Bordered by Afghanistan and India, the food of Pakistan contains many delicious similarities to Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine.
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22 Mar 2018 - 8:50 AM  UPDATED 22 Mar 2018 - 3:05 PM

Be prepared for aromatic stews and saccharine sweets - we promise we'll bring the chai if we're invited!

1. Haleem

This recipe for haleem with beef and lentils is the ultimate slow-cooked wonder. It's full of gentle spices and warm comfort, and a Pakistani favourite. Haleem gets its lovely sticky consistency from constant stirring, so give yourself up to the hypnotic cooking and enjoy the aromas as you do.

Haleem

2. Roasted chilli yoghurt chicken (taj murgh musallam)

The yoghurt and chilli marinade tenderises your chicken and turns a regular roast dinner into a weekend feast for the family. Make sure to also make some spiced flatbread to serve on the side - we promise you won't regret it! 

3. Layered saffron rice and goat curry (bakra biryani)

This recipe for biryani is a marvellous creation of layers of perfectly cooked goat curry, beautiful rice and a fresh mix of tomato, herbs and chilli. This is a feast in its own right, but we recommend serving it with a chopped salad, called a cachumbar, containing tomato, red onion, lettuce and vinegar, and with a yoghurt raita containing mint and cumin.

4. Bun kabab

This one is for all you burger lovers out there. A typical sight on the streets of Karachi, in Pakistan’s south, are bustling stalls selling bun kabab which come alive at night after locals finish work and need a quick and spicy snack. There are many regional variations to this street food favourite, one of which is the addition of a fried egg or an omelette.

And of course, you gotta have dessert! 

5. Pakistani hot turmeric milk (haldi doodh)

The heady mix of warming spices (turmeric, cardamom, black pepper, ginger and clove) is comfort in a glass and a traditional home remedy for a cold or a sore throat.

Pakistani hot turmeric milk (haldi doodh)

6. Saffron and cashew bal mithai (caramelised cashew sweets with sugar nibs)

These eye-catching morsels are commonly found in Pakistani bakeries - rectangular toffee coloured sweets covered in sugar nibs. Traditionally, this is made with khoya (essentially, thickened milk, cooked down for hours to resemble dulce de leche) is cooked down with cane sugar until it turns brown,  and this is then colloquially called ‘chocolate’ even though there isn’t any cocoa in it! If you don't have Khoya on hand, use condensed milk with ground cashews, which you can cook until brown.

7. Shakarkandi ki kheer (sweet potato pudding with rice flour and spices)

Thick, creamy and subtle, this kheer made with grated sweet potato and rice flour is total comfort food. Cold Lahori winter trips would include a freshly made bowl of shakarkandi ki kheer - usually made by someone's aunt. Traditionally it is eaten cold, you can try this version warm as well! 

8. Falooda

This dish is also made in Iran and India, however, this recipe is inspired by the version made in Pakistan. Noodles in a dessert with rose syrup and kulfi, an evaporated milk ice cream.

9. Badami zafran halva ladoo (ground almond and saffron balls)

You can’t escape ladoos of any kind in Pakistan, be it semolina, chickpea flour or wheat. Many bakeries in Pakistan have a mithai (sweetmeat) corner as Pakistanis and their sweet tooth wouldn’t go far without a ladoo. This recipe also uses Khoya as a base - so we suggest making an extra big batch if you're intending on producing a few different Pakistani sweets! 

Badami zafran halva ladoo

Tonka's carrot halwa (gajar ka halwa)

Gajar ka halwa is a traditional Indian dessert meaning “pudding of carrot”. In Northern India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, it’s eaten mainly during festival celebrations such as Diwali.

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