By Nmami Agarwal
Flavors of Punjab are wholesome and fragrant. Punjabi people are ultimate food lovers, and prefer a wide variety in their menu. They are full of life and that liveliness reflects in their food too. The people in this region generally prefer spicy foods and the use oil and ghee also be done on a considerably higher extent. No usage of complicated marinades or exotic sauces is done, but an exuberant use of masalas is being done along with a liberal addition of oil or ghee.
Tandoori Style of Cooking
Indian barbeque or Tandoori style of cooking is probably one of the oldest methods of outdoor cooking which is known as ‘Bhatti’, is now a staple in Punjab.The masala in Punjabi recipes and tandoori style of cooking mainly consists of onion, garlic, ginger and a lot of tomatoes cooked in pure ghee. Spices like garam masala, coriander, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, red chili powder, turmeric and mustard are also used generously in the cooking.
Agriculture in Punjab
The major crops cultivated by the farmers of Punjab are rice and wheat, which are the main crops grown during the Kharif season and the Rabi season respectively. The local Punjab Basmati rice is the pride of this region being grown in the area since ancient time. The practice of multi-cropping is also quite common in Punjab region which cultivates sugarcane, bajra(pearl millet), jowar (great millet), barley, potatoes, vegetables and fruits among others. Cattles are primarily used for agriculture and dairy farming in the region to produce dairy products starting from ghee, butter, clarified butter, curd, paneer(cottage cheese) serving great deal of health benefits like muscle building and repairing and bone strengthening due to protein, vitamin D and calcium content.
Mentioned below are some of the most famous Punjabi dishes! Have a look.
- Sarson ka Saag and Makki ki roti: Sarson ka saag is the chief Punjabi recipe prepared from sarson ,palak, and bathua which is a good source of minerals like iron, potassium, phosphorus and calcium. This curry is a mixture of leafy vegetables, flavored with various spices by the process of tadka (tempering). To accompany this delightful vegetable dish there is famous Indian bread, called makki ki roti, made from makka (corn) which helps in controlling diabetes and aids in weight loss.
- Amritsari Chole Kulcha: This traditional Punjabi recipe is kind of desi-pizza, stuffed with masala potatoes. This delicious Indian recipe is traditionally make in a clay tandoor, round shape flat and baked in an earthen clay oven until golden brown. When it is baked in oven, this dish is usually rubbed with butter (Desi Ghee), and then it’s eaten with spicy chole (chickpeas curry) which is rich in vitamins and minerals.
- Lemon Chicken: Chicken, being the crowning jewel of Punjabi food becomes a heavenly scrumptious food when flavored with lemon and seasoned with spices like garlic salt pepper, thyme, dried and crushed rosemary. Furthermore, ability of chicken to supply good amount of protein, phosphorous, potassium and essential vitamins and minerals is commendable.
- Stuffed Parantha with Curd and pickle: Parantha’s in Punjab are stuffed with fresh vegetables like cauliflower, potatoes, onion and even white radish providing variety of nutrients such as fiber and antioxidants. Because of love punjabis have for dairy, stuffed paneer parantha is enjoyed in breakfast. Considering paneer is a rich source of protein and good for heart health you can moderately stuff in some to enjoy Punjab’s foremost dish.
Note: Make sure to use ghee in limit and low fat paneer while preparing stuffed parantha.
- Baigan Ka Bharta: This most favorite Punjabi recipe is simple and easy to prepare and because of its simplicity and heavenly taste this dish is prepared in most of North Indian houses. Baigan which is known as the king of vegetables for its nutrients is roasted in open flame to give the bharta a smoky flavor. The curry is then prepared by onion, tomatoes, and by addition of spices. This dish helps in decreasing the LDL (bad cholesterol) level as it is rich in chlorogenic acid and other powerful antioxidants.
- Gajar Ka Halwa: This traditional Punjabi sweet dish is prepared from grated carrot, milk, sugar, and ghee. There is something about this dish that cannot be described maybe it’s the love, care or tradition from which it is prepared. Gajar ka Halwa is a must addition in your winter diet because of its richness in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber.
Note: We suggest you to make gajar halwa in coconut sugar and cow’s milk to avoid excess calories.
- Lassi: Lassi, the chief drink of Punjab which you can enjoy the salted version as well as the sweet version, now you can even try fruity versions like Mango and Strawberry lassi. And since lassi is churned out of yogurt or dahi, it is beneficial for our digestive system. It prevents stomach problems like bloating and a good source of probiotics.
Over to you
Punjabi food is a significant part of North Indian cuisine, which appeals to the taste of many people. The food preparation is quiet simple here and is suitable for people who burn up a lot of calories while working in the fields and tilling their small acres. So, don’t forget to add work hard in your list while trying this rich Punjabi cuisine.