When it comes to Pakistani food, sufficient spices and ghee make it unbelievably tasty. Every region has its own specialities with different flavours which makes the food unique.
The Pakistani cuisine is a blend of various cooking traditions of Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. The diversified culture in Pakistan is a reason for ample cuisines for you to try.
Let me introduce you to ten delicious Pakistani cuisines you should try if you ever visit Pakistan.
10 Delicious Pakistani Food You Should Try:
This food item is praised all over Central Asia and the reason being its unique taste.
Tikka is a specific type of ‘Kebab”. Kebab meat is minced and then seasoned while Tikka contains bigger pieces of marinated meat.
In ancient times, the food was usually consumed by the nomadic herders and even the emperors. Therefore, it is right to day that the Tikka Kebab has been through a long journey.
This food is available in almost every restaurant in Pakistan. You will understand why this item is on the number first of the list when you will taste it.
Tikka Kebab is also found in many other Asian countries but, Pakistan has its own unique flavour when it comes to Tikka Kebab. So why not give it a try?
Some of the ingredients in the Tikka Kebab are:
- Boneless chicken breast and butter
- Fresh lemon juice
- Teaspoon salt
- Yoghurt and crushed red pepper
This food is considered as a speciality of the Pakistani people but why? Let’s find out.
Haleem is among the Pakistani food that is very beloved to the people. Haleem comprises local wheat varieties, barley and chickpeas.
Something special and unique about this food is that it is cooked on low flame and therefore, it takes a lot of time for Haleem to be completely cooked (around a day). However, this is the technique to give Haleem its flavour.
The onions are fried separately and later on, certain spices and mint are added. Finally, the squeezed lemon on your haleem will give it a taste which is of no match.
You should try this food item in the morning or the evening. Is there a specific reason for that? Well, yes.
Haleem contains a lot of calories and proteins and thus, it will keep you energetic and healthy for the entire day. But where can you find this food item?
Haleem is easily available in the old city of the Lahore. Haleem is sold as a snack food and street food throughout the year and this dish is also very popular in Bangladesh.
Here is a brief origin of Haleem.
Origin of Haleem:
- Its origin lies in the Popular Arabian dish, Harees.
Let me tell you that the first written recipe of Harees was written in the 10th Century.
- Harees gradually was cooked in the other parts of the world when the Arab empire extended.
The Arab soldiers were the one who introduced Harees in the Indian subcontinent.
- Later on, the people modified it and a delicious dish haleem came into existence.
Chaat is a budget-effective snack which has its own taste. Chaat is a popular Pakistani street food which has its own taste. If you miss this item then, according to me you have missed something tasty.
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You can find chaat with a bed of chickpeas covered with spicy and sour sauces to enhance its flavour. In the end, a crunchy ingredient is added which makes your chaat ready.
Let me tell you that the crunchy ingredient is what you should not miss. You can also get additional sauces if you like to enhance the flavour in any way you like.
Chaat is of utmost significance to the Pakistani people. You are likely to find this food item on almost every main road in Pakistan with a bunch of people trying to buy this food.
The ingredients in the chaat are as follows:
- Cumin and Salt
- Chilli powder
Do you want some crunch and a variety of flavours? Then, why not taste a samosa?
Samosas are deep-fried triangular pastries that are filled with a variety of ingredients (vegetables and meat). Some of the ingredients are:
Lentils, onions, peas, spiced potatoes and ground meat.
This snack has a very interesting history that you need to know. It is said that this food has travelled all the way from Central Asia and therefore, there has been a variance in its flavour.
A tip from me is that if you ever go to eat a Samosa, eat it as it is served or if it gets cold then, you may miss the flavour you want.
Samosa is served with some sauces and other things such as chopped onions and yoghurt. The taste of the Samosas may vary because some samosas may contain a number of sweet ingredients.
These include mangoes and pomegranates. In Pakistan, the samosas of Karachi and Lahore are known to be spicy while the samosas in Faisalabad are to be bigger. Irrespective of the size, people like every flavour.
However, you can find sweet samosas in cities such as Peshawar. The main ingredients in Samosa are potato, Maida, Peas, onion, green chilli, cheese and meat.
You are likely to find this item in almost every list that talks about the topic. Why is that? Let’s find out.
Sajji may contain different types of meat but mostly chicken is used. One thing you will definitely like is the way you will be served.
The origin of this dish is from Balochistan (a province in Pakistan). You can find different regional varieties. People say that there is a difference in Sajji in Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad. It is served with the traditional Balochi Kaak bread.
Some of the common ingredients in Sajji are coriander, chicken (or lamb), garlic, lemon, cumin, black pepper, vinegar and chilli powder.
If we take a look at the calories than according to some statistics, there are 1670 calories in 1000 grams of Chicken Meat (roasted / cooked).
This poultry dish is popular in Pakistan and North India and this is for a reason. Well, what does the word “karahi” actually means?
As the word suggests, karahi refers to a thick and deep cooking pot which is quite alike a wok.
The dish is served with naan, roti or rice. The main ingredients in chicken karahi are garlic, tomatoes, cardamom, chilli powder and cumin.
Chicken karahi is also known as murgh karahi and Kadai chicken and its spicy taste is what people want. The dish takes 30 to 50 minutes to cook and it can be stored for later consumption. The dish provides you with enough calories to keep you energetic for the entire day.
The nutritional facts of chicken karahi are as follows (for a serving size of 11.3 oz):
- 360 calories
- 21g carbs
- 18g Fats
- 27g Protein
- Fibre (5g)
- 7g Sugar
- Cholesterol (70mg)
Vegetable and Legume Dishes:
Your visit to Pakistan will be incomplete if you miss the popular vegetarian dishes here.
These dishes are cooked using traditional spices and flavour enhancing agents such as ginger, garlic, Tumeric, chilli, cumin and cinnamon. The dishes such as “Sarson da saag” and “Baingan Bartha” are some of the dishes you should try.
Sarson da Saag is a famous vegetarian dish from Punjab which is made with mustard greens and spices such as garlic and ginger. The dish is mostly topped with butter and ghee. One serving of Sarson da saag is likely to give you 64 calories.
This dish contains anti-cancer nutrients and can also help to lower blood cholesterol levels. If something tasty is that beneficial then, it is a must-try dish.
When talking about vegetable and legume dishes, one bonus dish I have for you is “Aloo mutter” which is made with peas and potatoes.
Pakistan is a land which is blessed with plenty of vegetables that grows throughout the year. These are cooked into delicious curries that are consumed for lunch or dinner. Pakistani food such as “aloo paratha” and “chana puri” are consumed in breakfast mostly.
Various types of rice make an important part of Pakistani cuisine. Pakistan itself is a major exporter and consumer of rice (as it is an agro-based economy).
Basmati is the most important type of rice which is consumed in Pakistan. The dishes made with rice include various types of pulao such as:
- Maash Pulao:
This type of pulao is sweet and sour as it is baked with mung beans, bulgur and apricots.
- Matar Pulao:
This type of pulao is made with peas and potatoes.
- Kabuli Pulao:
You can find this Afghan dish in the Pashtun populated areas in Pakistan such as Peshawar, FATA and even in Balochistan. It includes steamed rice and other things such as lambs, and carrots.
When it comes to rice, Biryani is one of the most popular dishes in Pakistan. The food is served with pickles that are made with lemons, carrots and mangoes.
There are much more types of rice dishes in Pakistan. If you ever visit Pakistan, you should try at least one of the above-mentioned rice dishes.
Let me tell you that one serving of vegetable biryani provides you 241 calories. Out of which carbohydrates comprise 56 calories, 161 calories from fat and remaining from Proteins (that are 19 calories).
This famous breakfast platter in Pakistan consists of puris, halwa, aloo ki bhujia and chole masala.
This delicious breakfast is found throughout Pakistan but the most famous ones are found in Lahore. Halwa puri, without a doubt, is the most famous breakfast in Pakistan.
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It is a fact that halwa poori is not very healthy as it contains excessive fats but, you should try it at least once in your life. This dish originated from the Indian subcontinent.
The halwa is made from Suji (semolina). One thing about this dish is that it is super easy to make and therefore, the people in Pakistan make this dish frequently at their homes.
Now when you know something about this dish, why not taste it?
If that is the case then you do not need to worry because halwa poori is available in Pakistan almost in every major city and when it comes to Lahore, you are likely to find it on almost every main road in the city.
When it comes to this dish, the Pakistani people love this food. Bun kebab can be found all over Pakistan but the most famous ones are found in Karachi and Lahore.
However, in India this food is consumed as a street food regularly.
The bun kebab contains a shallow-fried spicy patty, onions and chutney. Moreover, the chutney is made up from Tamarind (which is known as imli in Urdu), salt, cumin powder and chillies.
When it comes to nutritional facts, one bun kebab typically contains 404 calories. 40g carbs, 19g fats and 18g proteins make up the above mentioned calories.
When it comes to vitamins and minerals, the food does not provide ample vitamins and minerals but remember, it is tasty.
Thank you very much for staying with me till the end. Pakistani food is without a doubt a vast topic that is very difficult to cover in an article.
The above-mentioned dishes are based upon my personal experience and I do not hesitate to recommend you to try all of the above-mentioned dishes.
When it comes to taste, everyone has its own taste. Food is all about trying different flavours and experiencing different flavours. Let me know what you think about these dishes.
The nutritional facts for some foods are also provided to help you make some important decisions that whether you should eat the food or not based on your health and fitness.
Let me end the article with a very interesting quote: