Amritsar is the heart of Punjab, and if you happen to walk on the streets of this divine city you would feel every bit of it smells awesome. Well to be specific this smell is of the delicious food of course. I feel the real essence of Punjabi food is in its originality. In this era where most if the cuisines are adapting in some or the other way, Punjabi cuisine is one which stands proudly with all that ghee and makhaan. And why not that makes it one of the most delectable cuisines of India. Well this write up would not discuss the popular dishes from the state of Punjab, but it would focus on some unusual Punjabi dishes from Amritsar. Hang on.
Amritsar The Golden City
When we think of Amritsar we mostly think of the Golden Temple and the food. But this city is much more fascinating than you actually think. The captivating and complex history of this city would leave you speechless. Amritsar is a city of indulgence, it displays a showy Punjabi culture and is totally blessed with profusion.
Can’t go without mentioning the food here, you have to trust me having the Amritsari food is one of the most real experiences of being in this city. If you didn’t explore the Amritsari food in your last visit, you missed it. This time take some time around the city and taste a piece of the local life. Yes, that is where you would find real Punjabi Food.
Rediscover Punjabi Food From The Long-gone Age
We had spoken a lot on Punjabi Food in our earlier writeups, so let’s discover some really unusual dishes from Punjab which actually belong to the bygone era.
1. Mutton Champ
I have eaten many versions of Mutton Champ, in fact, I have one recipe that is passed on from one generation to the other in my family. Well, the Amritsari version is also one of the best ones that I got to eat. This is one of the most popular street food in Amritsar, in fact, people call it a star street food. Amritsari Mutton Champ, are made from coarsely minced lamb. These are slim and delicate mutton cutlets which are shallow-fried until crisp. These mutton champ have a very smoky flavor, that is what adds that earthiness to the bold flavor of the mutton.
2. Lahorey Charga
Charga means Chicken in pashtooni. This is a very popular specialty of the undivided Punjab. Tender chicken pieces are marinated in some spices, then steamed and further deep fried. These are golden in color and have a crisp texture on the outside while they are juicy inside.
3. Makkhan Wala Kukkad
You all would be knowing the world-famous Butter Chicken, isn’t it? But I bet once you try this real version you will forget your definition of butter chicken. Butter chicken as we know is a quintessential North Indian dish, and over the years it has transformed. In fact, I know some people who make butter chicken without butter, I wonder how they do that. Originally this dish is full bodied and has a textured base, but now a day it is more of a creamy curry. Try Makhan Wala Kukkad from Amritsar and go back to those original lanes in the history.
4. Shikar Da Achaar
Pickles are like a ritual followed in our country, isn’t it? So to taste the real essence of Amritsari pickle you have to try the Shikar Da Achaar. This pickle is made of quail meat and is fully packed with fragrance and adventure. This pickle was an outcome of the hunting sport which was loved by the royal Punjabi families. The meat that came from the game was turned into a delicious pickle.
5. Dehu Da Achaar
Dehu Da Achaar is other popular pickle which everyone enjoyed eating. “Dehu” is a local fruit which belongs to the jackfruit family. This fruit is turned into a delicious pickle in Amritsar and people eat it throughout the year. It goes very well with most of the lamb dishes.
6. Bharwan Keema Karela
I am not a big fan of bitter gourd or as we call it Karela. But when it comes loaded with minced meat it is so irresistible. This dish is known for its simplicity, but don’t underestimate it as it is bang on when it comes to flavors. Made in the typical style of Bharwan karela, whole bitter gourds are stuffed up with spiced meat and secured with a thread. This is then lightly fried until cooked. You have to try this dish, it is totally worth.
7. Gajjaraan Da Murabba
Another very vibrant dish it is originally made of lightly spiced carrots. I feel this one dish has the right balance of sweetness and tartness. This is a seasonal dish, tasting this dish is like tasting the winters. The term Murabba is totally Punjabi, it means sweet fruit preserves. Other parts of India also offer different versions of Murrabba, one common one you would have heard of is the “Amla ka Murrabba”. These go very well with any kind of meals.
8. Ganne Wale Chawal
This is another very popular dish that is made special during the festival of Lohri. For those who don’t know what the name means, “Ganne” means Sugar cane and “Chawal” means rice. Ganne Wale Chawal simply is rice cooked along with raw sugar cane juice. This is further tempered with a huge dollop of Ghee along with some fennel seeds and black cardamom. These are sticky and boldly sweet. One of the most delicious dessert to have from the land of Punjab.
These days most of the restaurants are busy serving Indian food with some twist. But visit Amritsar and see, they haven’t really adapted to the change. When it comes to food, it’s totally Chak De Fatte. Everything you eat there defines Punjabi cuisine in total originality.
You have to try these unusual and traditional dishes from Amritsar. Trust me like me even you would droll for more. Do you think we can add something to this list? Why don’t you share it with us as comments below?
Featured Photo by Luca Nebuloni
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