Punjabi cuisine (from the Punjab region of northwestern India and eastern Pakistan) can be non-vegetarian or completely vegetarian. One of the main features of Punjabi cuisine is its diverse range of dishes. Home cooked and restaurant Punjabi cuisine can vary significantly, with restaurant style using large amounts of clarified butter, known locally as ghee, with liberal amounts of butter and cream with home cooked concentrating on mainly upon preparations with Whole Wheat, Rice and other ingredients flavored with masalas (spices). Roh Di Kheer, is cooked using rice. Rice is cooked for a long time in sugar cane juice.
Within the area itself, there are different preferences. People in the area of Amritsar prefer stuffed parathas and milk products. In fact, the area is well known for quality of its milk products. There are certain dishes which are exclusive to Punjab, such as Mah Di Dal and Saron Da Saag (Sarson Ka Saag). The food is tailor-made for the Punjabi lifestyle in which most of the rural folk burn up a lot of calories while working in the fields. The main masala in a Punjabi dish consists of onion, garlic and ginger. Tandoori food is a Punjabi speciality especially for non-veg dishes. Many of the most popular elements of Anglo-Indian cuisine - such as Tandoor, Naan, Pakoras and vegetable dishes with paneer - derive from the Punjab.
Meat (Standard English) or Non-Vegetarian (Indian English):
Chicken - Tandoori Chicken, Butter Chicken, Chicken Tikka, etc.
Lamb - Rogan Josh, Bhuna Ghosht, Kadhai Ghost, Raan Gosht, Dal Gosht, Saag Gosht, Nihari Gosht, Rara Gosht, Paye da Shorba, etc.
Beef - Nihari Beef, Beef Pasanda, Kadhai Beef, etc (especially popular in West Punjab).
Fish - These are all Freshwater fish dishes like Amritsari Fish, Tandoori Fish, Fish Tikka, Fish Pakora, etc.
Kebabs - Various Lamb, Chicken and Beef Kebabs.
Biryanis - Chicken Biryani and Lamb Biryani.
Keema Naans - Chicken mince and Lamb mince stuffed Naans.
Pickles - Lamb Pickle and vegetable Pickle.
Vegetarian: Pulse, bean and / or lentil preparations:
Sarson Saag with Makki Roti
Mushroom & Beans Sabzi
Dal makhani/Dal Handi
Rajma (Red kidney bean) and Rice
Rongi (Black eyed bean)
Choley (eaten with Naan or Kulcha)
Punj ratani dal (mixture of 5 lentils)
These are generally soaked overnight or for at least 8 hours and gently simmered on the embers of a tandoor (A clay oven of the shape of a horizontally sliced pot) along with ginger, garlic and a few other garam masala (whole spices like cardamom, cinnamon, mace, and bay leaf).
These are then combined with a tangy masala base which could include tomato or dried mango (aam choor powder) or even pomegranate seeds (anar dana). The character typical to the bean or whole lentil preparation is that the shape is retained intact, but the gentlest pressure would make it into a paste.
Dollops of cream and butter provide for the rich finishing touch. Garnishing is usually with shredded coriander leaves and juliennes of ginger.
Other vegetarian preparations:
Kadi Pakora and Rice
Sheer korma (also called Saviyan)
The Punjabi breads are both flat breads as well as raised breads. The breads may be made of different types of flour and can be made in various ways:
Baked in the tandoor like Naan, Tandoori roti, Kulcha, Lachha Paratha
Dry baked on the Tava (Indian griddle) like Phulka or Chapati, jowar ki roti, baajre ki roti and the very famous Makki ki roti (these are also smeared with white Butter)
Shallow fried like Paratha, Keema Paratha, Potato or Raddish Paratha
Deep fried like Puri and Bhatoora (a fermented dough)
The Tandoor also allows for tasty Chicken and Mutton preparations including Seekh Kebab, Tandoori Chicken, Reshmi Tikka and Malai Tikka. Naan is also very popular. It is served with most of the dishes made at an Indian restaurant.