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
Laal maas - a fiery Rajasthani meat curry with freshly roasted spices and a burst of red chillies
- 2 Small onions (finely chopped)
- 2 green chillies (finely chopped)
- 18-20 red chillies
- 2 tsp coriander seeds (whole)
- 1 tsp jeera
- 1 cup mustard oil
- 10 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 piece small ginger (finely chopped)
- 1/2 kg lamb (cut into pieces with bones)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup kachri powder (Kachri is a dried vegetable, a variety of cucumbers found in Rajasthan and ground into a powder, small. You will find this in an Indian grocery store.)
- 3-4 pods cardamom
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 cinnamon stick
- A pinch of mace
- 1 pod black cardamom
- Handful coriander leaves (chopped)
1.Dry roast the red chillies to give it a nice distinctive aroma which adds great flavor to the dish.
- 2.Add to that the coriander seeds and cumin seeds.
- 3.Once done, grind it into a nice fine powder.
- 4.Heat some mustard oil in a pan. Add to this the garlic and ginger.
- 5.Once the garlic turns slightly brown add the lamb pieces.
- 6.Give it a good mix. This is also a good time to add salt.
- 7.Now add the kachri powder. Not only does this powder tenderize the meat, its also adds a nice tangy flavor to it.
- 8.Now add the chopped onions and mix all well.
- 9.Once the onions have roasted well add the whole spices, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, mace, black cardamom. Stir well.
- 10.Now add the red chilly powder and let it roast for about a minute.
- 11.Add enough water to cook the lamb. Cover it and let it simmer for a couple of minutes till the meat is cooked.
- 12.Once the meat is cooked, take out all the pieces on a platter and strain the gravy.
- 13.Straining the gravy gets rid of all the whole spices and keeps the essence and flavors intact.
- 14.Now add the lamb pieces you had taken out to the refined gravy and put it back on fire but on low heat.
- 15.Add about 1/2 cup water and some coriander leaves.
- 16.Let it simmer for a while and when you reach a good consistency of gravy, turn off the heat.
- 17.Serve hot with a good garnishing of chopped coriander leaves.
Serve with Rice or Roti