Pakistani cuisine is similar to North Indian cuisine, especially in the regions of Punjab and Sindh. However, due to its location in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent, there is a lot of regional variation, for example, the western portions of Pakistan have cuisine that is more similar with that of Afghanistan and Iran . Much of the food is referred to as Mughlai cuisine, especially in the east, and varies from its neighbors in that it is spicier than the cuisine in other parts of the Middle East and less spicy than that of India . One could term it a unique blend of Indo-Iranian, but, more realistically, it is perhaps best described as a nation with many different types of foods, the east and, to some extent, the North West Frontier Province being almost identical to North Indian (Punjabi) cuisine and the west being more similar to the cuisine of Iran. Often, both interlap. The most prominent Pakistani cuisine, though, is the Mughalai cuisine which is also prominent throughout northern India , although the term Mughalai is unheard of in Pakistan .
Varieties of Bread
Most Pakistanis eat bread (roti) as a staple part of their daily diet. Basmati rice is eaten on special occasion. Pakistan has a variety of breads often prepared in a traditional clay oven called tandoor.
- Roghni naan - sprinkled with sesame seeds
- Sheermal - prepared with milk and butter
- Kandahari naan - long naan originally from Afghanistan now popular in Pakistan as well
- Paratha- fried in oil originated from Punjab
Among the best known dishes are Biryani, Pullao and Nihari, Chicken Karahi, Mutton Korma, Chicken Korma, Shab Degh, Chicken/Mutton Handi. Sajji is a Baluchi dish made of lamb stuffed with rice that has become popular all over the country. Vegetarian dishes are also common although not as extensive as in Indian cuisine. Pakistanis eat various kinds of lentils called Dal as part of their daily diet as well as different kinds of vegetables.
Curries in Pakistan tend to be quite bland compared to Indian and Southeast Asian countries (especially in NWFP), thus some may classify them as stews rather than curries. A favourite Pakistani curry is Karahi, either mutton or chicken cooked in a dry sauce. Lahori Karahi incorporates garlic, onions, spices and vinegar. Peshawari karahi is a simple dish made with just meat, salt, tomatoes and corriander
A Middle Eastern influence on Pakistani cuisine is the popularity of grilled meats such as kababs. Kababs form Balochistan and the NWFP tend to be identical to the Afghan style of bar-be-cue, with salt and corriander being the only seasonings used. Lahore is famous for its kababs and these have a strong Indian flavour as they are very spicy and are often marinated in a mixture of spices, lemon juice and yoghurt
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:
A long skewer of Beef mixed with herbs and seasonings.
A short skewer of Beef, softer than seekh kabobs.
A spicy round kabab made of ground beef and cooked in animal fat which is a speciality of the North West Frontier Province .
A popular kabab that is found both with bone and without.
The all lamb meat kabob is usually served as cubes.
grilled baby lamb chops (usually from the leg), typically marinated
Popular desserts include Kulfi, Faloodah, Kheer and Ras Malai. Pakistan has a long list of sweets. Some of the most popular are Gulab jamun, Barfi and various kinds of Halva.
Pakistanis drink a great deal of Tea (chai). Both black and green tea (Sabz chai) are popular. 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 the Northern Areas) salty buttered tea is consumed.