10 Best Pakistani Savoury Dishes to Make at Home

Pakistani cuisine has a rich array of flavourful foods for a delicious meal. Here are 10 of the best Pakistani savoury dishes to make at home.

10 Best Pakistani Savoury Dishes to Make at Home f

A boiled egg is coated in spiced minced meat

There is a wide range of delicious Pakistani savoury dishes to entice the tastebuds and make at home.

The cuisine of Pakistan reflects a diverse culture and dishes vary depending on the region.

In the eastern provinces of Punjab and Sindh, food is characterised as “highly seasoned” and “spicy”, reflecting flavours of the East.

Cuisine from the western and northern provinces, as well as tribal areas, characterise food as “mild”, reflecting the flavours of the adjoining regions of Central Asia and Western Asia.

No matter the region, Pakistan boasts some wonderful savoury dishes. 

Mrs Zeenat Hussain, who hails from Rawalpindi, a chef in her own right has created some incredible recipes for Pakistani savoury dishes.

She started cooking after marriage and says a key tip when making these recipes is the effort you put in and the spices you use. 

Mrs Hussain says the majority of these dishes are popular in Karachi and Islamabad. 

DESIblitz presents 10 mouthwatering Pakistani recipes by Mrs Zeenat Hussain, for you to make at home and enjoy.

Nargis Kebab

10 Best Pakistani Savoury Dishes to Make at Home - nargis

Nargis kebabs are a family favourite in Pakistan and are essentially Desi scotch eggs.

A boiled egg is coated in spiced minced meat and cooked. The result is an intensely flavoured exterior with a soft egg inside.

Although it is an appetiser, it is a rich and filling centrepiece of a meal.

Ingredients

  • 1kg minced meat (of your choice)
  • 2 Onions, cut into large pieces
  • ½ cup curd
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp vinegar

For the Filling

  • 4 Eggs, boiled
  • 1 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 or 3 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chaat masala

For the Coating

  • 2 Eggs, boiled and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup gram flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder

Method

  1. Heat some oil in a pan and add the onions. Fry until light brown then add yoghurt, ginger-garlic paste, salt, red chilli powder, soy sauce and vinegar. Cook for around eight minutes.
  2. Add the mince and cook for three minutes. Add half a cup of water and cook until the meat is tender and the water has evaporated.
  3. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  4. When cooled, place the mince into a food processor and grind until it becomes a smooth paste.
  5. To prepare the filling, mix together the coriander, mint, green chillies and chaat masala. Add about two tablespoons of the mince.
  6. Coat the boiled eggs in the filling. Meanwhile, wet your palm with a little water. Place the mince in the centre of your palm. Shape into a ball then flatten it.
  7. Place the egg in the middle and fold over the sides. Repeat with the remaining mince.
  8. In a bowl, mix the coating ingredients together and place the kebabs in them. Mix until fully coated.
  9. In a frying pan, gently add the kebabs and shallow fry until they are golden. When done, drain on kitchen paper and serve.

Masala Coated Roast Chicken

10 Best Pakistani Savoury Dishes to Make at Home - chicken

Masala roasted chicken is a delicious Pakistani savoury dish and it consists of chicken marinated in a ginger-garlic paste.

This Mughlai dish is one to have at a family meal or on a special occasion.

It may look like a lot of work but the end result is worth it. The chicken has a vibrant colour and flavour so what’s not to like.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 20g green chillies
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp grated raw papaya
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt to taste

For the Marinade

  • 1 cup curd
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. Wash and pat the chicken dry. Make several slits over the chicken. Apply salt and lemon juice all over the chicken and keep aside.
  2. Grind green chillies with the ginger-garlic paste. Stir in the curd and add the ground spices. Grind the papaya and add. Mix well.
  3. Add the chilli powder and mix well. Pour in the olive oil and mix.
  4. Generously apply the marinade over the chicken and inside the slits. Place into the fridge for at least 12 hours.
  5. When ready to cook, place onto a tray and place into a 200°C oven. Cook for 45 minutes or until the chicken is tender and the juices run clear.
  6. Serve with onion rings and wedges of lime.

Mutton Egg Masala

10 Best Pakistani Savoury Dishes to Make at Home - mutton

Mutton egg masala is one of the most elegant Pakistani savoury dishes as it is a flavourful meal comprising of different textures.

The rich meat curry has boiled eggs which only add to the heartiness.

If you prefer to have the yolk slightly runny, it mixes with the sauce, lending for a richer taste.

Ingredients

  • ½kg mutton
  • 4 Eggs, boiled and halved
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 2 Onions, chopped
  • 2 Tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp tamarind
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • A few mint leaves (to garnish)

For the Masala Paste

  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 2.5cm cinnamon
  • 2 cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 green chillies
  • 2.5cm ginger
  • 6 Garlic cloves

Method

  1. In a pan, heat the ghee and fry the onions until golden brown. Add the tomatoes and fry until softened.
  2. Add the ground masala paste and fry lightly.
  3. Add mutton, salt and enough water until covered. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. Pour in the lemon juice and add the tamarind. Stir well and check the seasoning.
  5. Add the eggs, gently stir and garnish with mint leaves before serving.

Chapli Kebab

10 Best Pakistani Savoury Dishes to Make at Home - kebab

Chapli kebab is a Pashtun-style kebab which is usually made from ground beef or mutton along with various spices and in the shape of a patty.

This Pakistani savoury dish originates from Peshawar, however, it is popular in other regions. In Punjab, it is known as chitter kebab.

This dish perfect as a side option or even as a main meal when placed into a bun.

Ingredients

  • ½kg mincemeat (beef or mutton)
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tbsp roasted whole coriander seeds
  • ½ tbsp roasted coriander seeds, coarsely ground
  • 3 green chillies, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1½ cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • ½ cup mint leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Egg
  • Oil

Method

  1. In a large bowl, add the mince then mix in all the ingredients except the oil. Once well combined, set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Divide the mixture into approximately two tablespoon-sized balls and flatten into patties.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a frying pan.
  4. Shallow fry the kebabs for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.

Bhaji

10 Best Pakistani Savoury Dishes to Make at Home - bhaji

Bhajis are a popular snack in South Asia so it is no surprise that it is enjoyed in Pakistan.

Although there are different varieties, this particular recipe uses moong daal.

They have a soft texture and have a contrast of flavours, making for layers of taste in every mouthful.

Method

  • 2 cups moong daal
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Green chilli, chopped
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • A small bunch of coriander
  • Oil

Method

  1. Wash the daal and leave to soak for some time. Then grind in a chopper and set aside.
  2. Add the salt, red chilli powder, onion, green chilli and coriander.
  3. Heat some oil in a wok. Meanwhile, wet your hands and shape the bhajis. Gently place the bhajis in batches into the oil and fry until golden.
  4. Once done, drain on kitchen paper and serve with chutney.

Kalonji Aloo

10 Best Pakistani Savoury Dishes to Make at Home - aloo

Kalonji aloo is a delicious vegetarian option, especially for potato lovers.

It is essentially potatoes which have been fried with different spices. It is a simple dish but it boasts a load of flavours.

This potato dish tastes great with naan and is the perfect accompaniment to a rich curry.

Ingredients

  • 500g potatoes, chopped
  • ½ tsp onion seeds
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp green chilli paste
  • Salt to taste
  • Red chilli powder to taste
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Curry leaves
  • Oil

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a wok then fry the ginger, garlic and green chilli paste. Add the remaining spices and onion seeds.
  2. Stir in the potatoes and curry leaves. Mix until the potatoes are fully coated in the spices.
  3. Add a little water if needed. Reduce the heat, cover and allow it to cook until the potatoes are crisp but tender.

Bhuna Gosht

10 Best to Make at Home - gosht

Bhuna gosht is a tasty mutton recipe that is typically served alongside roti or naan.

It is cooked with fried onions, tomatoes as well as a variety of aromatic spices to enhance its flavours.

This Pakistani savoury dish is for those who enjoy the taste of tender mutton and enticing aromas.

Ingredients

  • 1kg mutton, chopped
  • 2 Onions, sliced
  • 2 Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp green chilli paste
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Oil

Method

  1. In a deep pan, heat the oil and add the sliced onions. Fry until soft and golden.
  2. Add the tomatoes and garlic, ginger and green chilli pastes. Fry and stir frequently to prevent burning. Add a little water if you need to.
  3. Then add the mutton. Mix to coat in the spices then cover with water.
  4. Reduce the heat, cover and cook on a low heat until the meat is tender and most of the water has evaporated.

Chicken Korma

10 Best to Make at Home - korma

Although korma originated in north India, it is a popular savoury dish in Pakistan.

This relatively mild curry is made using coconut milk, cream and mild spices, which give off an enticing aroma. Cashews and almonds are sometimes included for added texture.

The meat is typically cooked first before it is stirred into the creamy sauce.

Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken breasts, diced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, crushed
  • 2cm ginger, chopped
  • 6 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp ground coconut
  • 3 tbsp ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted (optional)
  • Rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 Cloves
  • 1cm cinnamon stick
  • ½ tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp garam masala

Method

  1. Put garlic, ginger, ground almonds and six tablespoons of water into a blender and blend to a smooth paste.
  2. Add oil in a pan and when very hot, add the bay leaves, cardamom pods, cloves and cinnamon stick. Stir for 10 seconds.
  3. Stir in the onions and cook until browned.
  4. Reduce the heat and add the spice paste, along with the cumin, coriander and red chilli powder. Stir for three minutes, then add the purée and stir for one minute.
  5. Add the chicken, salt, yoghurt, garam masala, ground coconut and 150ml water.
  6. Bring to a simmer then cover the pan. Turn the heat to low and gently simmer for 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  7. Remove the cinnamon sticks and bay leaves.
  8. Garnish with flaked almonds if desired and serve on a bed of basmati rice or with naan.

Masala Rice

10 Best to Make at Home - rice

This is a simple Pakistani savoury dish which is bound to make rice more exciting.

Instead of having boiled rice, which can become tedious, this alternative is much more filling and has a plethora of spices.

The result is a side dish which has layers of flavour to go with the delicious main meal.

Ingredients

  • 500g rice, washed and soaked
  • 2 Onions, sliced
  • 2 Tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • A few peppercorns
  • Oil

Method

  1. Rinse the rice then add fresh water. Boil until the rice is soft and fluffy then set aside.
  2. In a pan, add some oil then fry the onions until golden. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened.
  3. Add the remaining spices and cook until it becomes aromatic.
  4. Stir the rice in and cook for two minutes until well combined and heated through.

Keema ki Khichdi & Kadhi

10 Best to Make at Home - khichdi

This combination of dishes is very popular within Pakistani cuisine.

Khichdi is one of the most enjoyed rice dishes. The addition of keema only adds to the flavour profile.

Kadhi is a lightly spiced yoghurt-based soup which is served alongside it. When poured into the rice, the khichdi soaks up all the flavours, making for a delicious meal.

Ingredients

  • 500g minced lamb
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • 2 Onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Salt to taste

For the Khichdi

  • 1 cup moong daal
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander powder

For the Kadhi

  • 2 cups Yoghurt
  • ½ cup gram flour
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 dried red chillies, broken
  • ½-inch piece ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder

Method

  1. To make the keema, heat the ghee in a pan and add the onions. Fry until golden.
  2. Add the meat and cook until browned. Add all the powdered spices, mix then leave to cook.
  3. Meanwhile, wash the rice and daal and leave to soak for at least 15 minutes. Pour into a pot filled with water and allow it to boil.
  4. Once done, remove from the heat and set aside. In another pan, fry the onions and add the spices. Pour it over the khichdi.
  5. To make the kadhi, whisk the yoghurt then add the gram flour, whisking constantly until smooth.
  6. Add the turmeric, salt, three cups of water and mix.
  7. In a non-stick pot, add the fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, red chillies, salt and three cups of water. Mix well then add the ginger.
  8. Stir in the yoghurt mixture and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Alternate layers of khichdi and keema when serving. Serve alongside a bowl of kadhi.

These 10 Pakistani savoury dishes incorporate different flavours and contrasting cooking techniques, as kindly provided by Mrs Zeenat Hussain.

One thing for certain is that they taste great if you follow the instructions carefully because Mrs Hussain emphasises that carelessness and haste will ruin a dish. 

So, by making these incredible dishes you will enjoy the real taste of Pakistan at home.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”