Throughout the ages, Pakistani food and cuisine has been vastly influenced by various places. One of the earliest influences connects way back to the Aryans and the Indus Valley Civilization, where people grew varieties of spices, like cardamom.
However, the arrival of Islam religion to the region greatly influenced Pakistani food and cuisine. As a Muslim-majority nation, the food and cuisine follows the religious food and dietary guidelines (Halal). Thus, you’ll not find forbidden (Haraam) food ingredients, like pork and alcohol.
Apart from this, the flavors and ingredients of the Pakistani food and cuisine trace their roots back to the majestic Mughal dynasty. The signature spiciness and the savory flavors of Pakistani foods have all originated from that time.
Main Components of Pakistani Food and Cuisine
Although Pakistani food and cuisines use a diversity of food ingredients, some form the essence of the Pakistani dishes. Below are some of the major components of Pakistani food.
is a staple pantry food item in almost all the Pakistani households. Primarily, it is due to the fact that Pakistanis consume roti/pita bread a lot, which is prepared from wheat flour. Every Pakistani meal remains incomplete soft, steaming hot roti. There are different types of roti, including naan & Chapati.
Rice is the key ingredient of Biryani and Pulao, which are the two of the most food dishes of Pakistan. Additionally, plain boiled rice gets served with lentils & Daal. Apart from this, fresh rice gets used to make a famous traditional dessert known as Kheer.
Pakistan is basically an agro-based country, which accounts for the several types of lentils available. People make lentils daily at lunch as it requires minimal preparation time and it is protein-rich.
Perhaps, potato plays a vital role in Pakistani street food culture. From fries to Aloo ka Samosa, the famous potato seems to be everywhere in almost every dish!
Turmeric, Black pepper, and Chat Masala are a few spices used in Pakistani food and cuisine. Every single Pakistani meal has at least five to six styles of spices. It’s the heavy usage of spices that gives Pakistani food and cuisine its unique food culture.
Popular Food Dishes of Pakistan
Some popular Pakistani food dishes are:
Chapli Kebab or Peshawari Kebab: translates to “of the city of Peshawar.” Traditional to Peshawar city, this kebab is prepared with ground beef & spices.
Usually served with garnishes like fresh parsley, diced tomatoes, & the onions, it is a famous street food and a side dish at the dinner. At festive occasions, pulao (salty rice) is often the star of the meal.
A one-pot food dish of spiced rice, vegetables like carrots and peas, and with animal protein like mutton or chicken, this dish served hot with a side dish called raita (yogurt sauce). Biryani is another meat, vegetable, & rice dish that is usually served on festive occasions.
Unlike the famous pulao, for Biryani the food components are cooked separately in a pot to a semi-done state.
Rice is par-boiled, the vegetables are steamed, & meat is sauteed, and then the food components are layered in a cooking pot and steamed until it is fully cooked.
It is served topped with roasted nuts (such as cashews, slivers of almonds), dried fruits (such as raisins, apricots, etc.), & fried onions.