The local cuisine of Punjab is heavily influenced by the agriculture and farming lifestyle that has been prevalent for centuries. Punjab is a major producer of wheat, rice and dairy products which form the staple diet of Punjabi people. In Punjab itself, there are differences in flavours and style. For example, people around Amritsar prefer well-fried stuffed Paranthas and milk sweets. The people of Doab region eat a more of them; in the Malwa region "Bajra (ground maize) Khichari" is a delicacy.
Various Delicacies of Punjabi Cuisine
"Maa ki Dal", "Sarson Da Saag" and "Makki Di Roti" and stuffed Paranthas can be found in every nooks and corners of Punjab. The people of Punjab prefer rotis or chapatis than rice. In fact their staple food is "Makki Di Roti" and "Sarson Da Saag". The food of Punjab is suitable for those who burn up a lot of calories while working in the fields and tilling their small acres. For the urban folk, however, eating even one dish is enough because life in the cities is so sedentary. The main masala in a Punjabi dish consists of onion, garlic, ginger and a lot of tomatoes fried in pure ghee to enhance the taste of the food. They can have rotis or chapatis with just onions only if they do not have a curry or vegetable along with it.
Predominantly wheat eating people, the Punjabis cook rice only on special occasions. It’s never eaten plain or steamed rice. Rice is eaten always with a flavouring of cumin or fried onions with "Rajma" or "Kadhi". Rajma (Red Beans) with rice or rice with Kadhi is eaten on holidays or on festive days. In winter, rice is cooked with Gur (Jaggery) or with peas called "Matarwale Chawal" or as a delicacy called "Rao Ki Kheer" which is rice cooked on very slow fire for hours together with sugarcane juice.
The traditional "Punjabi Thali" consists of varied kinds of breads; some are baked in the tandoor such as tandoori roti, lachha paratha, naan and kulcha, while others are dry baked on tava like chapatti and jowar ki roti. There is another fabulous variety of roti called rumali roti, which is larger in size as compared to the normal one and is also easily absorbable. Also, there are breads that are shallow fried such as parantha and deep fried such as puri and bhatura.
Beverages in Punjabi Cuisine
Another interesting feature is "Lassi" (buttermilk) which is a preparation of curd and is quite common among the people of Punjab. Punjab has a diverse range of dairy based beverages such as lassi, Mango lassi, Mango Milkshake, Chaas etc. The local regional drinks in Punjab also include Doodh soda or Milk Soda.