The delectable Punjabi cuisine has originated from the northern state of India, Punjab. The Punjabi culinary style is influenced by locally grown crops such as maize, wheat, barley, mustard, sugarcane, rice etc. The buttery and rich flavour of the Punjabi cuisine is enjoyed all over India and not only Punjab. Some of the signature dishes from Punjab are sarson da saag (stew kind of preparation prepared with mustard greens) and Makki di roti (flatbreads prepared with cornmeal).
Some of the popular Punjabi dishes are Masala Channa, Chole Bhature, Dal Makhana, Machhli Amritsari, Tandoori Chicken, Butter Chicken and Dal Makhani. The speciality of Punjabi cuisine is that it is based on slow cooking with the help of an array of masalas. Here are some tips on how you can prepare authentic Punjabi food at home.
#1. Four Must-Have Ingredients for Preparing Punjabi Food
- Ghee: Popularly known as the ‘breadbasket’ of India and being a dairyland, Punjabi dishes use a lot of ghee, curd and butter in their dishes. Thus, Punjabi dishes are cream-based. Whether it is chicken, paneer, spinach or paratha, loads of ghee or clarified butter is added. That is the speciality of Punjabi cuisine.
- Mustard Oil: Punjabis also use the pungent-smelling, yellow mustard oil. Green chillies are an integral part of Punjabi cuisine.
- Green Chillies: The flavour of green chillies can enhance the taste of any dish from vegetables, meat to curries. Not only are green chillies used in cooking but also served as accompaniments to meals.
- Ginger Powder: Instead of fresh ginger, Punjabis include dry ginger powder in their cuisine. Dry-type of ginger finds wide application in preparing dishes such as karela (bitter melon) or bhindi masala (lady’s finger).
#2. Use of Tandoor or Clay Oven in Punjabi Cuisine
The tandoor or clay oven cooking forms an integral part of Punjabi cuisine. All households in Punjab have tandoors in their courtyards. Some Punjabis even use communal tandoors. Punjabi’s use to make tandoori chicken, naan or roti in the tandoors.
The popular baingan bharta recipe requires roasting of aubergines or eggplants in the tandoor, gas stovetop or on a hot charcoal bed. This flavoursome dish has a unique taste since it gets infused with a distinct smoky aroma. Other popular Punjabi preparations that require the clay oven are Chicken tikka masala, chicken butter masala etc. A good alternative to the traditional tandoor is the barbecue equipped with a cover and an air vent.
#3. Slow-Cooking Technique Is an Integral Part of Punjabi Cooking
To achieve the authentic Punjabi taste, rajma (kidney beans) or popularly known as maah ki dal is slow-cooked for several hours. Cooking it on a low flame for a couple of hours helps in obtaining the creamy flavour of the dish which is not possible to achieve with loads of fresh cream or pureed tomato. To learn more about how to cook authentic Punjabi style rajma, look up a rajma recipe.
Following these above-mentioned tips, it would be possible to make lip-smacking Authentic Punjabi dishes.