly I chewed on it. It was different! A crispy pizza oozing with sweet juices! It looked amazingly simple contrary to the first impression I got when he said pahaadi pijja. Such local flavors enhance the joy of travel!
Bonbibi, Saviour of Sundarbans Forest
Bula Fiji - “Hello” in the Fijian Tongue

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