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Home > Cuisine of India > North India > Punjab
Punjabi Food

In an enormously diverse country like India, each region has something typical to offer whether it is in clothes or in food or in its music, dance and art.

This land of milk and honey has a healthy climate. The agricultural revolution has reaped rich dividends on this land. Punjab, the land of abundance has a cuisine, which caters to the characteristic needs of its people.

Punjabi MealPunjabi cuisine is not subtle in its flavor. There are no intricate marinades or exotic sauces but it has full-bodied masalas (spices) cooked with liberal amount of pure desi ghee (clarified butter) always served with a liberal hand of butter or cream. Milk and its products are an essential part of every day cookery. Curd and buttermilk are also an essential concomitant with every Punjabi meal.

Predominantly wheat eating people, the Punjabis cook rice only on special occasions. Its never eaten plain or steamed; for steamed rice implies that somebody is sick. Rice is eaten always with a flavoring of cumin or fried onions with Rajma or Kadhi. Rajma (Red Beans) with rice or rice with Kadhi is eaten on holidays or on festive days. In winter rice is cooked with Gur (Jaggery) or with peas called matarwale chawal or as a delicacy called Rao Ki Kheer which is rice cooked on very slow fire for hours together with sugar cane juice.

In Punjab itself, there are differences in flavors and style. For example, people around Amritsar prefer well-fried stuffed paraunthas and milk sweets. The people of Doaba region eat more of them; in the Malwa region Bajra (ground maize) khichadi is a delicacy.

Makki Ki RotiThere are of course certain dishes, which are part and parcel of Punjab, and their very mention conjures up the rich flavor of the state. Mah ki Dal, Sarson Da Saag and Makki Di Roti, meat curry like Roghan Josh and stuffed paraunthas can be found in no other state except Punjab. The food of Punjab is suitable for those who burn up a lot of calories while working in the fields and tilling their small acres. For the urban folk, however, eating even one dish is enough because life in the cities is so sedentary. The main masala in a Punjabi dish consists of onion, garlic, ginger and a lot of tomatoes fried in pure ghee. The people of Punjab prefer rotis or chapatis than rice. In fact their staple food is Makki Di Roti and Sarson Da Saag. They can have rotis or chapatis with just onions only if they do not have a curry or vegetable along with it. Another interesting feature is lassi (buttermilk) which is a preparation of curd and is quite common among the people of Punjab.

A Punjabis average days meal would generally comprise of:

Breakfast
Stuffed (potatoes, cauliflower, raddish, cottage cheese, onion or peas) Paraunthas and a glass of buttermilk.

Lunch
Sarson Ka Saag and Makki Ki Roti with mint and onion Chutney.

Snacks
Besan Pakodas (Alloo, Gobi, Onion, Green Chilli etc.)

Dinner
Mah Ki Dal, Bhunna Gosht, Tandoori Roti and Dahi Raita

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