Eating the Pakistani Way

The cuisine of Pakistan is a mixture of Arab, Turkish, Persian and Indian influences. Roti (bread), chawal (rice), sabzi (vegetables) and gosht (meat) are the four main components of a Pakistani meal. Naan is the most popular form of bread and is eaten at almost any meal. It is a flat, leavened bread made in a tandoor or clay oven and is normally purchased to supplement the home-cooked meal. Parathas and chapatis both flat round breads, are also favourites.

Rice is eaten often and is usually simple boiled . For special occasions, biryani is made by cooking rice in a yoghurt and meat sauce, and served with saffron. Kheer, a richer and more liquid version of the rice pudding, is cooked with cardamoms, cloves and cinnamon.

Muslims refrain from eating any pork. Most Pakistanis follow this diet restriction rigidly and will even avoid foods cooked with lard. Alcohol is also prohibited in Islam. Many Pakistanis will eat only `halal' meaning `kosher' meat. Chicken, goat and beef are popular either in curried form or char-grilled in a tandoor. Specialties include kebabs, tikka (barbecued spiced chicken), korma (meat curry) and pulao (rice cooked with meat).

Mithai are sweets made of flour and milk or cream and are cooked in sweet syrups. These are very popular and are enjoyed on special occasions. Paan, a mixture of tobacco paste, spices and betel nut spread on a betel leaf, is a common way of ending a meal and is believed to help digestion.

Pakistani Beverages

Chai, or tea, is a very popular drink. It is drunk in any season, in sweltering heat or in the cooler months. It is very common to offer chai as a welcome gesture in homes, offices or stores. It usually boiled with milk, cardamom, nutmeg and sugar.

Lassi, a yogurt drink, and sugar cane juice are very popular in the summer months