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.
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.
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.
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.