January 05, 2024
CM Content Team
As we step into the New Year, the whole of India is preparing for the harvest festival season, which begins in January. The harvest festival is celebrated across the length and breadth of the country and is known by different names. For example, it is called Pongal in Tamil Nadu; they call it 'Makar Sankranti' in Maharashtra, and the Punjabis celebrate 'Lohri.’
Lohri is one of the most important Punjabi festivals, and the Punjabi community worldwide celebrates it with great pomp and show. The festival is associated with the Winter Solstice, which marks the end of the winter season in the southern hemisphere and the onset of spring.
The Lohri celebration begins with lighting up a fire the previous night, offering food to it, dancing to the beats of the Dhol, singing folk songs, and relishing a hearty feast. Like other Indian festivals, during Lohri, Punjabis prepare a special meal and traditional food.
In this blog, we will look at some of the Lohri special dishes that you must definitely taste to get an insight into Punjabi cuisine and know why it is rated among the best in the world. The traditional Punjabi dishes are known to have big and bold flavours, and they are hearty. These dishes are characterised by the generous use of ghee or clarified butter that adds to the taste, flavour and aroma of the dish.
Think of any special occasion in a Punjabi household, be it a family function or festival. Sarso Ka Saag and Makki Di Roti have to be on the menu, and Lohri is no different. It is one food combination that epitomises the phrase, ‘a match made in heaven.’ It is the delicious duo of Sarso Ka Saag and Makki di Roti. A perfect example of simple yet scrumptious food, it is one of the best Punjabi dishes you must have on Lohri.
The roti resembles a paratha made of maize flour, butter, ghee and fenugreek seeds. The saag is the gravy served with the roti, and it is made of mustard leaves, spinach, and other spices. What makes this authentic Lohri food so delicious is the slow cooking method compared to the traditional Indian chulah.
It is a wholesome dish and provides warmth to the body to cope with the cold weather during Lohri. It also adds another layer of fun to the celebrations. Also, it is considered one of the most nutritious dishes, and it tastes even better if you add a dollop of white butter or pure desi ghee to the roti and the saag.
No matter where you go in Punjab, you must try a plate of spicy and authentic Pindi chole. It is that soul food that feels like a warm hug on a cosy and wintery day. A culinary gem, Pindi Chhole, is a gift from Punjab to foodies all over the world.
A popular dish made in Punjabi households, it is one of the must-have items on the Lohri feast menu. This dish alone is the epitome of traditional Punjabi food, and a spoonful of the spicy and greasy Chhole will make you drool, we bet!
The dish is usually served with freshly made Makki di Roti or Kulcha. The combination of roti or kulcha and Pindi chole is just perfect, and every bite will make you feel you are in a food heaven.
Generally, the food of Punjab is associated with savoury dishes and the generous use of spices and ghee. But Til Ki Chikki is a ‘sweet’ exception. After filling yourself with all the spicy and decadent authentic Lohri food, when you crave something sweet, Til Ki Chikki soothes your tongue and gives you relief from the spices.
Til Ki Chikki is the Punjabi version of the peanut chikki, which you can find in almost all parts of India. It is made from two ingredients - Til (white sesame seeds) and Gur (jaggery). 'Til Ki Chikki' is an important festive food prepared to thank God for the good harvest.
Apart from being super tasty, this Chikki is known to offer many nutritional benefits and is usually eaten as a snack in Punjab and other northern parts of India during winter as it helps keep your body warm from within.
When you talk about authentic Punjabi food, you may not often hear of this dish. It is one of the local Punjabi dishes that is usually made only during Lohri. A decadent and nutritious Lohri food, Chiraunji Makhane Ki Kheer is filled with the goodness of dry fruits and milk, making it a sensational dessert. It is the perfect dish to end the Lohri celebration on a sweet note!
It is impossible to imagine Lohri celebrations without Gur Ki Gajak. It is one of the most traditional Punjabi foods that is made during the winter season, as it helps you withstand the cold weather and keeps your body warm.
Much like Chikki, Gajak has a crispy texture and is a delight to eat. It is generally enjoyed on the night of Lohri as families gather around the bonfire and munch on these goodies and other delicious Lohri snacks.
The best thing about this dish is that it has a long shelf life. You can make it at home, store it for a few days and eat it every time you crave something sweet.
The love affair between Punjabis and butter is legendary. They like to use butter or ghee in their everyday meal, so much so that it has become a hallmark of authentic Punjabi food. Speaking of butter or makhan, as the locals say, Punjab has a speciality dish called 'Dal Makhani.’
It is a gravy item made of lentils and red kidney beans or rajma. But what makes it an iconic dish is the generous use of butter and cream. Traditionally, it is cooked on low flame, which brings out the flavours very well. It may not be the quintessential Lohri food, but this dish makes the Lohri feast wholesome and indulgent!
You can slurp up this gravy with another Punjabi classic paratha or kulcha or even with rice to suit your palate.
So, now that you know the best authentic Lohri food you must try make sure that you try these delicious treats on your next trip to the glorious Land of Five Rivers or Punjab. And, of course, you can thank us later for the suggestions. Happy Lohri!
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