Punjabi cuisine

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Punjabi cuisine is food from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan.

Background and overview[edit]

One of the main features of Punjabi cuisine is its diverse range of dishes. Home cooked and restaurant cuisine sometimes vary in taste. Restaurant style uses large amounts of ghee. Some food items are eaten on a daily basis while some delicacies are cooked only on special occasions.

Within the Punjab region, there are different preferences in terms of use of spices and cooking methods. Also many varieties of ingredients exist as well. People in villages tend to cook much stuff in animal fats compared to the residents in the cities. Also there are many regional dishes that are famous in some regions only. Many dishes are exclusive to Punjab, such as sarson da saag, Tandoori chicken, Shami kebab, makki di roti etc to name a few. Tandoori food is a Punjabi specialty especially for non-vegetarian dishes. Before the 1947 partition, tandoori cooking in India was traditionally associated with the former undivided Punjab.[1] Many of the most popular elements of Indian cuisine as it is marketed to non-Indian customers (such as tandoor, naan, pakoras and vegetable dishes with paneer) is derived from Punjab.[citation needed]

Chicken tikka, a popular dish in Punjabi cuisine
A variety of Punjabi dinner cuisines; left to right: Aloo gobi, Seekh Kehbab, and Beef Karahi
Mint Parantha from Punjab, India
Mint salted lassi from Punjab, Pakistan

Rakh-Rikhao ( Etiquette )[edit]

Every Punjabi household follow certain regional etiquette while eating. But it is not uniform in every region. Etiquette is known as Rakh Rikhao in the culture of Punjab. Rakh Rikhao spans from the placements of the dishes to the way of serving and eating. Also in Punjabi rakh-rikhao bringing and sending fresh fruits, sweets and food items as gifts to family members is a norm.[2][3] Moreover food items are distributed among neighbors as well on special occasions and as a sign to show hospitality. Sharing fruit baskets or crates among family members during the spring season is also considered a part of social etiquette.

During the certain fruit seasons friends and family members are invited to feast on fruits. Mango is considered a delicacy and produced widely in Punjab,[4] and mango parties are common during the fruit's harvest season. Also Water Melon and spiced Mooli ( Daikon ) at food stalls is shared among friends as well.

Structure of the meal[edit]

Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Tea (meal), Dinner and Supper is the usual way of the structure of the meal in Punjab. There are local names for times of the food eaten and it varies with region to region.

Cooking methods[edit]

Cooking methods vary from region to region but cooking traditional Roti, Rumali Roti and Khamiri ( Also known as Naan ) requires Tawa and Tandoor. The Traditional name of the stove in Punjabi language is Chulla. Outdoor cooking and grilling have many different types of Chullas. Traditional houses also have Ovens ( Local name is Wadda Chulla or Band Chulla ) that are made from bricks, stones and in many cases with clay.[5] The older communities in Punjab also used Earth ovens ( Khadda Chulla ) but this tradition is dying out now.

Clarified butter[edit]

Paneer One of the South Asian Cheese variants commonly used in cooking in Punjab

Clarified butter, Paneer and normal butter are mostly used for traditional cooking. Clarified butter most known variant is Ghee that is widely used as well.[6] Also in some regions Suet is used for cooking purposes.

Food additives and Condiments[edit]

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 added in sweet dishes and desserts. For example in sweet rice dish, color known as Zarda (food)[7][8] is added to enhance the color. Starch is used as a bulking agent. The typical condiments includes black pepper, coriander and cumin. South Asian cuisine has typical condiment mixes as well and they are known as chutneys.

Typical dishes[edit]

Usual Breakfast Menu[edit]

Meat and Fish[edit]

Tandoori Chicken especially famous in Punjab


Amritsari Kulcha
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.


Lentils are very common as edibles throughout Punjab. When cooked they are typically known as Daal.[13][14][15][16]

Raita and Chutney[edit]

Along with all types of main dishes Raita and Chutney is served as well that is known to add the taste in food. The notable local chutneys are made with imli, pudina, anar, mango and dhaniya to name a few.


Seviyan (Vermicelli)s in Pakistan and in India
Gajar Ka Halwa ( Dessert made from Carrot)
Jalebi sweet

Various types of desserts are prepared based on different occasions. Typical desserts include local variants of pies, ice creams and puddings. Fruit is also included in the dessert as well. Pudding made from rice known as Kheer[17] along with Rabri is especially famous. Semolina based desserts are also pretty famous.[18] South Asian sweets are distributed and eaten on all local occasions. Kulfi is especially famous among local ice cream delights.

Bread preparations[edit]

Breads are of various types and forms. Flat (unleavened) breads as well as raised breads are eaten on a daily basis. Other variants of bread are made on an occasional 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:

  1. Baked in the tandoor like naan, Tandoori roti, Kulcha, or Lachha Paratha
  2. 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)
  3. Shallow fried like Paratha, Keema Paratha, Potato or Radish Paratha
  4. Deep fried like Puri and Bhatoora (a fermented dough)


Further information: List of Indian spices

The Indian spices are used as Punjab is historically Indian region.

Snacks and Chaat[edit]

The South Asian cuisine has a peculiar salty and savory snacks that is known as Chaat.[19] Apart from that other types of snacks are very common and are eaten between the meals. Snacks are very diverse and it spans from biscuits, cakes, pastries etc. Fruits and vegetables are also considered good snacks as well.


Punjab have diverse beverages as well. Some are derived from animal fats like lassi.[20] Mango lassi,[21][22] Mango Milkshake,[23][24] Chaas[25][26] etc. Others are juices derived from vegetables and fruits. Water Melon shake,[27] carrot juice, tamarind juice ( Imli ka paani) are famous among fruit juices. Shikanjvi and neembu paani drinks are specifically famous in hot summer season.

The local regional drinks in Punjab also includes Doodh soda ( Milk Soda) and bantay ( local soda drink ) in Pakistan.

Fermented Foods[edit]

Further information: Pickling
Further information: List of fermented foods
Further information: Pickles in India and Pakistan
Achar Gosht ( A famous dish made from chicken and pickles mixture)

Fermented foods are common in Punjabi cuisine. Also fermented foods are added in the preparation of some dishes as well.[28] Mango pickle is especially famous in many villages of Punjab[29][30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/11/dining/a-tandoor-oven-brings-indias-heat-to-the-backyard.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
  2. ^ http://www.punjabflowers.com/fruits.html : Sending food items within Punjab
  3. ^ http://www.punjabflowers.com/sweets.html : Sending sweets to family members
  4. ^ http://trtapakistan.org/sector-products/horticulture/mangoes/ :Mango Production in Punjab Pakistan
  5. ^ http://clayoven.wordpress.com/2008/08/29/1-building-a-clay-oven-the-basics/ : Clay Oven
  6. ^ http://nomnompaleo.com/post/15235810877/d-i-y-ghee : Ghee making
  7. ^ http://www.khanapakana.com/recipe/7aace454-0612-4d69-93eb-0f4b46c12c9e/zarda-sweet-yellow-rice: Zarda Recipe
  8. ^ http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sweet-rice-zarda/ :Zarda Recipe
  9. ^ http://www.khanapakana.com/cooking-video/7b402de4-c9da-434c-9d3b-670dbbe18591/halwa-puri-and-chanay : Halwa Puri
  10. ^ http://showmethecurry.com/curries/punjabi-kadhi.html :Yogurt curry
  11. ^ http://indianfood.about.com/od/vegetarianrecipes/r/bainganbharta.htm : Baingan Ka Bharta Recipe
  12. ^ http://indianfood.about.com/od/vegetarianrecipes/r/chatpatiarvi.htm : Arvi Recipe
  13. ^ http://chefinyou.com/2008/12/tadka-dal-recipe/ :Tarka Daal Recipe
  14. ^ http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/moong-dal-tadka/ :Moong Daal
  15. ^ http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/whole-masoor-dal-recipe-north-indian-style/ :Masoor Daal Recipe
  16. ^ http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/maa-ki-dal-kaali-dal/ : Maah Daal
  17. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/indianricepuddingkhe_90219 :Kheer ( Rice Pudding Recipe)
  18. ^ http://cooks.ndtv.com/recipe/show/suji-ka-halwa-100564 : Suji Ka Halwa
  19. ^ http://www.vahrehvah.com/chaat-recipes :Chaat (Savory Foods )
  20. ^ http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/sweet-lassi-punjabi-lassi/ : Lassi recipe
  21. ^ http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/mango_lassi/ : Mango Lassi Recipe
  22. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/mangolassi_74038 :BBC Food Mango Lassi Recipe
  23. ^ http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/mango-milkshake-recipe/ :Mango Milkshake
  24. ^ http://whatscookingamerica.net/Beverage/MangoLassi.htm : Mango Milkshake
  25. ^ http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/chaas-recipe-buttermilk-recipe/ : Salted Chaas Recipe
  26. ^ http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/pudina-chaas-recipe/ : Pudina Chaas
  27. ^ http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/watermelon-juice-fresh-watermelon-juice/ : Water Melon Shake
  28. ^ http://maayeka.blogspot.de/2013/03/gobhigajar-aur-shalgum-ka-achar-punjabi.html : Punjabi Mix Vegetable Pickle Recipe
  29. ^ http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/punjabi-mango-pickle/ :Mango Pickle Recipe
  30. ^ http://www.jopreetskitchen.com/2013/06/punjabi-mango-pickle-aam-ka-achaar.html : Mango Pickle Recipe

External links[edit]