'Lesu’ is a traditional Pahari dish that originates from the hilly regions of India, particularly Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. It’s a versatile and nourishing dish made from roasted and ground grains, commonly barley or finger millet (ragi). To prepare Lesu, the chosen grains are roasted until they turn golden brown, enhancing their nutty flavor. The roasted grains are then ground into a coarse flour. This flour is mixed with water to create a thick batter, similar to a porridge consistency. The batter is seasoned with ingredients like ghee (clarified butter), salt, and occasionally spices such as cumin or black pepper.
The batter is then cooked on a griddle or tawa, much like a pancake, until it forms a golden crust on both sides. The result is a flatbread with a rustic texture and a wholesome taste. Lesu is often enjoyed with ghee, yogurt, or a simple side of vegetables. It’s a reflection of Pahari cuisine’s practicality, as it utilizes locally grown grains and offers a satiating meal. This dish not only satisfies hunger but also embodies the simplicity and resourcefulness that define Pahari cooking, connecting the region’s culinary heritage with its cultural and environmental context.