These dishes are known for their bold and spicy flavours and are often served with a variety of chutneys and sauces. Many of these dishes have evolved over time, with different cultures and traditions influencing their preparation and presentation.
Punjabi cuisine is a rich and flavourful culinary tradition that has its roots in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan, which is known for its fertile land, which has allowed it to produce a variety of grains, vegetables, and fruits that form the basis of Punjabi cuisine. The history of Punjabi cuisine can be traced back to the ancient Harappan civilization, which flourished in the region from around 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE. The people of this civilization were skilled farmers and traders, and they consumed a diet rich in grains, vegetables, and dairy products. Over time, the Punjab region came under the influence of various empires and rulers, including the Mughals, the British, and the Sikhs. Each of these influences left its mark on the region's cuisine, with new ingredients and cooking techniques being introduced time and again. The street food dishes of Punjab have a rich and diverse history, reflecting the region's cultural and culinary influences over the centuries. Punjab, located in the northwestern part of India, has been a crossroads of civilizations for thousands of years, and its cuisine reflects this rich history. Some of the most popular street food dishes of Punjab include samosas, chole bhature, tikki chaat, gol gappa, and kebabs.
These dishes are known for their bold and spicy flavours and are often served with a variety of chutneys and sauces. Many of these dishes have evolved over time, with different cultures and traditions influencing their preparation and presentation. The street food of Punjab is also heavily influenced by the region's agricultural heritage. The use of spices, lentils, and grains is common in many dishes, as is the use of dairy products such as yoghurt and paneer.
Here are 10 popular street food dishes from Punjab:
Chole bhatura is a popular dish in North Indian cuisine, especially in the Punjab region. It consists of spicy chickpeas, known as "chole," and deep-fried bread, known as "bhatura." The dish is often served with pickles, onions, and a yoghurt-based sauce known as "raita." The chickpeas for chole are cooked in a tangy and spicy tomato-based gravy with a variety of aromatic spices, including cumin, coriander, ginger, and garlic. The bhature is made from a dough of flour, yoghurt, salt, and oil, which is then rolled out into flat discs and deep-fried until golden brown. Chole bhatura is a hearty and filling dish that is often enjoyed as a breakfast or brunch item. It is also a popular street food in India and is often served at weddings, parties, and other special occasions. Many restaurants in India and around the world offer chole bhature on their menus.
Aloo tikki is a popular street food and snack in North Indian cuisine. It consists of a crispy potato patty that is seasoned with a blend of spices, such as cumin, coriander, and chilli powder, and then shallow-fried until golden brown. The patties are often served with various chutneys, such as tamarind and mint, and garnished with chopped onions and coriander. The dish is often made with boiled and mashed potatoes, which are mixed with a variety of spices and then shaped into round patties. The patties are then shallow-fried until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
It is a type of stuffed bread that is made with all-purpose flour and is typically served with spicy chickpeas, known as chole, and a side of the yoghurt-based dip, known as raita. The kulcha is traditionally cooked in a tandoor, which is a clay oven that is heated with wood or charcoal. The bread is placed on the walls of the tandoor and cooked until it is crispy and golden brown on the outside, with a soft texture on the inside. The kulcha is often brushed with ghee, or clarified butter, before serving to enhance its flavour. The dough for the kulcha is made with all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and water. It is then rolled out into a flat disc and stuffed with a spiced mixture of boiled and mashed potatoes, onions, and other ingredients, such as paneer, green chillies, and cilantro.
Lassi is a popular Punjabi drink that is often enjoyed as street food in Punjab. It is a traditional yoghurt-based drink that is made by blending yoghurt with water, sugar, and sometimes fruit, such as mango or strawberry. The mixture is then beaten until it is frothy and served in a tall glass. Lassi is a refreshing and cooling drink that is often consumed during the hot summer months. It is also a popular accompaniment to spicy food, as the yoghurt helps to soothe the palate and cool the body. In Punjab, it is commonly served in small earthen pots called matkas, which keep the lassi cool and refreshing. In addition to the traditional sweet lassi, there are also savoury versions of the drink, such as salted lassi and masala lassi, which are flavoured with a blend of spices, such as cumin, coriander, and black salt. These savoury lassis are often consumed as a mid-day snack or as a meal replacement.
Paneer tikka is a popular street food in Punjab and is enjoyed by many as a delicious and healthy snack. It is a vegetarian dish that is made by marinating cubes of paneer, which is a type of Indian cheese, in a mixture of spices and yoghurt and then grilling them on skewers until they are charred and crispy on the outside and soft and juicy on the inside. The marinade for paneer tikka typically includes a blend of spices, such as cumin, coriander, garam masala, turmeric, and chilli powder, along with garlic, ginger, and lemon juice. The paneer is then threaded onto skewers along with onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes and grilled until it is cooked through and has a nice char on the outside.
Achari chaap is a popular North Indian dish that is made with boneless pieces of marinated and grilled meat, typically chicken or mutton. The meat is marinated in a blend of spices that include achari masala, which is a spice blend that typically includes mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, and other spices. The taste of achari chaap is tangy and spicy, with a strong flavour of pickling spices from the achari masala. The dish has a unique and distinctive flavour that is different from other Indian meat dishes, and it is often enjoyed by people who prefer spicy and tangy flavours.
Samosa chaat is a popular Indian street food snack that is made by combining pieces of samosas with spicy and tangy chutneys, yoghurt, and other toppings. The samosas are typically cut into small pieces and then mixed with chutneys made from tamarind, mint, and other ingredients, along with diced onions, tomatoes, and coriander leaves. The dish is then topped with yoghurt, sev (a crispy fried snack made from chickpea flour), and chaat masala. The taste of samosa chaat is a combination of spicy, tangy, and savoury flavours. The chutneys add a sweet and tangy flavour, while the yoghurt provides a cooling and creamy contrast to the spiciness.
Malai chaap is a popular vegetarian dish from North India that is made using soy-based chaap, which is marinated in a creamy and rich sauce made from cashews, cream, and spices, and then grilled or roasted until tender. The taste of malai chaap is rich, creamy, and mildly spicy. The creamy sauce made from cashews and cream gives the dish a smooth and velvety texture, while the spices add a complex and flavorful taste to the dish. The soy-based chaap has a texture similar to meat, which makes it a popular vegetarian substitute for meat dishes.
Dahi Bhalla is a popular Indian street food snack that is made with fried lentil balls that are soaked in yoghurt and served with spicy and tangy chutneys. The lentil balls are made by grinding soaked lentils and then shaping them into balls, which are then deep-fried until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The taste of dahi bhalla is a combination of tangy, spicy, and creamy flavours. The yoghurt and chutneys provide a tangy and flavorful taste, while the lentil balls add a soft and savoury texture. The dish is also garnished with fresh coriander leaves, pomegranate seeds, and sometimes even grated coconut, which adds a refreshing and sweet flavour to the dish.
Amritsari fish is a popular Indian dish that originates from the city of Amritsar in the state of Punjab. It is made by marinating fish fillets in a spicy and tangy batter made from gram flour, ajwain (carom seeds), and various Indian spices, such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, and red chilli powder. The taste of Amritsari fish is a combination of spicy, tangy, and savoury flavours. The spices in the batter add a depth of flavour to the fish, while the tangy taste comes from the use of lemon juice and chaat masala. The fish itself has a mild flavour and a soft texture, which complements the crunchy and spicy outer coating.