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Aug 25, 2006 02:56 AM

Punjabi-Mexican Food

This may sound like a weird combonation but - i became aware of a group of indian (panjabi) immigrants who came to the imperial valley as farmers in the early 1900's and married mexican women. It was brought to light to me in a PBS show a while back. Supposedly they created a sort of hybrid cuisine as well. Think corn tortillas and jalapeno, dal etc. Could there be a place out there serving this cuisine?


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  1. Interesting, never heard of the Punjabi-Mexican Food. Must research this. You probably know, Mexicali has a large population of Chinese, and is said to the best chinese food in North America, even beats SF and LA (Wiki). Mexicali even has a Chinatown know as La Chinesca.


    1. Actually, in Yuba City, which has an enormous Punjabi-Mexican population, there are several diners which serve "curried" turkey and "roti tortillas." Have seen these described in a few article, but I haven't been there. I plan to visit soon--will let you know what I find out.

      1. Here's a link to an old thread on Avatar's Punjabi Burrito, 2 locations in Marin County (covered on the SF Bay Area board).

        1. Thanks for the link to the Punjabi Burrito place. It was the first thing I thought of when I read the original post. Does anyone know if its still around....maybe its time for a little reconnaisance trip....

          BTW, I don't think of this as a weird combination at all. My husband is East Indian (although not Punjabi) and I lived in Mexico for awhile and like to cook/eat Mexican food. We have Indian/Mexican combinations (including the mentioned corn tortillas and dahl) all the time. And we often use whole-wheat flour tortillas as a quick and easy substitute for chapati. Also, many spices and flavorings in the two cuisines are similar: cumin, cilantro, chilis, etc. fwiw...

          1 Reply
          1. re: janetofreno

            We've moved some conversation about Avatar's Punjabi Burrito over the San Francisco board, since that's where Mill Valley and Sausalito are discussed. You can find that part of the conversation here:

          2. I second the Yuba City excursion as I attended the Punjabi American Heritage Festival last Memorial Day and had some really incredible food - but not Punjabi/Mexican - but, hey it was delicious.

            Does anyone know the name of a dish that starts with a base of fried, puffed potato rounds, then has fruit pieces and yams and drizzles of some wonderful spicy sauce and yogurt and crisped onions and a few other things?

            I would love to find it again in a local Indian restuarant.

            2 Replies
            1. re: glbtrtr

              Do you mean "bhel puri"? That's a mix of puffed rice, chunks of potato, , fried noodles, onions,date chutney, mint chutney. It's usually a savory dish. Or do you mean "Pani Puri," which have the puffed puris, with potatoes, boiled moong daal, onions, placed into a small opening on top, and then drizzeld with chutney and yogurt? In neither case have I heard about the fruit or sweet potatoes. Or Aloo Chaat? Which has a potato base, along with some of the above?

              1. re: desichick

                Wow, thanks for all the possibilities for this Punjabi Heritage Association event dish I had in Yuba City last Memorial Day.

                I asked what the name of the dish was and it had one, but not one I was able to remember. It seemed very popular and they did a lot of prep work ahead of time preparing all the ingredients and sauces so I gathered it was a traditional item.

                The base was round fried potato rings that puffed out, then they tossed a handful of fresh fruit chunks and maybe cooked yams, then some wonderful spicy sauce and a few other things that I now no longer remember that all melded together in a wonderful and haunting dish.

                It was a sweet, salty, spicy tasty wonder and the fruit was definitely fresh, not a chutney. The sauce was dark.

                Almost worth a trip back there to see (hopefully) if they have it again. Just went to one of our local Indian restaurants in Santa Barbara yesterday and scanned the menu to see if anything was close - no luck. Thanks for all your suggestions.