|This article is part of the series|
|This article is part of the series|
Punjabi cuisine is associated with food from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan. The cuisine has a rich tradition of many distinct local ways of cooking, out of which one is a special form of tandoori cooking style. The region of Punjab and Kashmir carry many similar ways of cooking due to historical and cultural harmony between these regions.
The local cuisine of Punjab is heavily influenced by the agriculture and farming lifestyle that has been prevalent for centuries. It is supported by locally grown staple foods. Distinctively Punjabi cuisine includes sarson da saag, tandoori chicken, shami kebab, and makki di roti.
- 1 Style of cooking
- 2 Staple foods
- 3 Dairy products
- 4 Food additives and condiments
- 5 Common dishes
- 6 Sweets and desserts
- 7 Bread
- 8 Herbs and spices
- 9 Beverages
- 10 Fermented foods
- 11 Canning, bottling and smoking
- 12 Cooking methods
- 13 Etiquette
- 14 Punjabi dhaba
- 15 See also
- 16 References
- 17 External links
Style of cooking
There are many styles of cooking in Punjab. In the villages still many people employ old traditional infrastructure of cooking. This include Wood-fired oven and Masonry ovens. In the past many people employed Wood-burning stoves but this method is dying out. One derivation from this type of method is the Tandoori style of cooking food in the tandoor. In India, tandoori cooking is traditionally associated with Punjab as Punjabis embraced the tandoor on a regional level and became popular in the mainstream after the 1947 partition when Punjabis resettled in places such as Delhi. In rural Punjab, it is common to have communal tandoors, which are also called tadoors in Punjabi.
Punjab is a major producer of wheat, rice and dairy products which form the staple diet of Punjabi people. The region has one of the highest capita usage of dairy products in both India and Pakistan, and therefore, dairy products form an important component of Punjabi diet. Roti and paratha also form part of the Punjabi staple diet.
Some north Punjab villages have also developed a local cheese variant known as dhaag, but the tradition of making dhaag is dying out.
Food additives and condiments
Food additives and condiments are usually added to enhance the flavor of the food. The most common additives are vinegar, monosodium glutamate (sometimes known as Chinese salt) and soy sauce . Food coloring as additive is used in sweet dishes and desserts. For example in a sweet rice dish, a color known as zarda is added. Starch is used as a bulking agent. The typical condiments include black pepper, coriander, cumin and dried maithi leaves. South Asian cuisine has typical condiment mixes as well known as chutneys.
- Biryani: lamb, chicken, and beef variations.
- Kebab: braised minced lamb or beef meat, commonly served with naan.
- Kheema : Braised minced lamb or beef meat, commonly served with naan.
- Lamb : including Rogan Josh, Bhuna Gosht, Kadhai Gosht, Raan Gosht, Dal Gosht, Saag Gosht, Nihari Gosht, Rara Gosht, Paye da Shorba
- Shami Kebab, Chicken karahi, Amritsari Tandoori Chicken, Punjabi Karhi (The Chicken yogurt curry of Punjab), Butter Chicken, Chicken Tikka, Paye.
- Kunna Goshtmeat prepared in Kunna (mitti ka bartan (clay utensil).
Since Punjab is the land of five rivers, freshwater fish is an important part of its cuisine. However, fishes of sea water are not used as much since Punjab is not in close proximity to the sea. Carp, rohu and catfish are the most commonly prepared fish. Other fish types include thela machi and tilapia Recently shrimp has been introduced. Fish tikka is an Amritsari speciality.
- Amritsari Dal makhani (lentils with cream and butter); rajma (red kidney bean) and rice; rongi (Black-eyed peas); choley (eaten with naan or kulcha); aloo (eaten with puri).
- Khichdi: In the Punjab, khichdi is made of millet floor, mung beans and moth lentils. However, khichdi made of rice and lentils is also consumed.
- Paneer Recipes like Shahi Paneer; Khoya Paneer, Paneer Kofta, Amritsari Paneer, Matar Paneer, paneer paratha  etc...
- Panjiri: This is a traditional Punjabi dish which has a generous amount of almonds, walnuts, pistachios, dry dates, cashew nuts along with whole wheat flour, sugar, edible gum (khanewala gondh), poppy seeds and fennel seeds (saunf) to make the traditional dish of Punjabis ‘panjri’ or also known as ‘dabra’.
- Pulse, bean and lentil; Saag; Baingan bharta.
- Punj Ratani Dal: A mixture of 5 lentils.
- Punjabi Kadhi Pakora (traditional curry with pakoras) and rice. Kadhi is a type of curry made by cooking garamflour with curd or buttermilk. Fried lumps (pakoras) of gramflour with salt and chillies are also added.
- Punjabi Lassi paneer: In the Punjab, it is traditional to prepare lassi and then extract the paneer which would then be consumed by adding water, salt and chili. Lassi paneer can also be added to potatoes and spices to make a curry which resembles scrambled eggs. Lassi paneer cannot be cut into cubes as paneer from milk can be.
- Sarson da saag (a dish prepared from green mustard leaves) and with makki di roti, a bread made by corn flour; Arvi ( Colocasia esculenta roots are prepared with spices and curry); Mushroom and bean sabzi
- Zeera rice Cooked rice with cumin seeds.
- Toasted grains: In the Punjab, toasting corn and wheat grains on the Punjabi bhathi is a traditional delicacy. The toasted seeds are also traditionally mixed with jaggery.
- Pakoras which are eaten with green chutney also called Pudina Chutney
- Sattu: ground barley grains mixed with salt and turmeric rolled into balls. Millet and corn grains are also used.
Tarka is a fried garnish of spices and aromatic substances used to add to the taste of the dal. Mostly fried onions, zeera, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, hari mirchain, hara pudina and garlic are the most commonly used products in tarka.
Raita and chutney
Sweets and desserts
- Amritsari Jalebi
- Gurh: made out of sugarcane juice.
- Kulfi, an ice-cream-like dessert
- Semolina based desserts: Halva
- Sheer korma
Punjabis eat a variety of Breads. Flatbreads and raised breads are eaten on a daily basis. Raised breads are known as khamiri roti. Sunflower and flax seeds are also added in some breads occasionally. The breads may be made of different types of flour and can be made in various ways:
- Baked in the tandoor like naan, tandoori roti, kulcha, or lachha paratha
- Dry baked on the tava (Indian griddle) like phulka or chapati, jowar ki roti, baajre ki roti and makki ki roti (these are also smeared with white butter)
- Shallow fried like paratha, keema (minced meat) paratha, aloo (potato) paratha, mooli paratha (radish paratha), paneer paratha, palak paratha (spinach paratha), aloo paneer paratha, etc...
- Deep fried like puri and bhatoora (a fermented dough)
- Salt-rising bread: Salt rising bread is a unique bread found only in the Salt Range region of Punjab, Pakistan. Since rock salt is readily available in salt range so many people in the past made use of salt instead of yeast to leaven the bread.
Herbs and spices
Indian subcontinent based spices are used in Punjabi cuisine which are grounded in the Mortar and Ghotna or the food processor. Kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) is widely used in Punjabi cuisine.
Punjab has a diverse range of beverages. Some are dairy based such as lassi. Mango lassi, Mango Milkshake, Chaas etc. Others are juices derived from vegetables and fruits. Water Melon shake, carrot juice, tamarind juice ( Imli ka paani) are famous among fruit juices. Shikanjvi and neembu paani drinks are specifically famous in hot summer season. Jal-jeera is also common as well.
Sattu is a traditional North Indian drink which is also traditionally consumed in the Punjab. Sattu is made by roasting barley grains and then ground into powder, mixed with salt and turmeric and water.
The local regional drinks in Punjab also includes Doodh soda ( Milk Soda) and bantay (local soda drink) in Pakistan.
Canning, bottling and smoking
Canning and bottling for preservation purpose is a common practice in houses. It increase the longevity of the food products for many months. Also in the old infrastructure smoke houses are a common occurrence that are used for smoking the meat products that increase the shelf life of the meat and also add taste in it as well. Smoked meat is known as Bhaapi gosht as well.
The stoves and ovens used to cook Punjabi food include:
- Pressure cookers are also used
- Punjabi bhathi (a furnace oven)
- Tandoor (to cook tandoori chicken, naan)
- Tawa (used for making roti)
The traditional name of the stove in the Punjabi language is chulla. Outdoor cooking and grilling have many different types of chullas. Traditional houses also have ovens (wadda chulla or band chulla) that are made from bricks, stones, and in many cases clay. Older communities in Punjab also used earth ovens (khadda chulla), but this tradition is dying out now.
Every Punjabi household follows certain regional etiquette. Though it varies regionally, there are many etiquette practices that are common throughout Punjab.
Bringing and sending fresh fruits, sweets and food items as gifts to family members is a common occurrence in Punjab, particularly during the spring season. Food items are distributed among neighbors as well on special occasions and as a sign to show hospitality. Mango is considered a delicacy and produced widely in Punjab, and mango parties are common during the fruit's harvest season. Watermelon and spiced mooli (daikon) at food stalls are shared among friends as well.
Major features of Punjabi etiquette include:
- The invited guest or elder person is given special respect and attention.
- Invitations to a meal or tea are generally distributed few days beforehand.
- All people start the food at the same time. It is considered rude to start eating without taking into account the attendance of all guests.
- Table setting is done before the arrival of the guests.
- Family members or any occupants within one home make sure to eat together during the dinner.
- It is considered rude to start eating food without asking others to participate in a meal. It is customary to offer food to anyone in your vicinity before eating.
- Chewing food with one's mouth open and burping in front of others is considered rude.
- In the villages of Punjab Pakistan, an additional common plate is usually placed on the table for any bones left from the consumption of chicken or beef. Placing left overs on the floor or on the table floor is considered a bad etiquette.
- Denying the invitation of food for no major reason is considered against the etiquette.
- Usually a roti with curry is eaten with hands. But for the rice, soup and sweet dishes cutlery is employed.
The Punjabi dhabha is a road side eatery where hot food is sold.
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