When we think of Punjabi food, we think of rich, aromatic, delicious food served with abundance of love (read: butter)! This cuisine holds its own among all other north Indian cuisines. It’s the comfort food all north Indians crave for after a long day at work, or after a night spent partying and dancing or even after a vacation!
We always want to come back to our not so basic Dal Makhani and Butter Chicken. All Punjabi mothers make sure their kids are well fed, and over fed with the delectable food prepared by them. And by kids, we mean everyone from the age of 6 to 60 they can catch hold of! They sure do love to cook and feed their family and friends.
We’re listing a few of the classic Punjabi dishes here for you to check out. If you’re a Punjabi, your mouth will water as you go further down. And if you’re not, well, you’ll want to try them all! Yes, they’re that good.
1. Chhole Bhature
The name of this dish is enough to make our mouths salivate! Usually served for breakfast, but always makes us skip lunch. A thick chickpea curry made with Indian spices and served with fluffy deep-fried bread, some mint chutney, pickle, and onion – it’s a meal for the soul.
If you want to enjoy this soulful food at home, you have to try CURRYiT’s Purani Dilli ke Chole. Wash it down with a glass of lassi and we guarantee you a good afternoon nap!
2. Amritsari Kulche
Another breakfast classic, Amritsari kulche are stuffed flatbreads cooked in a tandoor until they’re crispy on the outside yet soft on the inside. They’re then smeared with white butter and served hot with a light chickpea curry or dal, some tangy tamarind chutney and raita.
But, if you ask us, we love the crisp flavourful kulchas by themselves too! A piece of jaggery to sweeten the palate and we’re all set to get that much-required nap.
3. Butter Chicken
This dish needs no introduction. Succulent chicken pieces cooked in a velvety tomato gravy enriched with butter and cream, served piping hot with tandoori naan and some pickled onions – need we say more?
It is perhaps the most widely known Punjabi meal internationally. Butter chicken is not a dish, it’s an experience.
Where there is even a single Punjabi in the world, there will definitely be butter chicken. There exists an eternal love story between butter chicken and a Punjabi heart, and with good reason. Also, cooking butter chicken got much easier with ready-to-cook butter chicken masala paste.
4. Dal Makhani
If there is one dish that can, or rather will be eaten even after being stuffed with snacks at a party, it is Dal Makhani and tandoori roti. It is the main course of all main courses. It is a black lentil curry cooked on low heat for a long time, sometimes even overnight.
The longer and slower it is cooked, the better it tastes. Dal Makhani is relished by kids and adults alike and is considered a delicacy prepared specially for guests.
5. Sarson ka Saag and Makkai ki Roti
Come winters and every Punjabi household will have the aroma of fresh sarson ka saag wafting out of their windows. It’s a green leafy seasonal vegetable, having an earthy taste which goes best with makkai ki roti smeared, no, dripping with white butter!
Have it with some green chilli pickle and raita, and you will need nothing more to satiate your taste buds, except perhaps a piece of jaggery.
6. Chicken/Paneer Tikka
There is no appetizer more Punjabi than the Chicken Tikka, or Paneer Tikka for the vegetarians. It has so many variations like the malai tikka, achari tikka, pudina masala and so many more, but the evergreen one is the original tikka masala.
It has a tangy and spicy taste from the yoghurt and Indian spice marinade, and is best enjoyed with a squeeze of lemon, mint chutney and sliced onions.
After talking about all savouries, let’s end on a sweet note. Pinni is a laddoo made with roasted whole wheat flour, sugar and mixed nuts such as almonds and cashews. It is all then combined with desi ghee to form small spheres that you can pop into your mouth whenever you please!
Although usually made in winters, you can find it all year round in sweet shops. If you’re running late for work and have no time for breakfast, a couple of pinnis on the go will keep you full until your next meal.