Punjabi food or ਭੋਜਨ (pronounced as Bhōjana) is love, and no foodie can deny this fact! With this said, it is imperative that we arm ourselves with vocabulary about food in Punjabi. That’s because Punjabi cuisine is one of the first imports of Indian culture worldwide, and it is always a good idea to be more culinarily aware. If you’re ready for that and more, then keep reading below!
Basis Of Punjabi Culture
Historically, Punjab has been one of the most abundant regions of the Indian subcontinent. The pre-partition or undivided state of Punjab derived its name – Panjab (ਪੰਜਾਬ)- being the land of five rivers. Panj (ਪੰਜ) means five, and Aab (ਆਬ) means water. Known as the “wheat bowl of India,” the state is also the country’s fifth largest dairy product supplier. So, you can imagine how rich its food selections could be, saturated with milk (Doodh – ਦੁੱਧ), yogurt (Dahi – ਦਹੀਂ), cream (ਕਰੀਮ) and cottage cheese (Paneer – ਪਨੀਰ)!
Punjabi cuisine is a beautiful amalgamation of rich non-vegetarian curries, hearty vegetarian dry dishes, spicy lentils (Daal – ਦਾਲ), fresh pickles, and an assortment of bread, like Naan (ਨਾਨ), Kulcha (ਕੁਲਚਾ) and Parantha (ਪਰਾਂਠਾ). What makes Punjabi food stand out is the exhaustive use of a clay oven called Tandoor (ਤੰਦੂਰ) to roast meats and bake bread. In short, earthy and rustic food from farm to table!
Globally Popular Punjabi Dishes
Indian cuisine has a tremendous fan following globally, led by Punjabi food. Punjabis were the earliest to form the Indian diaspora in almost every corner of the planet. They took their food along with them and conquered the culinary world! Let’s see some popular dishes from Punjab that can weaken your knees.
1. Butter Chicken
As the name suggests, this dish – called Chicken Makhani (ਚਿਕਨ ਮੱਖਣੀ) in Punjabi – is all about marinated boneless pieces dunked in lots of clarified butter (Ghiyo – ਘਿਓ) or butter (Makkhan – ਮੱਖਣ) and tossed in a creamy gravy. It is the most ordered dish in Indian restaurants around the world. However, the ones made in Punjabi households tend to be much more toned down with a homely feel but taste just as divine.
2. Amritsari Fish
Named after the city of Amritsar (Punjab region of India) where it originated, this is a popular street side food of the region that features heavily in Punjabi restaurants all over. Called Amritsari Machchhi (ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਸਰੀ ਮੱਛੀ) in Punjabi, this is a simple dish of batter fried local freshwater fish called Singhara (ਸਿੰਘਾਰਾ).
3. Sarson Ka Saag/ Sarson Da Saag
The staple food of Punjabi households whose popularity goes beyond Punjab, Sarson Da Saag (ਸਰਸੋਂ ਦਾ ਸਾਗ) translates into Mustard Greens. However, this creamy and saucy curry also includes greens like spinach (Paalak –ਪਾਲਕ), fenugreek leaves (Methi –ਮੇਥੀ), white radish root and greens (Mooli –ਮੂਲੀ). It is almost always paired with Makki Ki Roti (ਮੱਕੀ ਦੀ ਰੋਟੀ) – an unleavened flatbread made of corn flour (not to be confused with cornflour), dollops of freshly churned white butter (ਸਫ਼ੇਦ ਮੱਖਣ) and some jaggery (ਗੁੜ). It makes for a hearty winter meal!
4. Chhole Bhature
Chhole Bhature is a dish comprising of a spicy chickpea curry (Chhole – ਭਟੂਰੇ) and giant fried bread (Bhature – ਭਟੂਰੇ) made of all-purpose flour (Maida – ਮੈਦਾ). This famous street food has crossed Punjab’s state limits and become a Pan-India sensation. This Punjabi dish has become the food spirit of the national capital New Delhi where it is mainly eaten as Sunday brunch – either ordered in or at a popular local vendor.
5. Amritsari Lassi
Lassi (ਲੱਸੀ) is a sweet, yogurt-based cold drink that accompanies most Punjabi meals at restaurants. A variation called Mango Lassi has been made popular across the globe via restaurants run by immigrant Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis. It not only soothes your gut by providing relief from all the heat generated by the spices but also freshens you up and fills you with instant energy.
Popular Punjabi Foods
Come, let us have a look at some more Punjabi food items to tantalize your tastebuds!
|Dish Name||Dish Name in Punjabi Script||What it is|
|Aaloo Parantha||ਆਲੂ ਪਰਾਂਠਾ||Wheat flour flatbread stuffed with spiced potatoes|
|Rajma Chawal||ਰਾਜਮਾ ਚੌਲ||Red kidney bean curry with rice|
|Chhole Chawal||ਛੋਲੇ ਚੌਲ||Chickpea curry with rice|
|Kadhi Pakore||ਕੜੀ ਪਕੌੜੇ||Buttermilk-based lightly spiced curry with vegetable fritters|
|Tandoori Chicken||ਤੰਦੂਰੀ ਚਿਕਨ||Grilled chicken legs|
|Paneer Tikka||ਪਨੀਰ ਟਿੱਕਾ||Grilled marinated paneer cubes|
|Fish Tikka||ਫਿਸ਼ ਟਿੱਕਾ||Grilled marinated fish pieces|
|Maah Di Daal||ਮਾਹ ਕੀ ਦਾਲ||Creamy black lentil gravy|
|Chana Masala||ਚਨਾ ਮਸਾਲਾ||Black gram dry curry|
|Kurkuri Bhindi||ਕੁਰਕੁਰੀ ਭਿੰਡੀ||Crispy fried okra|
|Baingan Bharta||ਬੈਂਗਨ ਭਰਤਾ||Roasted aubergine/ brinjal mash|
|Aaloo Gobi||ਆਲੂ ਗੋਬੀ||Potato and cauliflower dry curry|
Vocabulary About Food In Punjabi
|Food Item||Food Item in Roman Script||Food Item in Punjabi Script|
|Black Pepper||Kali Mirch||ਕਾਲੀ ਮਿਰਚ|
|Red Chilli||Lal Mirch||ਲਾਲ ਮਿਰਚ|
|Turmeric Powder||Haldi Powder||ਹਲਦੀ ਪਾਊਡਰ|
|Garam Masala||Garam Masala||ਗਰਮ ਮਸਾਲਾ|
|Coriander Powder||Dhania Powder||ਧਨੀਆ ਪਾਊਡਰ|
|Black Gram||Kala Gram||ਕਾਲਾ ਗ੍ਰਾਮ|
|Yellow Split Pigeon Pea||Toor Daal||ਤੂਰ ਦਾਲ|
|Bengal Gram||Bangal Gram||ਬੰਗਾਲ ਗ੍ਰਾਮ|
|Green Chilli||Hari Mirch||ਹਰੀ ਮਿਰਚ|
|Green Peas||Hare Matar||ਹਰੇ ਮਟਰ|
|Cauliflower||Phul Gobi||ਫੁੱਲ ਗੋਭੀ|
Learn Punjabi With The Ling App
Wasn’t this a yummy experience? I am sure you are drooling right now! So, what are you waiting for? Go and order some delicious Punjabi food.