Punjabi food occupies a pride of place in Indian cuisine. Most people enjoy it and I am no exception. After all, I am a Punjabi by birth. The spice content and variety is what make it popular. It is easily available across India at small roadside eateries to Five star Hotels. Punjabi food is a must on the menu of most Indian restaurants. Mumbai is replete with Punjabi food.
North Indian cuisine mainly comprises dairy products; like milk, paneer, ghee, and yoghurt. Gravies are typically dairy-based. Punjabi cuisine includes home made preparations which are easy to cook and for which the ingredients are locally available or locally produced. Even spices which are used are not very exotic as other cuisines. Only regular spices such as bay leaf, cloves, black pepper, nutmeg, cumin, red chili are used.
The use of the “tawa” for baking flat breads like roti, paratha, naan, Kulcha and “tandoor” is common. The most popular dish of Punjab is the Makki Ki roti aur sarson ka saag. The dals are a specialty of Punjabi cuisine. Made of whole pulses like black gram, green gram and Bengal gram, they are cooked on a slow fire, often simmered for hours till they turn creamy and then are flavoured with spices and rounded off with a dollop of butter. Tandoori chicken, Amritsari Macchi, Chole Bhatura, Baingan Bhartha, Missi roti, Sarson da saag, Rajma masala, are other typical favourites.
Masala Mantar is a great place for Punjabi food in Mumbai. Urban Tadka in Andheri is known for its wholesome Punjabi food. Pratap’s The Dhaba, is one of my favourites. Copper Chimney serves some of the best kebabs. Oye Punjabi is also good for certain dishes. The Great Punjab in Bandra is another hot spot. Of course Five Star Hotels serve delectable Punjabi cuisine.
Adhering to the culinary trends of the city, The Funjabi Tadka cuisine by Chef Harpal Singh Sokhi at Cest La Vie Bandra recently was essentially North Indian, rustic and home-style. Kadak Kulcha Aur Choley, Mushroom Ki Galouti Kabab, Fish Tikka Afghani, Beetroot aur Amley ka Kabab, Lawrence Road Ka Tandoori Murgh, were some memorable dishes.
Gulmurg, the fine dining restaurant at Shalimar Hotel, Kemps also recently organised a Punjabi food festival titled, “Gurdaspur to Batinda-” where one could savour some lip smacking Punjabi food replete with authentic masalas and cooking techniques.
Master Chef finalist Jyoti Arora is in Mumbai this week, and is cooking dishes for the Punjabi Food Festival at JW Marriott Mumbai. A housewife from Punjab, Jyoti has been cooking since 29 years. A typical housewife, Jyoti takes pride in feeding people with her innovations, especially in Punjabi cuisine. I can’t wait to dig into the delectable fare she will be preparing. Will remind me of my mum’s home-cooked food I bet.