The British demarcated the Province of the North West Frontier, including parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Punjab, before India was partitioned. The cuisine of this region is generally defined by a simplistic style of preparation, involving large chunks of meat or vegetables, sparsely marinated and slow cooked in a tandoor at high temperatures. Spices are used to the right amount so as not to overpower the dish, but to just remain preserved in the flavour of the final product. Yellow chili powder, kasuri methi, kashmiri mirchi, home ground garam masala, cardamom, mace powder, royal cumin and carom dominate the spice shelf of kitchens producing this type of cuisine. Meat
Kebabs are also a central part of northwestern cuisine. They are so adaptable that there are vegetarian versions available too.
North West Frontier cuisine restaurants are probably the most popular in India today and these dishes are testament to that.
1. Murgh Malai Tikka
The chicken pieces are marinated to help it develop a creamy and succulent flavour that makes it melt in the mouth. Halal Meat
2. Mutton Rezala
Although this dish is of North Western origin, it has been adopted by Mughlai and Bengali cuisines. It involves chunks of mutton shanks, braised until tender, while inculcating the various spices that add to the luscious gravy. Frozen Meat
3. Dal Bukhara
This lentil curry is made with the slow simmering of black lentils or urad dal with spices, fresh tomatoes, topped off with fresh cream and butter. Meat exporters
4. Murg Peshawari
This dish has many variations from being cooked in a kadai to being deep fried. It requires an overnight marination of a mix of spices from which a rich gravy develops.
5. Dal Makhani
A Punjabi cousin of the Dal Bukhara, this dish does not use the tomatoes as a base and hence has the absence of a tangy aftertaste. It is much creamier in texture due to the generous amount of butter. Buffalo meat
6. Sikandari Raan
A succulent melt-in-the-mouth lamb roast that bursts with flavours accompanied by a creamy spicy gravy.
7. Seekh Kebabs
Resembling sausages, but hollow in the middle, these kebabs are made of mutton and chicken mince. The mix of meats gives it a hardy and chewy texture.
8. Bharwan Guchchi Masala
These morel mushrooms (guchchi) from the Kashmir region are a specialty. They are stuffed with a paneer filling and then cooked in hot and sour gravy.
9. Barrah Kebab
These racks of lamb are grilled to perfection after being marinated with spices for over eight hours.
10. Dum Biryani
This popular dish is made from layering saffron-infused rice with spiced mutton and cooking it in a sealed container.
11. Lehsuni Jinga
These tiger prawns are marinated in lime juice and garlic to give it a tangy flavour, and are coated in butter so as to have a crispy exterior when grilled.
12. Chapli Kebabs
Remember burger patties? Same thing but way more traditional in terms of ingredients. Vegetables, herbs, eggs, butter and spices are added to the mince to make flat pancake-like shapes from the resulting paste. It is then fried in a large griddle.
13. Malai Kulfi
This condensed milk frozen dessert is flavoured with cardamom and dry fruits to give a refreshing taste of summer.