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Indian Punjabi food – garlic naan, tandoori chicken, chicken tikka, mango lassi, dal makhani and more

Updated on December 26, 2011

If you haven't tried Indian foods, you are missing out on lots of exotic and tasty foods. India is the second most populous country in the world and its cuisine is very diverse. I am lucky to have co-workers that are from India and gained first hand knowledge of this wonderful cuisine. This hub introduces you to some of the signature and wonderful Indian Punjabi foods. Next time you are in town, you should go and give these foods a try.

Let me give you a little introduction to India, its culture and foods. There are at least a dozen of different languages currently in use in India, the most common one that most people know in addition to their native language is Hindi. Along with those different languages, each ethnicity have their own food specialty. Most Indian restaurants in the United States are known as Punjabi Indian restaurants. Other regional foods are available as well in places where there are lots of Indian people. The foods below are my personal favorites and they are all full of good flavors. Punjabi cuisine has both vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods that cater to everybody. Lots of other Indian specialties are predominantly vegetarian. Each restaurant has their own special recipes for everything. A word of caution, Indian restaurants tend to be rich (they use lots of ingredients like butter, ghee and milk). Cooking your own Indian food is a much healthier alternative.

Garlic naan – This is some of the best bread that one can have. Eating a freshly cooked garlic naan is pretty close to being in heaven. Maybe this is an exaggeration, but you will have to try it at least once in an authentic Indian Punjabi restaurant to understand why so many people love it. This bread is made of flour, yeast, yogurt and ghee. The naan is cooked in a clay oven to enhance the flavors even more. For a garlic naan, they put fresh garlic on the naan at some point during cooking. Once out of the oven, the cooks put fresh corridor or cilantro leaves on the garlic naan. It is ready to be served.

Tandoori chicken – This is another specialty in the Punjabi cuisine. The chicken is marinated and cooked in the same clay oven as the one used for naan bread. Indian foods are known to be very rich in herbs and spices, the tandoori chicken is marinated with yogurt plus many spices to give a unique flavor and fiery red color. At an authentic Punjabi restaurant, their chicken should be moist, tender, juicy and delicious. You can eat it with the naan bread or by itself.

Chicken tikka – This is another popular food item from Indian Punjabi cuisine. Like other foods from Indian cuisine, it has lots of flavor due to the spices and herbs that people use. As with all Indian foods, each cook has his / her own recipe that is slightly different from another cook.

Pani Puri– This is a food item that is enjoyed by a lot of different Indians across the country. Many street food vendors sell this street food to the locals and tourists alike. Many Indian people love this little snack that they eat it all year round. People fry a shell and stuff lots of vegetable and potato pieces inside. Then, each vendor makes their own special spicy water with many different spices and herbs. This is a great little snack for a vegetarian or vegan person.

Mango lassi – This is a beverage served by most Punjabi Indian restaurants. The mango lassi is sweet, fruity and very milky. At most restaurants, they serve all kind of lassi that includes the mango lassi, plain lassi and the salted mint lassi. This beverage is actually quite filling and you can get full from just drinking a full cup of that beverage.

Dal makhani – This dish is well known in the west and another vegetarian dish that can be enjoyed by all. This is a Punjabi specialty that is known to be a stable in that specific cuisine. This is great when you eat it with the basmati rice. This dish is made with lentils, butter, cream and lots of different spices / herbs.

Pakora – These are snacks or side dishes in the Punjabi Indian cuisine. They are fried little ball of flour, onions and other vegetables. These are vegetarian foods and great for everyone. Each restaurant have their own version of the Pakora and often stuff them with different vegetables.

Samosa – These are not as good as the Pakora, but that's my personal opinion. Some people prefer them more. These are mainly stuffed with potato pieces. They are bigger than Pakora and there is more stuffing. However, it doesn't seem like it has a lot of flavor. Samosa come with different ingredients inside and can be either vegetarian or non-vegetarian.

Mattar or Matar Paneer – This is another great dish from the traditions of Punjabi cuisine in India. This dish is made by peas and cottage cheese with lots of spices and herbs. This is usually eaten with a type of bread such as naan or roti. However, it is also great with basmati rice.

Masala chai / tea – This is another favorite Indian tea that is enjoyed by lots of people all over the country. This tea has a similar appearance to milk tea. However, the contents are different and have many spices in it. The tea is poured in the traditional manner to cool it down fast. The pouring is a fascinating sight for many when they see it for the first time.

What's your favorite Indian food?

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