Punjabi cuisine has been advertised and hullaballoo-ed over part of the region. An agriculturally blessed state, Punjab has two diverse versions. One is the pindi or rural hinterland, while the other is the swanky Sector 17 style upscale urban version. The latter is the Lamborghini flaunting, tandoori loving part of Punjab that is often thought synonymous with Punjab as a whole. The foods of these two versions of Punjab is different in terms of how complex or rich they are. There are few faithful to the roots items on the Punjabi menu that is seen chiefly cooking at rural homes across the pinds of Punjab. And yes, for most Punjabis, these are the foods cooked at home regularly.

Maa Di Dal

The humble black urad dal is true to Punjabi roots. It is not cooked like the reddish Dal Makhni always. The desi Punjabis cook this with a ginger garlic tomato paste and some. jeera tempering. No fancy spices except seasonings go on to grace to well-boiled soft dal that is had fresh off the stove. No malai or butter is added on the top either. The basic dal eaten across Punjabi homes is as regular as the yellow dal eaten across most other communities. The rich dals are only occasional!

Missi Atta Roti

As you see across restaurants and feasts, Missi roti is never the missi roti eaten in traditional or simple homes of Punjab. Besan and atta are mixed in ajwain and salt laced dough. This is rolled like a regular paratha and slightly fried on a tawa. Eaten with achaar and finished with sweet lassi on the side. The lassi in typical Punjabi homes does not come with as thick a was of malai or any flavourings as you find across cafes in urban Punjab either.

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Pulao or Mitha Chawal

Rice is not a daily dish for Punjabis in the pind. If rice is cooked, it has potatoes and onion in it. Sweetened rice with a few almond slices and raisings thrown in is also an elementary yet authentic Punjab item that not many talks about these days.

The Pindi Divide

Punjabi dishes that are mainly traditional do not come with the buttery, creamy aspect, often considered classic cuisine from the region. Think alu variyan versus butter chicken. Think besan kadhi versus pakoda kadhi. The comparisons only make the differences more evident.

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These sure are aspects of Punjabi food but a genre seen across bigger cities and globally. The average farming community in the smaller homes across Punjabi villages works so hard that they prefer to stick to their dal roti achaar with a zeal never understood. But yes, the true to roots category foods on Punjabi offer you satisfaction—unmatched by any other cuisine.

Satarupa B. Kaur has been writing professionally for a decade now. But, she is always on the go; she loves to travel, books, and playtime with her toddler as she explores new places and food!