When we say Pakistan, the first few things that comes to people’s minds are Malala Yousafzai, Shoaib Akhtar, Wasim Akram, Fawad Khan, Benezir Bhutto and for some even the famous ‘Chai Waala’.
Apart from these great personalities and multitude of scenic beauty, Pakistan has a lot more to offer. We are known not only for our world famous cricketers or social activists, we are known for our sumptuous and delectable cuisines as well. Once you try them, I can guarantee you will ask for more.
There are so many dishes that are our specialty and totally worth a try. To ease your confusion, I will list a few, which are my personal favourites and are strictly advisable not to miss out.
Sweet and Simple Sewaiyan or Sheer Khorma
We Pakistanis, believe that any auspicious event or joyful occasion should start with having something sweet. And what can be better than a bowl of savory sewaiyan?
Sewaiyan or vermicelli pudding is a traditional sweet delicacy made from vermicelli, milk, sugar, dry fruits, dry dates and kesar.
Served hot or cold, its heavenly taste is sure to make you shamelessly ask for more. And don’t worry, we don’t mind sharing it either.
The origin of Siri Paya roots in Central Asia and was introduced in South Asia by the Mughals (we can’t be more thankful to them for bringing it here) and is especially popular in Punjab Region of Pakistan. Favourite dish for breakfast, is also served at various festivals and get-togethers. Paya/trotter (or hoof) and Siri (or heads) of goats, buffaloes or lambs form the main ingredients of this mouth watering dish. The recipe varies regionally and from home to home. Cooked slowly in low flame overnight, it is the best soupy dish to present in cheerful gatherings.
Even a two-year-old toddler here would know what a biryani is. But if you are a visitor and if you haven’t tasted a plate of it, then, my friend I would say your visit has been a total failure.
Another dish introduced by the Mughals, Biryani is a South Asian mixed dish and can be considered as our staple food. One simple cuisine, having so many variants. Made from rice mixed with various different condiments, its recipe is not only ingredient specific (egg biryani, chicken biryani, beef biryani, veg biryani), its flavor also varies with respect to the places it is offered at(Afghan Biryani, Kutchi Biryani, Sindhi Biryani).
Sheer Chai/Noon Chai
Tea has always been associated with South Asia and has been one of the most traded commodities during Medieval Period. Its aromatic smell and anti oxidant property has always made it our favorite beverage.
Black tea, Green tea or milk tea, they all are common and you must have tasted all or either of them at some point. But I am pretty sure you must not have heard or drunk the special Sheer Chai.
Coming from Kashmir, this traditional tea beverage is an integral part of Kashmiri culture and is usually taken 2−3 times a day with traditional Kashmiri breads and pastries. Traditionally made, it is cooked in a heater metal container. Sheer Chai is considered very helpful in digestion. It’s beautiful pink color and the fact that it uses salt (not sugar), makes it a unique beverage and one of the must to try.
Haleem is the most popular stew dish in Middle East, Central Asia and Indian subcontinent. Haleem is like a stew having an amazing flavor and aroma of ghee. A high-calorie nutritious dish comprises meat, wheat and lentils and is cooked with spices for a few hours.
The Ramdan special delicacy is served as an evening meal after iftar (meal eaten by Muslims after sunset during Ramadan).
Whoever said that Biryani is the only popular dish, has never tasted this.
Nihari is a stew dish comprising of slow cooked meat, usually beef or lamb. Nihari originates from the Arabic nahaar, meaning day and was usually taken as breakfast by the Nawabs.
The slow cooked hot and spicy dish is also used as home remedy for diseases like common cold, and fever and is our favourite dish especially during monsoon and winter seasons.
It is not only tasty but highly nutritious and healthy. Its various ingredients help in maintaining muscles and bones, repairing tissues, boosting immunity, improve blood circulation, regulating blood pressure and helps in digestion
Next time, whenever you feel perplexed about what an all to eat to treat your taste buds with, you know which reliable list to consult, and I guarantee you that you won’t regret it.