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Pakistani cuisine (Urdu: پاکستانی پکوان) is a refined blend of various regional cooking traditions of South Asia. Pakistani cuisine is part of the greater South Asian and Central Asian Cuisines due to its geographic location. As a result of Mughal legacy, Pakistan also mutually inherited many recipes and dishes from that era alongside India.
Within Pakistan, cuisine varies greatly from region to region, reflecting the country's ethnic and cultural diversity. Food from the eastern provinces of Punjab and Sindh can be highly seasoned and spicy, which is characteristic of the flavors of the South Asian region. Food in other parts of Pakistan, particularly Balochistan, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas also hold distinct tastes based on various regional influences.
International cuisine and fast food are popular in the cities. Blending local and foreign recipes (fusion food), such as Pakistani Chinese cuisine, is common in large urban centres. Furthermore, as a result of lifestyle changes, ready made masala mixes (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 different from the mainstream Pakistani cuisine.
Main article: Halal
Muslims follow the Islamic law that lists foods and drinks that are Halal and permissible to consume. Halal foods are food items that Muslims are allowed to eat and drink under Islamic dietary guidelines. The criteria specify both what foods are allowed, and how the food must be prepared. The foods addressed are mostly types of meat, which are allowed in Islam.
Historical influences Edit
Main article: History of Pakistani cuisine
Pakistani national cuisine is the inheritor of Indo-Aryan culture and Muslim culinary traditions. The earliest formal civilizations were the Mohenjo-daro (موئن جو دڑو) and Harappan civilizations in Pakistan. At around 3000 BCE, sesame, eggplant, and humped cattle were domesticated in the Indus Valley, and spices like turmeric, cardamom, black pepper and mustard were harvested in the region concurrently. For at least a thousand years, wheat and rice formed the basic foodstuff in the Indus Valley.
The arrival of Islam (اسلام) within South Asia, via Pakistan, influenced the local cuisine to a great degree. Since Muslims are forbidden to eat pork (سور) or consume alcohol, halal (حلال) dietary guidelines are strictly observed. Pakistanis focus on other types of meat, such as beef, chicken and fish, with vegetables, as well as traditional fruit and dairy. The influence of Central Asian, South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine in Pakistani food is ubiquitous.
Main articles: Origins of Pakistani foods, List of Pakistani spices, and List of plants used in Pakistani cuisine
Pakistani dishes are known for having aromatic and sometimes spicy flavors. Some dishes contain liberal amounts of oil, which contribute to a richer, fuller mouthfeel and flavour. Brown cardamom, green cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, mace, and black pepper are the most commonly used spices in the making of a wide variety of dishes throughout Pakistan. Cumin seeds, chili powder, turmeric and bay leaves are also very popular. In the Punjab province, it is further diluted with coriander powder. Garam masala (a mixture of aromatic spices) is a very popular blend of spices used in many Pakistani dishes.
Regional cuisines Edit
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA Edit
Main article: Pashtun cuisine
Rice dishes and kebabs feature prominently in Pashtun cuisine. Lamb is eaten more often in Pashtun cuisine than any other Pakistani cuisines. Rice haleem, chapli kabab, tika, and mutton karahi are the most famous dishes. Historical variations include Peshawari cuisine. The Pashtun and Balochi cuisines are traditionally non-spicy.
Main article: Kalash cuisine
See also: Hunza diet
Main article: Punjabi cuisine
Since Punjabi identity is considered geographical and cultural, almost all inhabitants of Punjab follow some variations within the cuisine, but on the other hand show many similarities together. This cuisine then falls into the broad category of Punjabi cuisine. Regional cuisine is mutual with some differences in many regions, including the South Punjab regions.
South Punjab Edit
Main article: Saraiki cuisine
Main article: Sindhi cuisine
Sindhi cuisine refers to the native cuisine of the Sindhi people from Sindh, Pakistan. Sindhi Cuisine is considered to be spicy and consists of a variety of chicken dishes.
Main article: Cuisine of Karachi
The cuisine of Karachi is similar to the Mughlai cuisine, which is influenced by Hyderabadi cuisine.
Meal structure Edit
A Punjabi/Sindhi-style wooden woven plate for chapati (flat bread)
Pakistanis generally eat three meals a day, which are breakfast, lunch, and dinner. During the evening, many families have tea without sugar, which goes along with baked/fried snacks from a 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 (also a tradition in many other Asian cultures). Many Pakistani families, particularly when guests are too many to fit at a table, eat sitting at a cloth known as Dastarkhān, which is spread out on the floor. In Pakistan, many street eateries serve food on a takht, in a style similar to what is seen in Afghanistan. A takht is a raised platform, where people eat their food sitting cross-legged, after taking their shoes off. Most Pakistanis used to eat on a takht. Pakistanis often eat with their hands, scooping up solid food along with sauce with a piece of baked bread (naan) or rice.
A typical Pakistani breakfast, locally called nāshtā (ناشتہ), consists of eggs (boiled/scrambled/fried/omelette), a slice of loaf bread or roti, parathas, sheermal with tea or lassi, kulcha with chole, qeema (minced meat), fresh seasonal fruits (mangoes, apples, melons, bananas, etc.), milk, honey, butter, jam, shami kebab or nuts. Sometimes breakfast includes baked goods like bakarkhani and rusks. During holidays and weekends, halwa poori and chickpeas are sometimes eaten. In Punjab, sarson ka saag (mustard leaves) and maakai ki roti (cornbread) is a local favourite. Punjabi people also enjoy khatchauri, a savory pastry filled with cheese. Pakistan is not unlike many other Asian nations, in the sense that meat dishes are eaten as breakfast, especially on holidays. A traditional Sunday breakfast might be Siri-Payay (the head and feet of lamb or cow) or Nihari (a dish which is cooked overnight to get the meat extremely tender. The name "Nihari" comes from the Arabic word "Nihar", meaning "Day" or "Day break".) Many people used to take "Bong" (Shank curry) in their Sunday brunch.
A variety of Pakistani dinner dishes – Starting from the left: gobi aloo, seekh kebab, and beef karahi
A typical Pakistani lunch consists of meat curry along with rice or a pile of roti. Daal chawal is among the most commonly taken dishes at lunch. Breads such as roti or naan are usually served for dinner, but have become more common during the day so that rice may be served for dinner. Popular lunch dishes may include aloo gosht (meat and potato curry) or any vegetable with mutton. Chicken dishes like chicken karahi are also popular. Alternatively, roadside food stalls often sell just lentils and tandoori rotis, or masala stews with chapatis. People who live near the main rivers also eat fish for lunch, which is sometimes cooked in the tandoori style.
Dinner is considered the main meal of the day as the whole family gathers for the occasion. F