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Pakistani cuisine

پاک پکوان

Regional cuisines
PAKISTAN

PunjabiSindhiPashtunBalochi
Mughlai - Kashmiri - Parsi- Lahori
Gujarati - Bihari - Balti

Other

Pakistani Chinese – Fast food

Ingredients and types of food

Main dishes – Desserts – Bread
Drinks – SnacksSpicesCondiments

Preparation and cooking

HandiKarahiTavaTandoorOther

See also:

History – Etiquette
Pakistani chefsCookbook: Cuisine of Pakistan

edit

The Cuisine of Pakistan (Urdu: پاک پکوان) can be described as a refined blend of Afghan, Indian, Iranian, Central Asia, and Middle East cuisine. Pakistani cuisine is known for its richness and flavour.[1]

Within Pakistan, cuisine varies greatly from region to region, reflecting the country's ethnic and cultural diversity. The cuisine in Eastern Pakistan, particularly Sindh can be very hot and spicy characterizing the South Asian flavour. Food in Western Pakistan (and to considerable extent Punjab) particularly North-West Frontier Province, Baluchistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir involves the use of mild aromatic spices and less oil is used characterizing affinities to the Iranian and Central Asian peoples. The main course is served with wheat bread (naan) or rice. Salad is generally taken with the main course rather than before. Assorted fresh fruit or desserts are consumed for dessert.[2] However, meat plays a more dominant role in Pakistani food, compared to other South Asian cuisines. According to a 2003 report, an average Pakistani consumed three times more meat than an average Indian. [3] Of all the meats, the most popular are beef, goat, lamb and chicken. Seafood is generally not consumed in large amounts, though it was[4] very popular in the coastal areas of Sindh and the Makran coast of Balochistan, as well as the former East Pakistan.

International cuisine and fast food are popular in cities. Blending local and foreign recipes (fusion food) is common in large urban centres. Furthermore, as a result of lifestyle changes, ready made masalas (mixed and ready to use spices) are becoming increasingly popular. However, given the diversity of the people of Pakistan, cuisines generally differ from home to home and may be totally different than the mainstream Pakistani cuisine.

Contents

Historical influences

The arrival of the Islam religion within the South Asia has influenced the local cuisine to a great degree. Since Muslims are forbidden to eat pork or consume alcohol, because they consider it to be haraam (prohibited), Pakistanis focus on other areas of food such as beef, chicken, fish, and vegetables as well as traditional fruit and dairy.

Elements

Garam Masala (Aromatic spices) is a very popular blend of spices used in many Pakistani dishes. In fact, Pakistani dishes are pretty much known for having aromatic and sometimes spicy flavours. Brown cardamom, Green Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, Mace and black pepper are the other main ingredients used to make the wide variety of dishes throughout Pakistan. Cumin seeds, caraway and bay leaves are also very popularly used. In the Punjab province it is further diluted with coriander powder.

Eating Habits

A Punjabi style wooden woven plate for chapatis (flat bread)

Pakistanis generally consume three meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. During the evening, many families have tea which goes along with baked/fried goods from local bakery (or prepared at home). During the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, the eating patterns change to: Sehri and Iftar. It is considered proper to eat only with the right hand as per Islamic tradition. Many Pakistani families particularly in rural areas still eat their food served on a table cloth known as Dastarkhan which is placed on the floor.

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Breakfast/ (nāshtā (Urdu: ناشتہ))

A typical Pakistani breakfast, locally called (nāshtā ناشتہ), consists of: eggs (boiled/scrambled/fried/omelette), sliced loaf bread AKA double roti (pan fried/toasted), parathas (lacha/qeema/kolcha), sheermal with tea or Lassi, qeema (minced meat), fresh seasonal fruits (mangoes, apples, melon, bananas etc.), milk, honey, butter, jam, shami kababs, and nuts. Various bakery items like Bakarkhani, Rusks etc also make an appearance during breakfast. During holidays and weekends, halwa puri and channay is also favoured. In the Punjab Sarson ka saag (Mustard leaves) and Maaki ki roti (cornbread) is a local favourite and in Karachi, breakfast might even include Nihari and Paya. Due to the hot weather and comparatively high amount of physical activity, Pakistani breakfasts tend to be very heavy.

Lunch

A variety of Pakistani dinner cuisines - Starting from the left, Gobi Aloo, Seekh Kehbab, and Beef Karahi

A typical Pakistani lunch consists of meat curries or lentils along with bread or rice. Another popular lunch dish is potatoes with meat. Other curries such as meat combined with cabbage or biryani is also popular. Alternatively, for workers, nihari, bun kebab sandwich, and fried fish is regarded highly.

Dinner

Dinner is considered the main meal of the day as the whole family gathers for the occasion. Lentils are almost never consumed for dinner as they are usually considered a day time meal. Food which requires more preparation and which is more savoury (such as haleem, pulao, kofte, kebabs) are prepared. These are served with rice or bread (or both) along with yoghurt, pickle and salad. The dinner may (not commonly) be followed by dessert ranging from anything from fruit to traditional desserts like kheer, gulab jamun, shahi tukray, gajraila, qulfi or ras malai.

Curries

Lahori Beef Karahi, served usually with freshly made tandoori naan

Curries, with or without meat, combined with local vegetables such as bitter gourd, cauliflower, eggplant, okra, cabbage, potatoes, rutabaga, saag are most common and cooked for everyday consumption.

An iconic Pakistani dish is karahi, either mutton or chicken cooked in a tomato sauce. This dish is enjoyed all over Pakistan and reflecting the country's diversity, karahi differs depending on the region in which it is being cooked.

Korma is a dish of Mughlai origin made of chicken or mutton, typically eaten with rice and is very popular in Pakistan.

Lentils

Various kinds of pulses also make up an important part of the Pakistani dishes. Lentils, called daal, have nevertheless traditionally been considered as an inexpensive food source and hotel/restaurants may only offer a limited variety of these dishes. Lentil dishes are also typically not served when guests are invited at home or during special occasions.

Tandoori/Barbecue

A variety of dishes cooked under the BBQ method

Barbecue food is extremely popular and is a speciality in Karachi and some cities of Punjab such as Lahore, Gujranwala and Sialkot and the North West Frontier Province. All BBQ dishes incorporate a variety of herbs and spices and are therefore very flavourful rather than being just dominated by chilli. Among well known dishes are chicken tikka,Mutton Tikka, Sheekh Kebab, Bihari Kebab and chakna. Sajji is a Baluchi dish from Western Pakistan, made of lamb stuffed with rice, that has also become popular all over the country.

Rice Dishes

Pakistan is a major exporter and consumer of rice. Basmati is the most popular type of rice consumed in Pakistan.

Dishes made with rice include many varieties of pullao,

Punjabi pullao
  • Yakhni Palao - meat and stock added. Creates a brown rice
  • Matar Palo - Palao made with peas
  • Maash Palao - A sweet and sour palao baked with mung beans, apricots, and Bulgur (a kind of wheat). Exclusively vegetarian.

Biryani is a very popular dish in Pakistan and has many varieties such as Lahori and Sindhi Biryani. Tahiri, which is also a form of vegetarian Biryani is also popular.

All of the main dishes (except those made with rice) are eaten alongside bread. To eat, a small fragment of bread is torn off with the right hand and used to scoop and hold small portions of the main dish. Pickles made out of mangoes, carrots, lemon etc. are also commonly used to further spice up the food.

Varieties of bread

Peshwari Naans made freshly at a tandoor (open oven)

Pakistanis also eat flat round bread (roti) as a staple part of their daily diet. Pakistan has a variety of breads, often prepared in a traditional clay oven called a tandoor. Some of these are:

  • Chapatis - Most common bread at home, made of whole wheat flour. They are thin and unleavened.
  • Tandoori Roti - These are extremely popular all over Pakistan. They are baked in a clay oven and are consumed with just about anything.
  • Paratha - A flat many layered chapati separated by ghee (similar to pastry dough), originating from Punjab. Parathas are commonly eaten for breakfast and can also be served with a variety of stuffing.
  • Naan - Unlike chapatis, naans are slightly thicker, typically leavened with yeast and mainly made with white flour. They may also be sprinkled with sesame seeds. called Kulcha. They are often served with Sri Paya and Nihari for breakfast.
  • Kulcha - This is a type of Naan usually eaten with Chickpeas and Potatoes.
  • Roghni naan - Naan sprinkled with sesame seeds and covered with a minute amount of oil.
  • Sheermal - Prepared with milk and butter, and is a vital part of food served in marriages, along with Taftan. It is often sweetened and is particularly enjoyed by the kids.
  • Taftan. This is a leavened flour bread with saffron and small cardamom powder baked in a clay oven.
  • Kandahari naan - Long naan originally from Western Pakistan.
  • Puri - Is typically eaten with Halwa or Bhurji (made out of chickpeas and potatoes).

Halwa Purian or Bhujia with Puri (now commonly known as Poorian) has also become a typical breakfast in Pakistan. They are sold sometimes on make shift carts or otherwise in breakfast stores.

Kababs

Seekh Kababs - one of the famous Pakistani food specialities

A Middle Eastern influence on Pakistani cuisine is the popularity of grilled meats such as Kebabs. Kebabs from Balochistan and the North-West Frontier Province tend to be identical to the Afghan style of barbecue, with salt and coriander being the only seasoning used while kababs in Sindh tend to be spicy. Karachi is famous for its Kebabs and they are spicy and are often marinated in a mixture of spices, lemon juice and yoghurt. Al-Hamra Restaurant and Bundu Khan Kebab House are famous throughout Pakistan for their taste and variety of Kebabs. Kebab houses are the most profitable food business in Pakistan.

Meat including beef, chicken, and lamb are prominent in Pakistani cuisine. Kababs made out of lamb and chicken such as Seekh kabab, Shami Kabab and Chapli kabab (a speciality of Peshawar) are especially popular.

Types of kababs (mainly made of Beef or Lamb) are:

  • Seekh Kabab (Urdu: سيخ کباب) - A long skewer of beef mixed with herbs and seasonings.
  • Shami Kabab (Urdu: شامي کباب) - A Shami Kabab is a small patty of minced beef or chicken and ground chickpeas and spices.
  • Chapli Kabab (Urdu: چپلي کباب) - A spicy round kabab made of ground beef and cooked in animal fat which is a speciality of the North West Frontier Province.
  • Chicken Kabab (Urdu: مرغ کباب) - A popular kabab that is found both with bone and without. Not so common as the traditional Kababs.
  • Lamb Kabab (Urdu: کبابِ برہ گوشت) - The all lamb meat kabab is usually served as cubes.
  • Bihari Kabab (Urdu: بہاری کباب) - Skewer of Beef mixed with herbs and seasoning.
  • Shashlik (Urdu: شیشلیک ) - Grilled baby lamb chops (usually from the leg), typically marinated
  • Bun Kabab (Urdu: بن کباب)- A unique kabab sandwich.
  • Shawarma (Urdu: شاورما) - It is usually a kabab or lamb strips in a naan with chutney and salad.
  • Tikka Kabab (Urdu: تکہ کباب) - It is made of beef, lamb or chicken usually served as cubes

Desserts

Popular desserts include Peshawari ice cream, Sheer khurma, Kulfi, Falooda, Kheer, Rasmalai, Phirni, Zardah, Shahi Tokray, Gajar ka Halwah, Karachi halwa, and Rubri. Pakistan has a long list of sweets. Some of the most popular are Gulab jamun, Barfi, Baklawa, Kalakand, Jalebi, Panjiri and various kinds of Halvah like Multani Sohen Halvah and Hubshee Halvah.

Tea varieties

Pakistanis drink a great deal of tea (locally called, chai). Both black and green tea (sabz chai/qehwa) are popular though qehwa is often served after every meal in the North-West Frontier Province and the Pashtun belt of Balochistan. Kashmiri chai, a pink milky tea with pistachios and cardamom, is drunk primarily at weddings and during the winter when it is sold in many kiosks. In northern Pakistan (Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan), salty buttered Tibetan style tea is consumed.

Beverages

A bottle of Pakistani famous squash drink, Rooh Afza

Besides tea, there are other drinks that may be included as part of the Pakistani cuisine. All of them are non-alcoholic as the consumption of alcohol is prohibited by Islam. During the 20th century, drinks such as coffee and soft drinks have also become popular in Pakistan. It is very common to have soft drinks nowadays with Pakistani meals.

  • Lassi — Milk with yoghurt, with an either sweet or salty taste
  • Gola Ganda — Different types of flavours over crushed ice
  • Sugarcane juice (Ganaay ka ras)
  • Lemonade (Nimbo pani)
  • Sherbet
  • Rooh Afza
  • Shikanjabeen
  • Almond Sherbet
  • Sherbet-e-Sandal — Drink made with the essence of sandal wood
  • Kashmiri Chai/Gulabi chai — A milky sweet tea/pink tea
  • Qehwa

Western influences

Pakistani dishes are also taking a lead in the western direction, as many Pakistanis are trying out new and modern foods. Many westernized restaurants and fast food outlets are dotted in all parts of Pakistan. The Punjab and Sindh provinces, where the majority of urban, western culture has been greatly advanced and has chains of many American, European and British chains in many metropolitian cities such as Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Hyderabad, Sialkot, Faisalabad, Multan, Rawalpindi and many others. Marketing and advertisements have made these a heaven for social and modern spots for all Pakistanis to try out.

See also

References

  1. ^ Taus-Bolstad, S (2003),:) Pakistan in Pictures. Lerner Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-8225-4682-5
  2. ^ http://www.findpk.com/Culture/html/cuisine_of_pakistan.html
  3. ^ Global Production and Consumption of Animal Source Foods, The American Society for Nutritional Sciences J. Nutr. 133:4048S-4053S, November 2003. Retrieved on 27 March 2007
  4. ^ http://www.bawarchi.com/cookbook/pakistan.html

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