Monday, April 19, 2010

Regional food of Pakistan

There is so much to write about Pakistani food but I will write about rice, which is the most popular food in the whole world next to potatoes. Since Pakistan has so many different ethnicities, everyone has different style of cooking.
In the state of Sindh sea food is produced because of coastal line and they use a lot of spice. In another state called Punjab, a lot of spices and lentils are produced and they cook their food with a lot of spice, too. While in Baluchistan is famous for barbecued pit, while in northern pakistan fresh and dry fruits are produced and they use spice for aromatic touch for cooking.
Rice is a very popular and lovable food in Pakistan. Some of the famous dishes of rice are polao, biryani which can be cooked with chicken, beef, mutton or vegetable. Biryani is basically cooked all over Pakistan.
Polao which is also cooked with mutton, beef, chicken or peas is also very famous all over Pakistan, but beef or mutton polao is very popular in the northern side of Pakistan.
In a tribal area of northern Pakistan there is another rice dish they cook which is called dum-pukh.They filled the whole sheep, goat or lamb (mostly lamb) with rice and some spice and then roast the whole thing on open fire like woods in camping.

People in Baluchistan have another kind of rice dish which is called saji while in the coastal area the like boiled white rice with fish.

There is another dish of rice is zarda which is basically sweet rice and famous in whole Pakistan.
Ingredients for zarda (yellow sweet rice)
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 12 strands of saffron
- 1\2 cup coconut
- 1\4 tsp. yellow food coloring
- 1\2 cup ghee
- 4 cloves
- 1 inch stick cinnamon
- 1\2 tsp. cardamom seeds
2 cups sugar
- 1\4 cup milk
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
- 1/4 cup chopped almond
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1tsp kewra essence, diluted or 1\4 tsp., if concentrated
- Silver leaves (varak) for decoration, option

How to cook
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<!--[endif]-->1. Rinse rice well; soak it in cold water for about 30 minutes and drain. Place saffron threads into two tablespoons of boiling water and allow soaking for 10 minutes. Soak coconut in water for few hours, until soft. Then thinly slice it.
2. In a large, heavy skillet bring plenty of water to boil. Add washed rice, cardamom seeds and yellow color, bring it back to boil, reduce heat and cook for about 12-15 minutes until the rice are almost cooked, Drain and keep aside.
3. Heat ghee in a heavy saucepan; add cardamom seeds, cloves and cinnamon. Stirring all the time, fry them for a couple of minutes. Add sugar and milk. Bring to boil simmer for few minutes.
4. Add rice, lemon juice, saffron water, Stir gently, cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add pistachio nut, almond, raisins, coconut and kewra essence, stir gently and cover with a tight fitting lid. Reduce heat and cook for 12-15 minutes or until all the moisture from sugar has evaporated.
5. Transfer to a serving dish and decorate with silver leaf.
Serve warm.
Any one can buy these ingredients on
Devon Street
in any Pakistani grocery store. You can also eat the dishes in Pakistani restaurants like usmania, sabri or Khyber Pass in Chicago down town in Hyatt regency hotel.


  1. I love learning about foods from other countries so I really enjoyed reading your blog! My favorite school event at Highland Elementary School is Heritage Night when we get to sample food from all over the world. I always say that if the rest of the world was as kind and accepting as the families in our school, who come from many countries and regions, the world would be a much happier place!
    Leslie Gordon,
    Principal at Highland Elementary School