Punjabi 2BFood

The many facets of ‘Punjabi’ cuisine

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

As Chef Parvinder Bali mentions, there is much more to “Punjabi food” than just the popular dishes we know today.


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Pic Crtsy: shutterstock

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.

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.

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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, there’s more to discover!

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..



  1. Please suggest some vegetarian Royal Punjabi cuisines.Iv had enough of peasant Punjabi food,that's the only variety around these days.Im from Patiala,wonder if you can start from there:-)

  2. It’s really inspiring to see the knowledge you have about history behind each and every cuisine and dish, the way you explain basic concepts of cooking makes everything so interesting and easy to grasp. As you always say, “Khaana banana koi rocket science nahi hai”.
    Keep writing such knowledgeable content sir. Looking forward to read more.

  3. Chef whatever you told us is unique in itself either cooking skills, history and originality of flavour which comes from spices.i wish to learn more from your knowledge’s treasure .

  4. I was looking forward to know more. Can you write an elaborate piece of different cuisines of Punjab and their origins?

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