Thali Menu #153 – Punjab
Punjab is a state in northern India. Forming part of the larger Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, the state is bordered by the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir to the north, Himachal Pradesh to the east, Haryana to the south and southeast, Rajasthan to the southwest, and the Pakistani province of Punjab to the west.
Punjabi is the most widely spoken and official language of the state. The main ethnic group are the Punjabis, with Sikhs (58%) forming the demographic majority. The state capital is Chandigarh, a Union Territory and also the capital of the neighbouring state of Haryana. The five tributary rivers of the Indus River from which the region took its name are Sutlej, Ravi, Beas, Chenab and Jhelum Rivers; Sutlej, Ravi, and Beas are part of the Indian Punjab.
Punjabi cuisine is a culinary style originating in Punjab region. This cuisine has a rich tradition of many distinct and local ways of cooking. Punjab is a major producer of wheat, rice and dairy products. These products also form the staple diet of the Punjabi people. The state of Punjab has one of the highest per capita consumption of dairy products in India. Distinctively Punjabi cuisine is known for its rich, buttery flavours along with the extensive vegetarian and meat dishes.
There are many styles of cooking in Punjab. In the villages many people still employ the traditional equipment and tools for cooking purposes. This includes wood-fired and masonry ovens. In India, tandoori cooking is traditionally associated with Punjab as Punjabis embraced the tandoor on a regional level. In rural Punjab, it is common to have communal tandoors, which are also called Kath tandoors in Punjabi.
This weekend, we celebrate this rich, yet rustic cuisine with a menu comprising of dishes like Palak Paneer, Maa Ki Dal, or the classic Saagwala Gosht curry -a goat met dish with spinach- or the Carrot-Rice Kheer which is a soul food for most homes. Join us this weekend and share the joy de vivre that the happy Punjabi’s are so well known for.
Recipe of the week
Maharashtrian style tempered dal
For pressure cooking:
- ½ cup Toor dal or split pigeon peas
- 1 ½ cups Water
- ¼ teaspoon Turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon Jaggery
- 2 teaspoon Ghee
- ½ teaspoon Cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- a pinch Asafoetida
Pressure cooking the Dal
- Wash Toor dal under running cold water till water runs clear.
- Soak the dal in enough water for at least 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, discard soaking water.
- Add dal to the pressure cooker with 1 ½ cups of water and turmeric powder.
- Close the lid, put the weight on and cook it on medium heat for 3-4 whistles, open the lid once the pressure is released.
- Mash or hand blend the dal till smooth.
- Add salt and jaggery to the dal. The dal needs to be thin consistency but not too watery, add water to get the desired consistency.
- Turn the heat to medium and bring the dal to a simmer.
- Let it simmer for 4-5 minutes.
Making the tempering
- Heat the ghee or oil in a small frying pan.
- Once hot add cumin seeds and let them sizzle.
As seeds sizzle, turn off the stove, wait for a few seconds.
Then add red chilli powder and asafoetida.
Immediately add the tempering to the dal. Stir well.
Serve hot with steamed rice.