Wednesday, 4 December 2013

What is Punjabi Cuisine

Punjabis are big-time food lovers, preferring a wide variety in their menu. They are full of life and their food too reflects this liveliness. Punjabi food forms an important part of the North Indian cuisine, which appeals to the taste of many. The people in this state generally go for spicy foods and use oil and ghee to a considerably higher extent. There are no intricate marinades or exotic sauces, but an exuberant use of masalas, with a liberal addition of oil or ghee.

The people of Punjab prefer wheat to rice; though they do have rice occasionally. In roti itself, you find such a wide variety that you are left to wonder about Punjabi cuisine's versatility. Makke ki Roti (chapati made of corn) and stuffed paranthas have wide popularity. Milk and milk products are also commonly used by the people here. Curd and butter milk are important concomitants of a Punjabi meal. Lassi, made out of curd, is a popular drink of Punjab, which satisfactorily quenches the thirst in summers.

One can easily notice a disparity within Punjab, as per the choice of food. For instance, the people in Amritsar go for stuffed paranthas and milk products, whereas Malwa inhabitants prefer bajra khitchdi more. One thing that runs common throughout the Punjab is the wide use of onion, garlic, ginger and tomatoes, as the common masala for most food items. People also regularly use garam masalas like cardamom, cinnamon, mace and bay leaf in their food preparation. Besides they usually garnish their food with finely-cut coriander leaves and juliennes of ginger.

A variety of breads are prepared with Wheat and Maize as they are the staple food grains of Punjab. Lentils like Black gram and Yellow gram are a must in Punjabi cuisine and so are the Rotis (Breads) and Curd. Milk and milk products is synonymous and plays an important role in the Punjabi Recipes & diet.

Punjabi cuisine is wholesome and is full of rustic flavor. Even today, the custom of cooking in community ovens or tandoors prevails in rural areas. Tandoori dishes are popular all over the country today. Naans, parathas, and rotis made of maize or wheat flour are typical Punjabi breads. Most of these are prepared in the tandoors and served hot with a chunk of butter of Desi ghee and a plate of onions, green chilly and lime.

Some of the well known dishes of Punjabi food made from Pulses, Beans or lentils preparations are :

Dal Makhani ( Mah di Dal), Dal Maharani, Dal Amritsari, Rajma, Choley, Sarson da saag etc.

Popular Punjabi Breads :

Punjabi breads generally are flat and only a few varieties are raised breads. The breads are made with different types of flours and can be made in various methods like:

Naan, Tandoori roti, Kulcha, Laccha Parathas are baked in a tandoor.

Chapati, Phulka, Jowar ki roti, Baajre ki roti and Makke ki roti are dry baked on the Tawa (Indian Griddle).

Puris and Bhatura (fermented dough) are deep fried.

Chicken and Meat preparations like Sheekh Kebab, Tandoori Chicken, Reshmi Tikka, Malai Tikka are prepared in a tandoor.

Few of the exclusively Punjabi popular combination platters are :
Makke ki roti and Sarson da saag ( Is a flat bread made of corn and mustard greens ) 

  • Jeera Chawal and Rajmah ( Cumin Rice and Red Kidney beans )
  • Pindi Chole and Bhatura
  • Aloo Paratha and Dahi or Mooli Paratha and Dahi
  • Tandoori Roti and Dal Makhani

Punjabi food is also served with condiments Pickles garnishes like :

Achars : Gajar Shalgam Gobhi, Kala Nimbu, Mixed Vegetable Achar

Salad : Thin slices of onions, tomatoes, fresh hari mirch ( hot green peppers ) with lime wedges garnished with chopped fresh coriander leaves (Cilantro).

Lassi (sweetened whipped yoghurt), Kanji (fermented carrots) and Chaach are some of the popular beverages of Punjabi cuisine.

As Punjabis are predominantly wheat eating people, they cook rice only on special occasions. Rice is either cooked plain and served with rajma or kadhi or steamed and made with a flavoring of cumin or fried onions. Mostly in Winters, rice is cooked with jaggery as a delicacy called Rao ki kheer, where rice is cooked on a slow fire for hours together with sugar cane juice.

Kheer is one of the main desserts of Punjabi desserts and they are rich and delicious.

Vegetarian Dishes

  •     Sarson ka Saag (Mustard leaves curry)
  •     Dal Makhani/ Dal Handi (curry of pulses)
  •     Choley (generally eaten with Naan)
  •     Punj Ratani Dal (a mixtute of 5 lentils)
  •     Kadhai Paneer
  •     Shahi Paneer 


Nidhi Jain [ MBA eComm]
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