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The many facets of ‘Punjabi’ cuisine

In this day and age where we have begun to learn and appreciate Regional food rather than food defined by political boundaries, here’s my small bit of gyaan to add to your food appreciation pages..


The “Punjab” as we know it today has had many facets attached to it, not just in terms of geography, but cuisine as well.

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Punjab itself is divided into several “Punjabs” -the Royal Punjab,the most historic seat of royalty being Lahore, then there is the farmer’s Punjab, agrarian community being pretty influential.

Talking about Royal Punjab,during some part of the Mughal era & Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s time,the food had European influences, since his generals & some sections of the Barracks were European.

Later all the smaller (as compared to Maharaja Ranjit Singh) Royalties – Nabha,Patiala,Kapurthala, etc,carried the same European infatuation in their lifestyles & kitchens. A true royal Punjabi cookbook would be incomplete without these dishes.

Then we have the traders’ Punjab, Lahore & Amritsar being major trade cities. Followed by Khatri Punjab, the Sufi Punjab & of course, Urban Punjab. And there’s the fine line between Sindh & Punjab too.

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Old Punjabis will tell you that there’s nothing called Punjabi food beyond Lahore. What we had in Indian Punjab was either the food of minor royalties, that was influenced by the west, the French & the British; or the peasant food.

We eventually got a taste of Lahore, Karachi food post Independence, when they came here & adapted that food to our palate. That again cannot be termed Punjabi food! How would you then place Punjab in a bracket and say this is Punjabi food?!

For eg, Sarson da saag is peasant Punjabi food. Karahi Paneer is a form of Karahi cooking that’s typical of old Punjab, most of which is now in Pakistan.

Amritsar being a major trade centre, traders from all over used to come in and settle down. Plus the pilgrim influx. So between the traders & the pilgrims, the dhabas as the quick vegetarian food source, became famous.

The list isn’t comprehensive either, there’s more to discover! Do leave your thoughts on this in the comments too…

Comments

  1. I came across this by chance but I think God sent!
    Iam writing on Punjabi cuisine and your insights are perfect guidance.

  2. For a now emigrated Mumbayite, grown up in the suburbs of Bandra (E), Thane and Kalina, my first trip to Delhi for an office conference tickled me pink. I then saw there in real life, what I had only see in TV serials till then. TV serials and then maybe some sprinkling of a few families every now and then on the walking or shopping on the streets of Mumbai. Real Punjabi’s with turbans on their heads everywhere, literally everywhere and big glasses of lassi’s. I was like, “the TV serials are real”. These people are real. Undoubted deep past’s to make them the deep characters that they are. Real pleasing attitudes and smiles. “Gentle Giants”, I would often call them in my mind.

    Thanks for sharing this part of Punjab. This really reveals the roots from which people’s food attitudes and culture as it has formed today. Love the photography on the blog and camera work on YouTube.

  3. Hello Ranveer Veere.
    I am a big fan of your cooking style and specially like your history lessons that bring the best while making those recipes. Listening to you make me travel back the time.

  4. The ‘Punjabi ‘food for us is the one with heavy gravy and Paneer:)
    We wish know more about thespecifics that go into such cuisine eg ghee is used on the house to combat temperature extremes

  5. Hi bro I start watching your channel and it’s amazing I just loved your cooking and your style , I did tried your so many recipes specially andy ka khazeena , I have a request for zarda plz make it from your old memories, I loved ghorr Walt chawal , that is very tasty, I loved cooking ,
    Plz make ZARDA

  6. We would like to know more about the journey of Punjabi food with traditional dishes which are not known to us…

    Eagerly waiting for winter season Punjabi traditional dishes video…

    Me and my sister are big fan of your cooking.. Whenever we have to cook anything… It has to be from.. Ranveer ne bataya tha… Video

  7. Good to read and know! Would like to know more about the origins of many other cuisines from the province which we bracket it today as Punjabi food.

  8. Please also through your insights on Sindhi food ( history and making) and cuisines and the fine line of it with punjabi food. I am a sindhi would love to hear from you. Thank you.

  9. I am confused after this read, it had many elements but I couldn’t find anything specific which tells me that this is Punjabi Cuisine and I can own it, this is mine. My Ancestors are from Peshawar and Lahore but I could never spend that much quality time with them to know about it .. I was too small. I feel like I am a hardcore Punjabi and I relate to this a lot.

    Appreciate if you can share a more elaborated read on this topic…

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