World Cooking – Pakistan

List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: Pakistan
Progress: 45/193

Well, I did say in my last world cooking post that the next country on the list would be Pakistan. It’s just incredibly unusual for these plans to work out so well, especially when picking the correct dish for a country was actually more difficult than expected.

My starting point, usually, when doing a country for the world cooking list is to find what the national dish is. By most metrics, Pakistan doesn’t really have a national dish. After all, it’s a highly populous country with a number of different ethnic groups and areas – which makes finding one uniting dish all the more difficult. Also, pretty much all the major dishes are shared with their neighbours to the east, India.

An interesting article in The Express Tribune about the topic of Pakistan’s national dish really helped me along the way, as did the comments section. It helped me realize that there were arguments for any number of dishes and it helped to remind me how a large and diverse nation may have a large number of foods that were important nationally – so I really should get too hung up on it as long as I found something they would eat in Pakistan.

Main: Sindhi Biryani

The article really ended up steering me in the direction of biryani and I ended up with this recipe for Sindhi biryani. Thanks to my spice cupboard being the stuff of younger me’s culinary dreams, I actually had everything in stock (even saffron) with the exception of A second type of cardamom.

I don’t recall making a big rice-based dish for this list, at least not for a while anyway, so I was more than happy to be making this. The fact that the portion size for this was so generous didn’t hurt either. Seriously though, I’m doing intermittent fasting right now and after one serving of this as a late lunch, I’m not sure when I’m going to have the stomach to finish the leftovers. Must mean that this dish is borderline magical.

Magic aside, because I’m not entirely convinced this is really magical, this biryani made with lamb and the entire contents of my spice cupboard is extremely delicious. I also loved the addition of prunes, although I do wish I had chopped them up rather than included them whole. This might be the nicest main dish I’ve made for this challenge for 3-4 months and there’s plenty of it left over. Yay.

Dessert: Kaju Katli

As you can probably tell from the photo, this didn’t go completely according to plan. I didn’t simmer the mixture for long enough, which meant that it didn’t dry out properly. It was getting late and my fingers were greasy from using ghee… so I just took this as it came in the end. Which is delicious. I can only imagine how much better this would be if it has the right texture.

I also know that, whilst kaju katli is eaten in Pakistan, this is actually Indian in origin. I just really wanted to make some kind of barfi and this was the most appealing to me as I love cashew nuts. Even though this recipe didn’t turn out perfect because of my own impatience, this was so delicious that I want to make it again and perfect it. Maybe I’ll also try making some different barfi too, like those made using condensed milk.

After this delicious trip to the world of Pakistani cuisine, it’s back to Africa for the first time in a while.

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