The Punjab Region
Punjab literally means ‘land of five rivers’ in Persian. As it was divided into two at the time of partition a part of Punjab lies is in the north west of India and the other in north east of Pakistan.
Punjab mainly consists of large fertile plains and is India’s biggest producer of wheat. Milk and its products in the form of malai (cream), paneer (cottage cheese), butter and curds are used with almost every Punjabi meal.
The most popular form of Indian food served around the world is derived from Punjabi cuisine. The concept of using the tandoor oven in Indian kitchens originated here. Communal tandoors are still used in the villages of Punjab where women gather in the evening to cook bread and share gossip.
It shares several characteristics with the cuisine of Kashmir and other adjacent states. Punjabi cuisine is diverse, and varies regionally. Punjabi food served in the restaurants originated from the ‘Dhabas’ - roadside restaurants started by Punjabi people to provide food to truckers. It would not be wrong to say that in India ‘Dhabas’ were the first restaurants. Tandoori Chicken, Dal Makhani, Karahi Paneer, Chicken Tikka, Lassi, Kheer, Jalebi; are the popular Punjabi dishes found in restaurants all over the world.
Other popular seasonal dishes are; Sarsoon da Saag – prepared with green mustard leaves; Makki di Roti – maize flour bread; and Cholle Bhaturre – chickpeas served with fried bread.