“Personally I found cooking meat biryani to be most challenging."
The Food and Cooking of Pakistan, a tasteful picturesque cookbook by Shehzad Husain.
Divided into chapters by meal type, each page is to be treasured for its delicious content. Instantly taking you to the full of life, street food stalls, and beautifully set dinner tables of Pakistan.
Unlike other cookery books, which lack coverage of the ‘Pakistani home kitchen,’ this one is packed with regional dishes, defining its culinary heritage. As Shehzad says herself:
“Pakistan has a wealth of traditional dishes but these get immersed under the generic banner of ‘Indian’.”
With a collection of mouth-watering recipes, including, Nehari, as well as lighter dishes like Tarka Daal and Aloo Chaat, this recipe book provides a truly authentic glimpse into Pakistan.
Here’s a peek inside!
The author takes us on a Pakistani gastronomic journey, through the seasons, districts, and scenic towns of Pakistan.
In particular, the introductory chapters explain the festivals, tools and equipment, key ingredients, and techniques, behind Pakistan’s fascinating culinary culture.
Shehzad tells us that: “Diversity,” is what makes the Pakistani cuisine stand out:
“Each district of Pakistan has its own uniqueness and individuality. For example, the inhabitants of the port towns of Sindh and Baluchistan are prolific in seafood. Whereas Punjab reflects a deep influence of the Mogul rulers.”
With her extensive knowledge of Pakistani food, Shehzad explores the history of some of the province’s most iconic eats:
“Sag gosht (meat cooked with spinach) is ubiquitous throughout Punjab. Another Punjabi cultural dish is ‘Chana Gosht’ (meat cooked with chick peas) or spicy chickpeas called chola or chana on their own. Chapli Kebabs and chicken or lamb tak tak are associated with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.”
Hence, The Food and Cooking of Pakistan contains mixed recipes, offering plenty of choices for vegetarians and meat eaters:
Seafood & Fish
With a refreshing, full of seasonal zest, this section includes prawn appetisers, like, Masala Jhingay.
As well as, the Mirch Wali Machli fish dish.
On the other hand, Shehzad decorates the slow-cooked meat dishes with a sprinkle of green coriander, and says:
“Personally I found cooking meat biryani to be most challenging, especially as there is a temptation to take short-cuts Good cooking cannot be hurried.”
Some of the other delicious combinations of meat include Aloo Goshth, Daal Goshth, and Gobi Goshth. And of course, the various Kebab and Tikka varieties.
The chicken chapter is filled with some of the most flavourful and popular dishes, like, KAT-A-KAT Murgh:
“Describing the sound of the two sharp blades that hit the griddle as they cut up the meat into very small pieces. The dish’s name is onomatopoeic.”
We also see a mixture of green ingredients, with chicken breasts, for the Hara Masala Murgh. Namely, the coriander, mint and green chillies, lime, spring onions and green bell peppers.
Combine those ingredients with some creamy Yoghurt, slathered over the skinless chicken breast fillets.
And add some salt and pepper for taste, some water to mix the texture.
Rich and strong, mix garlic and ginger pulp with the chicken.
But, remember, the Pakistani cuisine requires low heat, slow cooking!.
And, of course, the Pakistani garnishing. Heat some cherry Tomatoes and peeled Shallots. Once decorated intricately, over the chicken dish, serve with some lime quarters.
Vegetables & Daals
With the easy to follow healthy Maash Ki Daal, this section even covers a Pakistani Omelette!
Rice, Bread & Accompaniments
The aromatic smell of Pulao! Be it Subzee Ka Pulao or Chana Pulao Rice. Simply delicious!
For all those Paratha and Naan lovers, The Food and Cooking of Pakistan instructs you step-by-step on how to make them at home.
And, of course, you need some Chutney with your Aloo Paratha. How about the Podinay Aur Kairi Ki Chutney?.
Desserts & Drinks
The author covers an array of colourful sweet delights and drinks. Such as Aam Ki Kheer, and Gulaab Kay Sheeray Ki Lassi.
In addition, some of the more traditional servings include Shahi Tukray and Badam Sherbet.
And, dozens of more delectable recipes inside the Food and Cooking of Pakistan!
The author also tells us that, Pakistani food can be fused with other types of cuisines: “From Chinese to Thai to Lebanese.”
Along with these creative and inspirational combinations of flavours and ingredients, Shehzad also includes nutritional information. So, those who enjoy thoroughly researched and detailed cookbooks will appreciate her inclusive treatment. Garnished with valuable tips!
Shehzad Husain on The Food & Cooking of Pakistan
Shehzad Husain, who learned to cook from her Mother, describes the Pakistani cuisine as:
“Distinctive, Delicious, Delectable.”
Based on her experience as a teacher of Indian cookery, appearing on various cooking shows, and interestingly, providing guidance for first-class in-flight dining, Shehzad wanted to make a transition into writing for a very long time:
“Seemed like the natural progress,” she says.
Above all, she wanted to offer an emphasis on Pakistani home- cooking, as she felt there was:
“A dearth of Pakistani cookbooks.”
Yet, her love for food began with a desire to be creative.
So, what’s next for Shehzad Husain?:
“I am extremely interested in exploring new recipes and if the result is promising, I would like to compile these in a new book. Watch this space!” she says.
All in all, the Pakistani kitchen is juicy to look at and vibrantly fun to eat! This cookbook is an exceptional authentic snapshot into its culinary culture.
If you love Gol Gappay, Kebabs, or Haleem when eating out, but lack the skills to make it yourself, then this cookbook is perfect for you!
You can purchase The Food and Cooking of Pakistan: Traditional Dishes From The Home Kitchen by Shehzad Husain (HB, Lorenz Books, Dec-16, £14.99), on Amazon.