Punjab, the land of five rivers is known as the breadbasket of India. Punjabi culture is one of the oldest and richest cultures in world history.
This is the majestic Golden Temple, which I am still waiting to visit.
The Golden Temple, located in Amritsar in the state of Punjab, India is the most sacred shrine of Sikhism. Sikh devotees, for whom the Temple is a symbol of freedom and spiritual independence, come to the Temple from all over the world to enjoy its environs and offer their prayers. The official name of the Temple is Harmandir Sahib which means literally "the Temple of God" -- from Hari: God and Mandir: temple.
Baisakhi is a major festival of Sikhs and is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm and gaiety the festival falls on April 13th or April 14th and marks the beginning of the solar year. People of North India, particularly Punjab thank God for good harvest. Visit to Gurudwaras, Baisakhi processions and traditional performances are the highlights of the day.
Punjabi cuisine can be non-vegetarian or completely vegetarian. One of the main features of Punjabi cuisine is its diverse range of dishes.
A typical Punjabi meal with consists of roti, daal, yogurt and curried vegetable. Many Punjabi eat rice very infrequently and only on special occasions. Punjabi meals usually have lot of onion, tomatoes, cumin, turmeric, mustard, garlic, ginger cooked in pure cow ghee(clarified butter). Milk is a very important part of Punjabi food in its many form such as yogurt (dahi), lassi, paneer, makhan (white butter) and ghee.
In rural India, Punjabi food is mostly served at "Dhaba". Dhaba is a usually self-service roadside food joint that is frequented by truck drivers and travelers. But now that dhaba food has become so popular around the world, that even big restaurants serve dhaba food.
So here is the Menu
- Gobi Paranthas (Indian bread stuffed with spiced cauliflower)
- Pindi Chana (Chick Peas cooked with onion-tomato sauce and a special touch of Indian spices)
- Jeera Mutter Pulao (Basmati rice cooked along with peas, cumin and spices)
- Paneer Mutter Malai ( Home made Indian cheese cubes cooked in cashew-milk cream sauce)
- Halwa(Sweet delicacy made of semolina, wheat flour, clarified butter, milk and sugar)
- Kakdi-piyaz da raita (Cucumber-onion mixed with yogurt and seasoned with spice)
- Lassi Patiala (Chilled butter milk pampered with Indian spices)
- Punjabi Papad (Dried Lentil chips)
I enjoyed making this Punjabi Thali a lot because we go to restaurants craving for such food. When we got to eat all this at home, it was a great party!!
3 cups plain white flour
1/2 tsp salt
warm water to make dough
1 cup finely grated cauliflower
2tsp grated ginger
1 tsp chopped green chillies
fresh chopped cilantro or paste
ajwain (carom seeds)
1/2 tsp turmeric
Prepare a soft dough combining salt, warm water, oil and flour. Set aside. In a pan add oil and cumin seeds. When the cumin and carom seeds starts spluttering, add ginger and chillies. After the ginger and chillies get fried, add grated cauliflower, turmeric, salt and saute well. The water from the cauliflower should get evaporated. I added cilantro paste instead of chopped one. That is why the filling looks green. The filling is done. Once it cools down, it is filled in to the dough, rolled into paranthas and fried till done on the griddle, just as you make your usual parathas.
Please visit my dear friend Kajal's
blog to see the step wise pictures on how to make paranthas .
2 cup kabuli chana (white chick peas) soaked overnight
1 tea bag
1 large tomato chopped
1 large finely chopped onion
1 tsp. garlic paste
1 tsp. ginger grated
3 green chillies chopped
1/2 tsp.each cumin seeds
1tsp Punjabi chole masala
1 tsp. red chilli powder
1/2 tsp Pomegranate powder
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1 star Anise (chakra phool in Hindi)
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/3 tsp asafoetida
4-5 tbsp.thick tamarind extract
3-4 tbsp. oil
Salt to taste
1 small onion sliced into rings
whole green chillies
Pressure cook the chick pea along with one tea bag and 2tsp salt, for not more than 3 whistles. Keep the chickpea aside after discarding the tea bag and water. I did not discard the water instead, I added it to the wheat flour to make dough for Paranthas. This way it becomes a healthy Parantha.
In a deep bottomed pan add oil, once it heats up add cumin, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cloves. Once you see them splutter, add ginger, garlic paste, green chillies, chopped onions and fry well till onion turns translucent.
To the same add finely chopped tomatoes, turmeric, all the other masala powders and cook well to see the oil separate from the tomato puree. Now add the cooked chick peas. It is a semi dry spicy chana. Once the chana gets well coated with all the masalas add the tamarind extract and mix gently. Keep on low heat for about 5 minutes and remove. Garnish with onion rings, chillies and cilantro. This Pindi Chana can be eaten as it is or can be combined with rotis or Naans.
Jeera Mutter Pulao
2 cups Basmati rice (long grain rice)
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 star Anise (chakra phool in hindi)
41/2 cups water
4-5 tbsp oil or ghee(clarified butter)
Wash the rice and drain the water and keep aside. You have to do this when you are ready with all the ingredients for the next step. The rice should not remain that way for more than 5-8 minutes.
In a heavy bottom and non-stick cookware, add oil on medium heat. When the oil heats up add cumin and allow it to splutter. Add bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon and star anise to the oil. Once the aroma is out in the air, add the peas and rice. Stir gently so that each grain of rice gets coated with oil. It should be just on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Now add water and salt. Give it a gentle stir and cover the vessel with lid. once the water boils on medium high flame, reduce the heat to low and leave it to cook until the rice is done. This is stovetop method. you can do it with a rice cooker too by transferring all the ingredients once they are coated with oil and water is added. "Jeera Mutter Pulao is ready"!!!!
Paneer Mutter Malai
1 cup paneer cubes (cottage cheese)
1/2 cup frozen peas
10 Cashew nuts
1/3 cup heavy milk cream
1 cup chopped onions
1/3 cup tomato puree
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
2-3 chopped green chillies
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1 Bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1 star Anise (chakra phool in hindi)
1/2 tsp garam masala
2-3 tbsp oil
1/4 cup water
Cilantro for Garnish
In a blender combine cashews and tomato to make a thick silky puree. Keep aside. In a deep bottomed pan heat oil on medium heat, add cumin seeds. While they splutter add cinnamon, cloves and bay leaf. When they start spreading the aroma into your kitchen, add ginger-garlic paste, green chillies and fry. Then add onions and fry till translucent. Add Paneer cubes and peas to fry for 2 minutes. Now, add the cashew-tomato paste, turmeric, salt and garam masala and fold in together all the ingredients.
You can see the oil separating out of the gravy. Add 1/4 cup water as the cashew paste intends to thicken. simmer the heat and add heavy cream. If you are calorie conscious you can also add 1/3 cup of plain whole milk. Leave leave the gravy on medium low heat for 5 minutes and remove from heat. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Paneer mutter malai goes great with naan or Jeera pulao.
For Sikhs, there is no greater occasion of joy than the full moon day around October-November when Guru Nanak (the founder of Sikhism, and the first of the ten Sikh Gurus.) was born, and Guru Parab, the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh (was the tenth and last of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism). It is a day when they rededicate themselves to unity, brotherhood and equality among all human beings. To symbolize these principles, the festival highlights a community kitchen called the Guru ka Langhar. From this free kitchen, food is served to devotees of all castes and creeds provided they sit together and eat the same food. The meal is simple and compact. After the singing of hymns Karah Parshad is served.
1-cup semolina (Sooji)
¼ cup wheat flour
1cup ghee (clarified butter)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
ghee for frying cashew nuts and raisins
Karah Prashad can be prepared with either semolina or wheat flour or by mixing both. Karah parshad are made only at Gurdwaras. Read more about Karah Parshad Here.
I followed the Karah Parshad recipe to make a halwa at home. I mixed semolina and wheat flour. In a deep, heavy bottomed pan warm up the clarified butter, add semolina and wheat flour. Fry continuously till the color changes to light brown. Remember the heat should be on medium. Once the mixture is well fried, simmer the heat.
Add sugar and milk and stir continuously so that no lumps are formed. Stir gently until the milk is fully absorbed and the mixture comes to an halwa consistency. The process is just like sooji halwa. Separately fry cashews, raisins and add it to the halwa.
Kakdi-piyaz da raita (cucumber-onion raita)
2 cups thick yogurt
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped onions
finely chopped green chillies(optional)
finely chopped mint leaves (optional)
roasted and powdered cumin powder
To the yogurt fold in all the ingredients except cumin powder. Garnish with cumin powder and serve.
Patiala is a city in the Punjab state of India. Lassi is the famous drink of Punjab. Lassi is a traditional Punjabi drink made by blending yogurt with water, salt, and spices until frothy. Traditional lassi is flavored with ground roasted cumin. The Lassi of the Punjab uses a little milk and is topped with a thin layer of malai, a clotted cream, also known as Devonshire cream. Lassis are enjoyed chilled as a hot-weather refreshment.
2 cups fresh chilled yogurt
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. crushed cardamom
8-10 saffron strands
2 drops of vanilla essence
1/2 cup crushed ice
1 tsp. hot milk
Soak saffron in 1 tsp.milk for few minutes. Add milk and ice to the yogurt bring it to a thick buttermilk consistency. Add rest of the ingredients to the buttermilk and whip well so that it gets light and frothy. You can also pulse it in the blender just 1-2 times. The lassi is ready when it is light and frothy. Serve it chilled.
Punjabi Papad (dried lentil chips)
Papad is a dried lentil chip studded with Indian spices that comes alive when grilled or deep fried. It is served as an accompaniment to an Indian meal, as a snack and as croutons in soups. Papads are thin wafers made of urad dal(black lentil).
Roasting North Indian Papad's
The papad is held between tongs and roasted evenly over an open gas flame. The whole process should not take more than 30 seconds. Quick and frequent turning is required to prevent burning. As soon as papad has changed color, curled up and become crisp, it is done. This will require some practice with timing the turns and the intensity of the heat as papads burn up so quickly.
Papad out of Microwave
Place a papad in the microwave oven and cook on high for 15 seconds. Stop, flip and cook for 15 more seconds. If your microwave has less power increase the time from 15 seconds to 20 seconds and up to 30 seconds on each side.
I also would like to add one of my previous post to this one. Click on Punjabi Kadi to get this recipe.
This one is contributed to Richa of Asdearassalt who is hosting this month's 'Regional cuisine of India'.