The food of Punjab, a state in northern India, is renowned for its rich and vibrant culinary tradition.

Punjabi cuisine is characterized by its robust flavors, generous use of spices, and hearty ingredients.

Here are some famous foods from Punjab

Sarson da Saag and Makki di Roti-Food of Punjab

This iconic Punjabi dish consists of mustard greens (sarson) and spinach (palak) cooked together with spices, ginger, and garlic, and served with maize flour bread (makki di roti). It is a popular winter delicacy and is often enjoyed with a dollop of butter or ghee.

“Sarson da Saag” and “Makki di Roti” are iconic and traditional dishes that are considered the quintessential Punjabi meal. These dishes are particularly popular in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan, where they are enjoyed as a hearty and wholesome meal, especially during the winter months.

Here’s a closer look at both of these dishes:

Sarson da Saag

Sarson da Saag is a vegetarian dish primarily made from mustard greens (sarson) and other leafy greens such as spinach and bathua (chenopodium album). These greens are washed, finely chopped, and then boiled until tender.

After boiling, the greens are traditionally hand-churned using a wooden tool called a “madhani” to create a coarse puree. Nowadays, blenders or food processors are often used for convenience.

The pureed greens are then cooked further with various spices and seasonings. Common ingredients include ginger, garlic, green chilies, and ghee (clarified butter), along with spices like cumin, coriander, and red chili powder.

The dish is typically simmered until it thickens and the flavors meld together. It’s known for its rich, earthy taste and slightly bitter undertones.

Makki di Roti

Makki di Roti is also a type of Indian unleavened flatbread made from maize flour (cornmeal), specifically using coarsely ground maize. This gives the roti a distinct yellow color and a slightly grainy texture.

To make Makki di Roti, maize flour is mixed with water and kneaded into a stiff dough. It doesn’t have the same elasticity as wheat flour, so it can be a bit challenging to work with.

The dough is divided into small portions, which are then rolled out into flatbreads by patting or using a rolling pin. These flatbreads are typically thicker and smaller in diameter compared to wheat-based rotis.

They are cooked on a hot griddle or tava with a drizzle of ghee until they become golden brown and crispy.

Sarson da Saag and Makki di Roti are also often served together as a classic combination.

The rich and flavorful saag pairs perfectly with the rustic and slightly sweet taste of the maize flatbread.

 

Butter Chicken-Food of Punjab

Butter Chicken, also known as Murgh Makhani, is a globally recognized Punjabi dish. It features succulent pieces of chicken cooked in a rich and creamy tomato-based gravy. The dish is flavored with a blend of spices, cream, and butter, and garnished with Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves).

 

Here’s a brief overview of this delicious dish

Ingredients

  • Chicken pieces (usually boneless and skinless)
  • Tomatoes
  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Various spices, such as garam masala, cumin, coriander, and chili powder
  • Yogurt (for marinating the chicken)
  • Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • Salt and sugar (to taste)

Preparation

  1. Marinate the chicken pieces in yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, and a mix of spices for several hours or overnight to enhance the flavor and tenderness of the meat.
  2. Grill or cook the marinated chicken until it’s partially cooked and has a nice char or grill marks.
  3. In a separate pan, prepare the tomato-based sauce. Start by sautéing onions, ginger, and garlic in butter until they become soft and translucent.
  4. Add tomatoes, spices (like garam masala, cumin, coriander, and chili powder), and cook until the tomatoes break down and release their juices.
  5. Blend the tomato mixture into a smooth sauce, and then return it to the pan.
  6. Add cream to the tomato sauce and simmer, allowing the flavors to meld and the sauce to thicken.
  7. Add the partially cooked chicken pieces to the sauce and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and tender. Adjust the seasoning with salt and sugar to taste.
  8. Finish the dish by sprinkling kasuri methi over the top and adding a bit more butter and cream for richness.

Butter Chicken is typically served with naan, roti, or steamed rice. Its creamy and slightly sweet tomato sauce, combined with the tender chicken, makes it a beloved dish not only in Punjab but also in Indian restaurants around the world. It’s a comfort food that has won the hearts of food enthusiasts globally.

Chole Bhature-Food of Punjab

Chole Bhature is also a popular Punjabi dish that consists of spicy chickpea curry (chole) and deep-fried bread (bhature). The chickpeas are cooked with a blend of spices, onions, and tomatoes, resulting in a flavorful and tangy curry. Bhature, made from refined flour, is soft and fluffy, making it a perfect accompaniment to the spicy chole.

Chole Bhature is another popular and iconic dish from the Punjab region of India. It’s a classic North Indian dish that consists of two main components: Chole (spiced chickpea curry) and Bhature (deep-fried bread). This combination is a beloved street food and restaurant favorite across India and beyond.

Here’s an overview of Chole Bhature:

Chole (Chickpea Curry): Ingredients:

  • Chickpeas (white or brown, soaked and cooked)
  • Onion
  • Tomato
  • Ginger-garlic paste
  • Spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, and red chili powder
  • Green chilies
  • Amchur (dried mango powder)
  • Cooking oil
  • Salt and sugar (to taste)
  • Fresh coriander leaves (for garnish)

Preparation:

  1. In a pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds. When they sizzle, add chopped onions and sauté until they become translucent.
  2. Add ginger-garlic paste and green chilies, followed by chopped tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and the oil starts to separate.
  3. Add the spices (coriander, turmeric, red chili powder, garam masala), salt, sugar, and amchur to the tomato mixture. Stir well.
  4. Add cooked chickpeas to the mixture, along with some water. Simmer until the chickpeas are heated through and the flavors meld.
  5. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves before serving.

Bhature (Deep-Fried Bread): Ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Semolina (sooji)
  • Yogurt
  • Baking powder
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Cooking oil (for deep frying)

Preparation:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour, semolina, yogurt, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Mix well.
  2. Gradually add water and knead the mixture into a smooth and soft dough. Let it rest for a few hours to allow it to rise and ferment slightly.
  3. Divide the dough into small portions and roll them into balls. Flatten each ball with a rolling pin into a circular shape.
  4. Heat oil in a deep frying pan. When the oil is hot, carefully slide in the flattened dough and fry until it puffs up and turns golden brown on both sides.

Chole Bhature is often served with accompaniments like pickle, sliced onions, and achaar (Indian pickles). It’s a hearty and flavorful dish that combines the spicy and tangy chickpea curry with the deep-fried, fluffy Bhature. It’s a popular choice for breakfast, brunch, or lunch and is enjoyed by people of all ages, making it a quintessential part of Punjabi cuisine.

Amritsari Fish-Food of Punjab

Amritsari Fish is a specialty of Punjab, particularly from the city of Amritsar. It features freshwater fish, such as Singhara or Tilapia, marinated in a mixture of spices and gram flour (besan). The fish is then deep-fried to perfection, resulting in a crispy exterior and tender, flavorful flesh.

Amritsari Fish is a famous and delicious Punjabi dish that originates from the city of Amritsar in the Punjab region of India. It is known for its flavorful and crispy fish fillets, which are marinated in a spiced gram flour (besan) batter and deep-fried to perfection.

Here’s how you can make Amritsari Fish at home:

Ingredients:

For the marinade:
  • 500 grams of boneless fish fillets (such as tilapia, cod, or sole)
  • 1 cup gram flour (besan)
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour (optional, for extra crispiness)
  • 1 tablespoon red chili powder (adjust to your spice preference)
  • 1 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Water, as needed to make a thick batter
  • Cooking oil for deep frying
For garnish:
  • Chaat masala
  • Lemon wedges
  • Fresh coriander leaves

Instructions:

  1. Cut the fish fillets into bite-sized pieces or strips and set them aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine gram flour, rice flour (if using), red chili powder, carom seeds, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt, ginger-garlic paste, and lemon juice.
  3. Gradually add water to the dry ingredients while stirring to create a thick and smooth batter. The batter should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  4. Heat oil in a deep frying pan or a deep fryer to around 350-375°F (175-190°C).
  5. Dip each piece of fish into the prepared batter, ensuring it is evenly coated. Shake off any excess batter.
  6. Carefully place the battered fish pieces into the hot oil one by one. Fry in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan, which can lower the oil temperature and make the fish less crispy.
  7. Fry the fish until it turns golden brown and crisp on the outside, which should take about 3-4 minutes per batch. Use a slotted spoon to remove the fried fish and drain them on paper towels to remove excess oil.
  8. Sprinkle chaat masala over the hot Amritsari Fish for added flavor.Serve immediately with lemon wedges and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Amritsari Fish is typically enjoyed as a snack or appetizer, often served with green chutney or tamarind chutney. It’s known for its crispy exterior and flavorful, spiced coating, making it a favorite street food and restaurant dish in the Punjab region and beyond.

Tandoori Chicken-Food of Punjab

Tandoori Chicken is a classic Punjabi dish that has gained popularity worldwide. Chicken pieces are marinated in a mixture of yogurt, spices, and tandoori masala, which imparts a vibrant red color and a smoky flavor. The marinated chicken is then cooked in a tandoor (clay oven), resulting in a succulent and charred exterior.

Paneer Tikka-Food of Punjab

Paneer Tikka is a popular vegetarian appetizer in Punjabi cuisine. It involves marinating cubes of paneer (Indian cottage cheese) with yogurt, spices, and tandoori masala. The marinated paneer is then skewered along with bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes and grilled until golden and slightly charred.

Lassi

Lassi is a refreshing Punjabi beverage made from yogurt, water, and sugar. It can be enjoyed in various flavors, such as sweet, salted, or with added fruit like mango. Lassi is often served in tall glasses and is a popular drink to beat the summer heat.

Malai Lassi is a creamy and indulgent yogurt-based drink that hails from the Indian subcontinent, and it’s especially popular in the Punjab region. It’s a perfect refreshment for hot summer days or as a soothing accompaniment to spicy Indian meals.

Here’s how you can make Malai Lassi:

Ingredients:

  • Yogurt: Use thick, full-fat yogurt for a rich and creamy texture.
  • Milk: You can use regular or full-fat milk.
  • Sugar: Adjust the sugar quantity to your taste preferences.
  • Heavy cream (malai): This is what gives the lassi its rich and creamy texture.
  • Rosewater or cardamom powder (optional): These are optional flavorings that can enhance the taste.
  • Ice cubes (optional): If you want your lassi to be colder and more refreshing.
  • Saffron strands or pistachio slivers for garnish (optional).

Instructions:

  1. Start by taking about 1 cup of yogurt in a blender.
  2. Add an equal amount of milk. The ratio of yogurt to milk can be adjusted to achieve your desired thickness.
  3. Add sugar to taste. Begin with a couple of tablespoons and adjust based on your preference for sweetness.
  4. Pour in heavy cream (malai) for richness and creaminess. Usually, a few tablespoons are sufficient, but you can adjust according to your preference.
  5. If you like, you can add a splash of rosewater or a pinch of cardamom powder for extra flavor. These are optional and can be adjusted to taste.
  6. Add ice cubes if you want your lassi to be colder and more refreshing.
  7. Blend all the ingredients together until you get a smooth and frothy mixture. If it’s too thick, you can add more milk to reach your desired consistency.
  8. Taste the lassi and adjust the sweetness and flavorings as needed.
  9. Pour the Malai Lassi into glasses, garnish with saffron strands or pistachio slivers if desired, and serve immediately.

Malai Lassi is a delightful and comforting beverage that balances the tanginess of yogurt with the creaminess of milk and heavy cream. The addition of sugar and optional flavorings gives it a unique and refreshing taste that’s beloved throughout India, particularly in the Punjab region. It’s a great way to beat the heat and enjoy a sweet and satisfying drink.

 

 

Punjabi Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani is a creamy lentil dish made with whole black lentils (urad dal) and kidney beans (rajma). The lentils are cooked slowly with butter, cream, and a blend of aromatic spices, resulting in a rich and flavorful dish. It is often served with naan or rice.

Punjabi Dal Makhani, also known as “Dal Makhni,” is a rich and creamy lentil dish that originates from the Punjab region of India. It’s one of the most popular and indulgent vegetarian dishes in Indian cuisine.

Here’s how you can make Punjabi Dal Makhani:

Ingredients:

For the lentil mixture:
  • 1 cup whole black gram lentils (urad dal)
  • 1/4 cup red kidney beans (rajma)
  • Water for soaking
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 cups water for cooking
For the main preparation:
  • 3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or cooking oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1-2 green chilies, slit lengthwise (adjust to your spice preference)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to your spice preference)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Preparing the lentils: a. Wash and soak the whole black gram lentils (urad dal) and red kidney beans (rajma) in enough water for at least 6-8 hours or overnight. b. Drain and rinse the soaked lentils and beans. c. In a large pot, add the drained lentils and beans, along with 4 cups of water and salt. d. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils and beans are soft and well-cooked. This can take 1 to 2 hours or more, depending on the quality of your lentils. You can also use a pressure cooker to expedite the process. e. Once cooked, mash some of the lentils and beans to thicken the mixture. Set aside.
  2. Main preparation: a. In a separate pan, heat ghee or cooking oil over medium heat. b. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter. c. Add finely chopped onions and sauté until they turn golden brown.
  3. Add ginger-garlic paste and green chilies. Sauté for a couple of minutes until the raw smell disappears.
  4. Add the finely chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft and the oil starts to separate.
  5. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, and garam masala. Sauté for a few minutes until the spices are well combined and the mixture becomes fragrant.
  6. Pour this tomato-spice mixture into the cooked lentils and beans. Stir to combine.
  7. Simmer the mixture on low heat for about 20-30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld. If the mixture becomes too thick, you can add a bit of water to achieve your desired consistency.
  8. Stir in the heavy cream and salt. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
  9. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Punjabi Kadhi Pakora

Kadhi Pakora is a comforting Punjabi dish consisting of a tangy yogurt-based curry (kadhi) with deep-fried gram flour fritters (pakoras). The kadhi is made by combining yogurt, gram flour, and spices, and then simmered until it thickens. The pakoras, made by deep-frying a batter of gram flour and vegetables, are added to the kadhi.

Punjabi Aloo Paratha

Aloo Paratha is a popular Punjabi breakfast dish. It is made by stuffing whole wheat dough with a spiced mashed potato filling (aloo). The stuffed dough is rolled out into flatbreads and cooked on a griddle with ghee or oil. Aloo Paratha is often served with butter, yogurt, or pickle.

Punjabi Rajma Chawal

Rajma Chawal is a beloved Punjabi combination of kidney bean curry (rajma) and steamed rice (chawal). The kidney beans are cooked with onions, tomatoes, and a blend of spices until they turn tender and flavorful. Rajma Chawal is a hearty and satisfying meal enjoyed by people of all ages.

Punjabi Sarson Ka Saag

Sarson Ka Saag is a traditional Punjabi dish made from mustard greens, spinach, and other leafy greens. The greens are finely chopped and cooked with ginger, garlic, green chilies, and spices. The saag is then tempered with ghee or butter, resulting in a delightful and nutritious dish that is typically served with makki di roti.

Punjabi Pinni

Pinni is a sweet Punjabi delicacy often prepared during festivals or special occasions. It is made by combining wheat flour, ghee, jaggery or sugar, nuts, and a variety of aromatic spices. The mixture is shaped into small balls and can be enjoyed as a snack or dessert.

Pinni is a traditional North Indian sweet, particularly popular in the Punjab region. It is a rich, dense, and energy-packed sweet made from a mixture of whole wheat flour (atta), desi ghee (clarified butter), sugar, and various nuts and spices. Pinni is often prepared during festivals, special occasions, and as a winter treat due to its high calorific value and warming properties.

Here’s a basic recipe for making Pinni

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (atta)
  • 1 cup desi ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (adjust to your sweetness preference)
  • 1/2 cup chopped mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios)
  • 2 tablespoons melon seeds (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon edible gum (gond)
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • A pinch of nutmeg powder (optional)
  • A pinch of saffron strands (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk (for saffron if using)

Instructions

Roasting Wheat Flour and Ghee

 a. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan or kadai on low-medium heat. b. Add desi ghee to the pan and let it melt completely. c. Add whole wheat flour (atta) to the melted ghee. d. Roast the wheat flour in the ghee over low-medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. This step can take about 15-20 minutes until the flour turns a deep golden brown color, and a nutty aroma is released. The slow roasting is crucial to get the right flavor for Pinni.

Preparing Gond (Edible Gum)

 If using edible gum (gond), heat a small amount of ghee in a separate pan. Fry the gond until it puffs up, then drain and set aside.

Making Pinni Mixture

a. Once the wheat flour is well roasted, remove the pan from heat and let it cool slightly. b. Add powdered sugar, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder, saffron strands (if using), and the chopped mixed nuts to the roasted wheat flour. Mix everything well.

Binding the Mixture

 a. Gradually add melted ghee to the mixture while continuously stirring. You may not need all of the ghee, so add it a little at a time until the mixture holds together when pressed. b. If you’re using fried edible gum (gond), add it to the mixture at this stage.

Shaping Pinni

a. While the mixture is still warm, take small portions and shape them into round or oval-shaped Pinni by pressing them firmly between your palms. You can make them as small or as large as you like.

Cooling and Storing

 a. Let the Pinni cool completely at room temperature. b. Once cooled, store them in an airtight container. Pinni can be stored for several weeks at room temperature.

Pinni is a delightful sweet treat with a rich, nutty, and mildly sweet flavor. It’s not only enjoyed during festivals but also often made for new mothers to provide them with energy and nourishment after childbirth. The addition of nuts and ghee makes Pinni a calorie-dense and wholesome sweet that’s cherished in Punjabi cuisine.

Punjabi Kulcha

Kulcha is a type of leavened bread popular in Punjab. It is made with refined flour (maida) and yogurt, and it is typically stuffed with a mixture of mashed potatoes, onions, and spices. The stuffed kulcha is baked in a tandoor or on a griddle until it turns golden brown and flaky. It is often served with chole (chickpea curry) or as an accompaniment to other Punjabi dishes.

Kada Prashad

Kada Prashad, also known as “Karha Prashad” or simply “Prashad,” is a sacred and traditional sweet offering in Sikhism, particularly in Sikh Gurdwaras (places of worship). It is a simple yet delicious sweet semolina (suji) preparation that is made with great reverence and distributed to all visitors, regardless of their faith. Kada Prashad is often prepared in large quantities during religious events, and it carries deep spiritual significance in Sikh tradition.

Here’s how you can make Kada Prashad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (atta)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup ghee (clarified butter)
  • 4 cups water
  • A pinch of cardamom powder (optional)
  • A pinch of saffron strands (optional)

Instructions

Boiling Water

 a. In a separate saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.

Making a Sugar Syrup

 a. While the water is heating, in another large heavy-bottomed pan or kadai, heat the ghee over low-medium heat. b. Add the whole wheat flour (atta) to the melted ghee. c. Roast the flour in the ghee over low-medium heat, stirring continuously to prevent burning. This is a crucial step, and it can take around 15-20 minutes. The flour should turn a deep golden brown color and release a nutty aroma. d. Once the flour is well roasted, lower the heat and slowly add the boiling water while stirring continuously. Be careful, as it may splatter. e. Continue stirring to avoid lumps and cook until the mixture thickens and comes together into a smooth consistency. It should resemble a thick porridge.

Adding Sugar and Flavorings

 a. Add sugar to the mixture and stir well until it’s fully incorporated. b. If desired, add a pinch of cardamom powder and saffron strands for flavor.

Cooking and Finalizing: a. Cook the mixture for a few more minutes until it thickens further and starts leaving the sides of the pan. b. The consistency should be thick but still soft and not too firm.

Serving: a. Kada Prashad is typically served hot and fresh. b. It is offered in the Gurdwara after prayer ceremonies, and visitors receive a portion in their cupped hands as a sign of humility and equality. c. When serving, it’s customary to use your right hand, receive the Prashad with respect, and avoid using utensils.

Kada Prashad is not just a sweet treat but a symbol of the Sikh spirit of selfless service and equality. It is believed to be blessed by divine grace, and sharing it with others is an essential aspect of Sikh tradition. When preparing or receiving Kada Prashad, it’s important to do so with a pure heart and respect for the spiritual significance it holds in Sikhism.

 

The staple food of Punjab

The staple food of Punjab is wheat, and roti (flatbread) is the primary staple in Punjabi cuisine.

It is typically made from whole wheat flour (atta) and cooked on a tawa (griddle) or tandoor (clay oven).

Rotis are an integral part of every meal in Punjab and are often served with various curries, vegetables, or lentils.

Apart from roti, rice is another staple component of Punjabi cuisine.

Steamed rice, known as chawal, is commonly consumed with lentils, curries, or as a base for biryanis and pulao dishes.

Additionally, dairy products play a significant role in the Punjabi diet. Milk, yogurt, and buttermilk (lassi) are commonly consumed and are in various preparations like curries, sweets, and beverages.

Punjab is rich in agricultural lands, and the region produces a wide range of crops, including wheat, rice, maize, and various vegetables. These fresh, locally grown ingredients form the foundation of Punjabi cuisine.

Overall, the combination of roti, rice, dairy products, lentils, and fresh vegetables forms the staple food of Punjab, providing a well-rounded and satisfying diet for the people of the region.

 

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These are just a few examples of the special foods of Punjab.

So, Punjabi cuisine is bold flavors, generous use of spices, and hearty portions, reflecting the rich agricultural heritage and culinary traditions of the region.

 

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