I wouldn’t be a Punjabi worth my salt if I didn’t mention Rajma in my list of favorite foods would I now!
If you’ve ever had a Punjabi neighbour, chances are that multiple whistles of a pressure cooker would have woken you up on the one Sunday you got to sleep in. Because Sunday lunch in most vegetarian Punjabi houses means Rajma-Chawal or Chole-Chawal or Kaali Dal-Chawal. A Boondi Raita and lots of sliced Onions were the usual accompaniments, which meant collective onion breath and everyone sleeping off the lunch till evening.
The secret of getting your Rajma to taste just the right Punjabi type is in buying the right Rajma (buy the big purplish red ones) slow cooking it on a low flame, after the beans have cooked through, with a big dollop of ghee as it slow cooks. My Mum has never used any special Rajma Masala while making hers and neither do I.
When I turned a teenager I shunned all typical Punjabi food, so while the family ate Rajma I would be eating Toast or just the Boondi Raita. This shunning of Punjabi food continued way past my teens, till I married a South Indian. Now some Sundays see my neighbours been woken up by my pressure cooking whistling away as my Rajma cooks.
While my Dad is a Punjabi, Mum is a Rajasthani.
No, it wasn’t a love marriage it was a traditional arranged marriage as both the families had one thing in common, they were both Brahmins. Yes, Punjabi Brahmins do exist * grin *
So growing up we had a mix of both the cultures in terms of festivals, celebrations and of course food. Once again I shunned every food that was Rajasthani, be it the delicious Gatte ki Sibzi or the Ker Sangri or the Kanji Wada.
Marriage outside the community has brought me closer to both the cultures I ran away from. My husband enjoys Gatte ki Subzi and I love cooking it for him. My hand automatically reaches out for a Bandhni or Lehariya saree for any special occasion and I keep track of all the festivals be it Teej, Gangaur or Baisakhi and celebrate them in my own way.