While on the field it’s the cricket rivalry that drives both India and Pakistan crazy, it is food that brings them together. While India has various vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies that are a gastronomic delight, Pakistani food culture thrives on meat-based dishes.
“On my numerous visits to Pakistan, I’ve observed that many dishes are common and why shouldn’t they be? Just until seven decades ago, Pakistan was a part of undivided India,” Sumit Paul, advanced research scholar of Semitic languages, civilisations and religions, who writes extensively on food and religion, tells indianexpress.com.
Historically, people of both India and Pakistan are known to be food connoisseurs who take immense pride in their cuisines.
“Food, like music, has no country or religion. The ethos, especially, the culinary ethos, of both the countries are same. What’s tried, tasted and appreciated here is also appreciated in our neighbouring country and vice versa,” adds Paul.
To celebrate the India-Pakistan match at Trafford Stadium, Manchester today, we bring you a list of delicious dishes that are common to both countries and are loved by people equally on both sides of the border.
Parantha and Saag
Interestingly, Indian Punjabi food has strong similarities to Pakistani food, and there are some overlaps of flavour and taste. Delicacies like Parathas and Sarson ka Saag are regularly enjoyed on both sides of the border. So are Mughlai Paranthas.
“Though I’m a hardcore vegetarian, I dare say that the famed Mughalai Parantha of the subcontinent can be had only in two places: Kolkata and Lahore. And when it comes to vegetarian fare, there are so many similarities,” says Paul.
Dosa and Upma
Notably, Dosa and Upma are made by Malayali Muslims in Chitral, Pakistan. They migrated to Pakistan from Kerala after the Partition. “The Madrasi Para behind the Jinnah Post Graduate Centre in Karachi is home to some 100 Tamil Hindu families, who still speak impeccable Tamil along with Urdu, Punjabi and Sindhi”, says Paul.
While Pulao in India is vegetarian, in Pakistan, it is prepared in meat broth (traditionally mutton but chicken too). Meat plays a key role in Pakistani and Afghani cuisine. Vegetables and lentils, which are hugely popular in India, are only kept as side dishes or as generic home meals there.
This famous golden triangle has been immortalised by Indian and Pakistani shops across the world. Traditionally stuffed with spice-laden minced meat or potatoes and deep fried, this crispy snack is meant for dunking in yogurt or coriander sauces and then relishing it.
Dum Aloo and Chole Bhature
Pakistan has its Dum Aloo Peshawari (often garnished with the slices of boiled eggs) and also the most authentic Dum Aloo Banarasi. “I had it at an insignificant eatery near Faisalabad (erstwhile Layalpur) cricket stadium in Pakistan and at the canteen of Islamabad University. I had it with masala poori, a cross between maide ki poori and kachori,” recollects Paul.
Sialkot (birthplace of Allama Iqbal) and Rahim Yaar Khan in Pakistan’s Punjab province are famous for Chole-Bhature – there they serve it with spiced yoghurt or dahi-bade.
The pinnacle of versatile street and restaurant food is the immortal Chicken Tikka. From drive-in food stops to roadside dining and wedding catering, this barbecued spicy chicken, popular in India, is Pakistan’s go-to dish as well. It is also popular in Afghanistan, though the Afghan variant (like many other Persian, Turkish, and Arab dishes) is less spicy compared to the variants in the Indian subcontinent and uses beef and lamb in addition to chicken.
Like Indian street food, Pakistan is known for its variety of street foods including Bun Kebabs which are a softer version of a Burger Patty. The kebabs sandwiched within these seared buns are either meat or potato-based or more commonly made of ground lentils, powdered cumin seeds and omelette. Condiments on the side include onions, chutney and ketchup.
Faluda is a classic choice to beat the sweltering heat in both the countries. Made from mixing rose syrup, vermicelli, sweet basil seeds and jelly with milk, it’s sometimes served with ice-cream.
Kulfi can best be summed as a version of popsicles, with less emphasis on cream and more on flavours like mango, pistachio and almonds. A refreshing end to a heavy meal, you can find them in street stalls, grocery stores or even at the friendly neighbourhood mobile ice cream seller cart.