Part of my ancestry is from the “Doaba” region of Punjab. This was the first time in my life I was going to see my ancestral home in the village and to sample some real Punjabi cuisine.
First things first. FORGET what Bollywood has described as village life. The villages of Punjab are prosperous. Where one was expecting thatched roofs and straw huts, one found concrete houses with split air conditioners. Where one was expecting oxen and ox carts, one found Mercedes SUVs. Where one was expecting dirt roads, one found cement roads which don’t wash away with the rains (you could say they were better than the tar roads in the city).
Bit of an eye opener really. The closest major city to the villages of my paternal grand parents is Jalandhar, which is where we were based. So I wasted no time in ordering tikkas for my first meal in Punjab along with dal makhani, some paneer bhurji and some butter naan (well, this is what Punjabi food is supposed to be famous for, so I thought, why not!).
Another point to note here before I proceed further. Punjab is to India what Texas is to the United States. Everything is bigger there. The portion sizes of food were so generous that a single order of dal was too much for three grown adults. Same goes for the Tandoori Sampler platter of tikkas which contained chicken tikkas, chicken malai tikkas, some kind of green marinated chicken (which I couldn’t work my way to, there was just so much food!), fish tikkas, and some mutton seekh kebab. This serving in itself was enough for four people.
As far as the taste is concerned, it was very good, and very reasonably priced for top notch restaurant food. The dal was well cooked but not overpowering. The tikkas were well marinated but to be honest, you get pretty good tikkas in Delhi as well. And again, there was so much food that I had to give the paneer a miss or risk exploding.