Health . Nutrition
and Eating . haute gastronomy of healthful living
Sikh Cuisine is more than a meal served at the table. It is a concept
that entails not just creative and healthful eating but also active and
preventative living habits. The idea was inspired by a careful
introspection of the food served for langar (meal served by the community
kitchen). Check with your
physician to see which exercise and dietary life style are appropriate for
Consider some of our favorite recipes or
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All Gurudwaras (house of worship) have a langar (meal prepared in a community kitchen,
shared and enjoyed together as all in presence being equals, free for all) where sewadaars (volunteers) help prepare free meals for the respective congregation.
Langar is always prepared fresh and clean. It entails a simple, vegetarian
meal. Gurudwaras are open to everyone and no one is excluded. This presents an
opportunity to impress the basic tenants of Sikhism. Foremost, equality of
all beings is apparent when one sits down amongst other people of the community
for a community meal. Everyone sits on the floor symbolizing social
equality. Kings, queens, physicians, paupers, merchants alike sit
together, on the same floor and enjoy a meal prepared by the community members
for their community. Second, the oneness of all humanity. No one is
excluded and everyone is welcomed to a Gurudwara.
Sikh Foods: common names
Some of the most common names in Sikh meals are:
- ROTI or PHULKA (flat
bread): The Roti is made from whole meal or brown wheat flour. It
is flat and round, approximately six to eight inches in diameter and looks
like a tortilla. The Phulka is a finer version of Roti and is named as such
because it bubbles up or puffs up like a saucer-shaped baloon. Chapatti is
another name for Roti or Phulka and is not very popular in Punjabi homes,
especially among the Sikhs. Puri (poori) is yet another type of Roti, which
is smaller in size and is deep fried like potato chips. Naan is made from
white flour and is baked in a brick oven so it turns out thicker like a
pancake. Roti can be oiled to keep it soft and pliable or made
- PARAUTHA: A heavier and more nourishing form of roti is called
parautha. It is made by folding and rolling of the dough a number of times
with or without fillings and is superficially fried in ghee, margarine or
vegetable oil. Most commons stuffings are potatoes, onions, peas
and some daals.
- SABZI and DAAL: Whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian, no meal in
a Sikh family is complete without either a SABZI (cooked vegetable) or DAAL
(cooked pulse) or indeed both.
This is one area where Indian cooking is difficult to match, not only in
the variety of Daals and Sabzees but also in their cooking methods. Pulses
are like peas and beans of different colors and size and are amongst the
most popular dishes because they are cheap, easy to make, tasty and
Some of the most common names in this group are-
- SABZI- Gobi (cauliflower), cabbage, lady-fingers (Okra),
aubergine, peas, green pepper, Aloo (potato), carrot, Muli (turnip),
Karela (bitter gourd), Saag (spinach), green mustard, Tori (zuchini)
DAAL- (Chana or Chholay) Bengal gram and black gram, moong (green
lentil), masoor (red or yellow lentils), mah or urad (black lentil)
- DAHI, YOGHURT or CURD: is an important complimentary item to the
Punjabi meal and is usually enriched with other ingredients before serving.
- PANEER: (specially prepared cheese cubes) is very versatile.
It's consistency is that of soy cubes, yet when cooked it absorbs the flavor
of the main dish it is added to. It can be baked, fried, used as
a stuffing or even used in dessert.
- SNACKS and SWEETS: Although the serving of a dessert after a full
meal is not regarded as important, a sweet dish like Kheer (rice pudding but
much yummier) is often served as part of the meal. Many Punjabi sweets are made of milk, sugar, gram flour and ghee. Some of
the popular ones are- RASGULLA, GULAB JAMuN, BURFI, LADDOO, JALLEBI, HALWA,
GAJERELLA, DOODH BARE, etc. Among the snacks the most common ones are-PAKORAS which are quick and
simple to make and there are scores of varieties in Pakoras from vegetarian
to non-vegetarian. Similarly, SAMOSAS (triangular shaped pastry which
envelopes a variety of fillings) are very popular.