35+ Punjabi Flavors For Perfect Tarka To Your Punjabi Food

I spot a foodie! Are you fond of exotic food like me? Or maybe you’re a Punjabi living abroad trying to find your way back to your culture. In either case, you would like to try Punjabi food at home. It’s impossible to give that much-needed Punjabi Tarka (sizzling/tempering) to your dishes without learning about the Punjabi flavors. Thus we brought you to another excellent Punjabi blog post to get closer to the Punjabi food culture. So, without further ado, let’s crush it!!!

Punjabi Masale – ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਮਸਾਲੇ (Punjabi Condiments)

Punjabi Flavors

Punjabi Masale – ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਮਸਾਲੇ (Punjabi Condiments) are subtly balanced Indian spice unique blends. It combines floral rose petal notes, pepper mace, clove punches, and aromatic cardamom. The bouquet of aromatic flavors gives Punjabi cuisine an authentic feel.

Essential Punjabi Masale – ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਮਸਾਲੇ include

  • Keysara – ਕੇਸਰ (saffron)
  • Haldi – हल्दी (turmeric)
  • Jeera – ਜੀਰਾ (cumin seeds)
  • Jaiphal – ਜਾਇਫਲ (nutmeg)
  • Elaichi – ਇਲਾਇਚੀ (cardamom)
  • Dhania – ਧਨੀਆ (coriander)
  • Pisi Lal Mirch – ਮਿਰਚ (paprika powder)

Spices are made from fresh herbs too. These herbs are washed with rose water.

Forms Of Spices

Forms of spices are also essential to produce extraordinary flavors. They can be whole, chopped, ground, roasted, sautéed, fried, and topped. Spices add a unique flavor to any form of food. Some people add spices at the end to enhance the flavor and not to extract the natural flavor. The zest with heavy flavor is added at the beginning.

Let’s look at some other Punjabi Masale – ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਮਸਾਲੇ (Punjabi Condiments) to enhance the flavor of your dishes.

Chutney – ਚਟਨੀ (Sauce)

Chutney is a sauce (can be thick or thin) made with different spices and flavors. Calling it gravy sauce won’t be wrong either. Famous chutneys include Punjabi Food Ingredients like tamatar ki chutney (with tomatoes cooked or simply chopped tomatoes), dhania or podeenay ki chutney, aloo Bukhara ki chutney, imli ki chutney, keri ki chutney, etc.

Achaar – ਅਚਾਰ (Pickles)

Pickles are prepared by fermenting the ingredients in a closed jar or container for some days. It includes Keri ka achaar, kaddu ka achaar, mirchi ka achaar, kheere ka achaar, mixed vegetables cooked achaar, gaajar ka achaar and leemu ka achaar. The main spices and sauces included in the achaar are vinegar (sirka), jalapenos, salt, sugar, cumin seeds (jeera), turmeric (haldi), etc.

Murabba – ਮੁਰੱਬਾ (Sweet Fruit Preserve)

Murabba is a sweet preserve made with berries or fruits, sugar, and salt. This condiment has a wide variety. Punjabis mostly form Aam ka Murabba, Keri ka Murabba, Mooli Murabba, Gajar ka Murabba, Amla ka Murabba, Harar Murabba, Mix fruit Murabba, etc.

Punjabi Flavors Vocab

Punjabi Flavors

Punjabis love to eat, which is no secret since they take pride in this quality. Being such khāṇa vālē – ਖਾਣ ਵਾਲੇ (Foodies), Punjabis not just love to eat but also cook food. 

Indian culture is rich in every aspect but especially their food. It’s scrumptious. Each region has its distinct theme of flavors. Talking about the Punjabi flavors, the theme is more on the masālēdāra – ਮਸਾਲੇਦਾਰ (spicy) side. 

Let’s look at some of the most common flavors vocab with their equivalents in the Punjabi language so that you can not only talk about the Punjabi flavors but also ask for exotic flavors in Punjab.

English WordsPunjabi TranslationsRomanized Punjabi


English WordsPunjabi TranslationsRomanized Punjabi
soy sauceਸੋਇਆ ਸਾਸsō’i’ā sāsa
water-likeਪਾਣੀ ਵਰਗਾpāṇī varagā

Punjabi Dishes To Make With These Flavors

Every area or region has a special list of flavors and spices that specifies their food. Punjabi cuisine or Punjabi food has a delicate, soft, and a little spicy touch. Punjab is a part of North India, and the food of North India is considered the best.

Su’āda – ਸੁਆਦ is the Punjabi word meaning flavor in English. Let’s look at some of the most famous Indian dishes which are made more flavorful with the addition of Punjabi flavors.

Dal Makhni – ਦਾਲ ਮੱਖਣੀ (Buttery Lentils)

Makhaṇa – ਮੱਖਣ (Butter)/ Ghi’ō – ਘਿਓ (Ghee) is an ultimate flavor-enhancing ingredient for every Punjabi dish. You can simply pour it on a roti/paratha and it will give a mouth-watering aroma and taste.

Makhaṇa – ਮੱਖਣ (Butter) enhances the flavor of Dal Makhni – ਦਾਲ ਮੱਖਣੀ (Buttery Lentils), which is popular everywhere in India. From small-scale dhaba businesses to five-star hotels, everyone is fond of it. It is served with plain rice, roti/paratha, and a generous amount of butter (makhani) to enhance the flavor. Besides, dal bukhara is a famous good food among Indian food too.

Chana Masala – ਚਨਾ ਮਸਾਲਾ (Mix Spiced Chickpeas)

Moving on to the second most loved Punjabi dish, the Chana Masala – ਚਨਾ ਮਸਾਲਾ. You can use add a specific flavor to the dish, which goes by the same name, Chana Masala – ਚਨਾ ਮਸਾਲਾ. Every Punjabi would kill to get this flavor.

Its variety is dry and moist. The absence of onions makes the curry or gravy in the dish makes it less satisfying, but the taste of Chana Masala – ਚਨਾ ਮਸਾਲਾ coriander seeds, tomatoes, and spices makes up for it. It has a mildly spicy sauce.

Paneer Masala – ਪਨੀਰ ਮਸਾਲ

The Paneer – ਪਨੀਰ (Cheese) is added to give flavor to many dishes like paneer masala – ਪਨੀਰ ਮਸਾਲ, one of the paneer (cheese/Indian tofu) recipes, which is creamy and delicious. It is used in the vegetarian version of butter chicken with the same thick gravy or creamy sauce as the original. 

Cubed-shaped homemade cheese is added to spinach to enhance its flavor; thus, this mouth-watering dish is called palak paneer – ਪਾਲਕ ਪਨੀਰ. Paneer paratha and paneer kofta also include a taste of delicately cooked paneer. 

Meatballs and thick creamy tomato sauce together add a subtle flavor to Malai Kofta. There is no specific date and time to have these dishes, but on a sunny and long beach day, Indians crave these dishes the most.

Tikka – ਟਿੱਕਾ (BBQ)

One of the signature flavors that enhance Punjabis’ taste buds is the tikka – ਟਿੱਕਾ (BBQ) flavor, which also energizes the Tikka dish. They genuinely enjoy the crispy and yummy Chicken tikka, lamb tikka, and goat tikka, and they are delicately cooked on seekh (a sharp, round, and long tool used for this purpose).

These meats are roasted on fire along with some bell peppers, fresh spices, and fresh mushrooms and have a unique blend of soft, sour flavor. Serving them with wheat bread filled with new garlic paste or cheese (paneer) called garlic naan and cheese naan explains the excellent taste of Punjabis.

Curry Masala – ਕਰੀ ਮਸਾਲਾ

Curry – ਕਰੀ is a staple food in Punjab, made with curd or buttermilk, and is among one the simple dishes to make. This has a mildly spicy flavor, and famous curries include lamb curry, coconut curry, and pakora curry. 

Tandoori Chicken – ਤੰਦੂਰੀ ਚਿਕਨ (Roasted Chicken)

Tandoori chicken is hard to resist. This baked chicken has a flavor of roasted spices and curd to marinate grilled chicken. This appetizer has an aroma thanks to the addition of a chickpea flavor.

They are presented with sliced green chilies, spicy sauce, and sometimes coconut milk too. It is considered the main course and is often served with rice. Lamb rice is up to the Punjabis’ taste buds too.

How Do Punjabis Punjabanize Western Food

Punjabi Flavors

Punjabis are very creative and are big fans of masalas (flavors). They even give a Punjabi touch to western food by adding some masalas (flavors). Mark your Punjabi calendar with different dates to try Punjabanizing exotic dishes.

Here are two dishes that have been modified by the Punjabis in a crazy good way. 

Punjabanize Your Ramen!

Nowadays, ramen or Maggi noodles are the talks of the town among Indians, and they cook them in their desi styles by adding chaat masala, garam masala, sirka (vinegar), and a variety of vegetables such as tomatoes, capsicums, carrots, peas, and sauteed potatoes (mildly spiced potatoes) in them. 

Punjabanize Your Dumplings!

Craving desi dumplings is no more a problem for Punjabis as they also serve desi dumplings by filling them with different ingredients and calling them momos. Highly popular momos in India include Qeema momos, Soup momos, steamed momos, sweet momos, veg momos, tandoori momos, Shogo Shabril momos, wheat momos, and more.

Wrapping Up 

Punjabi Flavors

You have got the taste of Punjabi flavors to experiment with, and Punjabanize everything!!! And since you have achieved a new level, kudos to you! But the struggle doesn’t end here since you’ve got more and more milestones to achieve. Learning Punjabi might seem harsh, but nothing is complicated with the help of a friend, and the journey of learning the Punjabi language can be made more accessible with your new friend, aka Ling App.

If you make friends with the Ling app, then that could be by far the best friendship you have ever had. “Why”? You may ask. Here are three best reasons for that.

  • A friend in need is a friend indeed, hence the Ling App, to the rescue!
  • A friend is the best advisor, hence the Ling App, to guide you about why to get started, what to learn and how to become fluent in Punjabi.
  • Last but not least, a friend helps you overcome your fears, hence the Ling App, there to kill your worries by making Punjabi the most straightforward language for you to learn and motivating you. Dory, keep learning!

Download the app from Google Playstore or App Store and Start learning Punjabi now!!!

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