Being a closet historian, I loved writing Menus and Memories because it gave me an opportunity to showcase the origins of the great dishes of Punjab, one of the most complex cuisines in the world. This is not by accident. Punjab has been a crossroad of many cultures throughout history--the Ayurvedic tradition, and the armies of Alexander, the Scythians, the Afghans and Moghuls --all have left distinct threads of flavors and cooking styles. 
   From the village, we get the emphasis on healthy freshness and simplicity like greens, whole-wheat and lentils; from the royal courts, we get the cuisine of cream and sweet spices like saffron and nutmeg; from the street food, we get crunchy, salty and sweet addictive combos. From the cities we get sophisticated home-cooked dishes with intense flavors. It's no wonder that Punjabi food is the most popular of all Indian food. It is the best of the best!