These posts are part of a fabulous series on “Foods of Pakistan” from my friend Bilal Umer. Thank you for sharing your culture with us! This is Episode 2 of the series.
“I wrote about Pakistani places in my last episode in February 2012. Food focuses the culture and weather of the region. Here I decided to write about the rich food of Pakistan in different cities. This is also a gift for Emma Lovelly to enjoy untouched Pakistani food. ” – Bilal Umer
Saag is a Soghaat (famous dish) of Punjab, especially in villages.It is commonly known as ‘Sarsoon Da Saag’ (Punjabi word), it is eaten with ‘Makki Di Roti’ (Punjabi word). Makki Di Roti is made of corn flour and is yellow in color.Now saag is also famous in the Western world. Saag is normally served hot and topped with ghee (clarified butter).You can purchase Saag in Tin Packs from different utility stores/shops.
Different Variety of Saag Dishes:
- Saag Paneer is a dish that contains Paneer (cheese) and spinach.
- Saag Gosht is a version of the dish prepared with Gosht (meat), often lamb in the Western world. The meat is usually cooked in a Tandoor (Oven) before being marinated in the other ingredients.
- Sag Aloo, is fried Aloo (potatoes) dipped in spinach curry; Saag Aloo is commonly served with naan, chapati, and makki di roti. Saag aalu can be made with both spinach and mustard, although spinach is more common.
Fig. Hafiz Ka Sohan Halwa – Soghat (Famous Product) of Multan
- · Gourmet – Soghat (Famous Name) of Lahore
Fig. Gur – Soghat (Famous Sweet) of Rural Areas of Punjab
Fig. Lassi – Soghat (Famous Drink) of Punjab and Sindh
- · Savor Foods – Soghat (Famous Food) in Islamabad / Rawalpindi
Fig. Makhadi Halwa – Soghat of Mianwali and Talagang
The success of Food Street in Gawalmandi, established in 2000, has been beyond its organisers’ imaginations, and has led to other Food Streets being set up.
Pakistani Food can be sub-divided in two distinct styles: Mughal-style Pakistani curries and Punjabi Barbecue and Karahis. In the curry category, the best choice is available at Village, Bellpepper, Kabana, Paradise, Ziafat etc., where you can get reasonably good quality Curries, Biryanis, Nans etc.
The Lahorites, love to eat BBQ food, available at hundreds of outlets all over town. The real secret of BBQ food is to consume it straight from the BBQ pit. A Seekh Kabab is tastier eaten immediately from the pit. At that moment, its minced meat is warm and the fat is melted, and thus most tasty. So every Seekh Kabab is good if you do not let it go cold. Chicken Tikka needs a little care. It should be ordered as golden brown or burnt black. I prefer golden brown, before most of its surface turns black, while it still has juices in it. Once the Tikka is over cooked, you not only consume some carbon, but also the meat’s juices are lost.
Chicken Karahi is best if made fresh according to your taste. So select a shop where you find it is made to your taste. I prefer Zakir in Cantonment and Mian Hotel on Canal Bank, because both use lots of green masala and tomatoes, giving a very fresh taste. I prefer a Karahi with some gravy, though some prefer it dry. Bhatti and Butt both of Lakhshami Chowk, Grill at Liberty, Punjab Tikka House in Main Gulberg serve delicious Chicken Karahis at reasonable rates.
I go to Nishat Taka Tak at Lakhshami Chowk for Taka Tak, a Gurda-Chop concoction, because they make it fresh in your presence and use the right amount of green masala and garlic-ginger paste. For an unforgettable experience, ask the shopkeeper to warm your Nan over the dish while cooking.
The best place in Lahore for a variety of Punjabi Specialities, is Food Street in Gawalmandi. Within 150 yards, you have a choice of nearly 100 items from 85 outlets. The management has now arranged that you sit anywhere and order from any outlet. The waiters are now uniformed, courtesy a multinational. Food Street presents a colonial look. The low prices make your visit very satisfying.
For Nihari, go for Haji inside Lohari and Waris in Paisa Akhbar and on Mozang Chungi. For Haleem, shops on Lakshami Chowk, Abbot Road, near Mubarak Cinema, and outside old Nigar Cinema and Baghdadi in Shadman Market. Go-Go near Sherpao Bridge and Ashraf Tikka Shop in Main Market Gulberg for Mutton Chops. For Punjabi Style Fish, Sardar of Gawalmandi continues to be ‘King.’ Other leading Lahore fish outlets, include those at Ichra and Mozang Chungi. For Murgh Chholey, go for Sultan and Shahi of Lakhshami Chowk. I also enjoy Anda Kofte Chholey from Nila Gumbad and Chikar Chholey outside Masjide Shohada and near the Cantonment School.
Besides some of the restaurants as mentioned above, Lahorites also enjoy cooked items from dozens of bakeries of Lahore. Rahat Bakery offers the biggest choice of ready-to-eat items, as do Gourmet, Kitchen Cuisine, International Bakery, etc.
Lahorites eat a lot of Mithai. Nirala seems to be more popular than Shirin Mahal these days. But Fazal, Rahat and Gourmet outlets also serve good quality Mithai. Prices have come down.
Fig. Julaybee and muthai