Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Delicious 10 from Pakistan

Pakistani cuisine is delicious and fullfilling. Here I am listing ten Pakistani delights I always enjoyed.

1. Beef Nihari with sesame Nan - Sabiri Karachi: It is said Nihari has Hazrat Nizamuddin Aoulia's blessing. I have read somewhere that it was also cooked for the workers working on Taj Mahal. There are two distinct varieties of Niharis available in Pakistan, Dehli and Amritsari. Amraitsari Nihari is less spicy and is normally available in Lahore, Rawalpindi etc. In Rawalpindi, Kala khan Nihari house is operating for quite sometime at Kartarpura. Dehli nihari, being more popular is available everywhere in Pakistan. It is a very rich and spicy dish. Some of the eatries specializing Nihari are Waris Lahore, Sabri, Zahid and Mohammdi in Karachi. Arguably the best among all of them is Sabiri on Burns Road/Bhunder Road. It is operating there since the 1950s and has maintained its taste and quality. Yes the place lacks good standards of cleanliness, but if you forget about it all for an evening you are bound to relish mouth watering and delicious nihari with fresh nan .

2. Kashmiri Ghoshtaba and white rice - Dilbar Hotel Rawalpindi: This is a traditional Kashmiri dish of big sized mutton meatballs in saffron yogurt gravy. Traditionally this dish is served with steamed white rice. It is a speciality of Dilbar hotel in Purana Qilla Bazar, Rawalpindi which is serving its quite faithful clientele for more than 50 years.

3. Lahori Deep Fried fish - Sardar Machi house Lahore: This is the biggest attraction of food street Gowalmandi Lahore. Big chunks of Rahou (Fresh water fish) marinated in a delicious batter which is amalgamation of various spices (the recipe is a closely guarded secret) and deep fried in vegetable oil. Fish is served with tamarind `amli ki chutni and reddish. `Sardar' is a very old outlet operating in Gowalmandi Lahore for almost 6 to 7 decades

4. Chicken Karahi - Tufail Hotel Sargodha: Chicken karahi is the single most popular Pakistani dish available around the world. Like chiken tikka masala, it is a great hit in UK. In Pakistan it is devoured from Gawadar to Gilgit but the best possible is served at Tufail hotel in Sargodha, where it is prepared in fresh butter and served with Raita and tandoori roti. During college days and later on when I posted at PAF base Sargodha, Tufail karahi used to be our weekend indulgence.

5. Beef/Chicken Briyani - Café Student Karachi: Briyani is another hit item of Pakistani plattere. It is available all over Pakistan and I have tried it at as far away as PDTC Motel Bisham and in Gilgit.The best nevertheless is served in Karachi. Café Student is famous for its hot and spicy biryani. It is available there hot around the clock with salad and raita. If you are in Karachi, have a bite.

6. Chappal Kabab - Jalil Kababi Peshawer: Chappali kabab is a delicate dish, but has been adopted by the Pathans and most of the time they over cook it. Jalil kababi is an exception. Located on the GT road, Jalil is one of the oldest kababi in Peshawer and fries these flat kababs according to your liking. You can also choose the toppings, ranging from egg to brain to bone marrow. It is served with fresh tandoori peshaweri nan and the most tangiest of chutni. After the meal is the cardamom kava and you are fresh to have another bite.

7. Khada Ghosht (lamb) - Quetta: This is a sheer indulgence and pure delight. Whole lamd or goat is cooked in khadda (a ditch) of wood/charcol fire for few hours without any spices. It is available in Quetta and some Baluchi eatries in Karachi and Islamabad. It is prepared to perfection at my Baloch friend's dera (place). I have seen his cook rubbing just a little bit of rock salt, black pepper, some lemon juice and some cinnamon. It is placed in Khadda for about three to four hours. The meat is tender to perfection and melts in your mouth. Khadda ghosht is served with Balochi palao or nan and fresh yogurt. Both mild red and white wines go great with it. Personally I recommend a good red possibly some Pinot Noir which is soft and silky and goes best with lamb.

8. Fried Trout - many roadside joints Chakdara (Swat): Chakdara is the gate way to Swat valley. For those who haven't heard about Chakdara, it is located at about two and half hours drive north of Nowshera. This is the place where River Swat enters fertile plans of NWFP. Whenever, I have some time, I go there for fishing and its always great fun. You'll come across several stalls serving fried trout. Again our Pathan brothers don't hesitate to overcook so if you are a bit careful about this and keep a watch on the process, you are in for the best fried fish in the world.

9. Mutton Namkeen Karahi - Namak mandi Peshawer : This lamb dish is cooked in lamb fat with only salt, lemon juice and a little bit of pepper. It is served with Peshawari Nan, which in the words of great Urdu writer Muhammad Khalid Athter is "the most honest bread in the world". After a hard game of basketball, with a couple of friends,we ate about 6 to 7 kilos of meat. And if you ask them they would also serve you a good joint of 'chars'.

10. Bihari Kabab and Paratha - Bahdarabad Karachi: Bihari kababs are such a delight that its inventor is destined to be in heavens for bringing culinary pleasures to so many people. Bihari has also emerged to be an extremely popular addition to continuously expanding Pakistani platter. The best bihari kababs are prepared in Bhadarabad Karachi. I have tried various eateries , but the most succulent and exquisitely spiced bihari kababs are barbecued at Rizwan Kabab Bhadarabad, Karachi. These are served with paratha and (Tamarind) 'Imli ki chutni'. And if you have good sturdy red wine with it you are in heaven.

Finally, I am writing about one dish which my maternal grand mother used to cook in winters. Sarsoan (mustarad) ka saagg and paneer with makai (maize) ki roti and butter. She learned `this special tarka' from a lady in Rurki (India), where my grand father spent couple of years during pre-partition times. The recipe was transferred to my mother and from her to my wife. As it is a family secret you wont find it anywhere else, however, you are welcome to come to my place and have a taste.