#20 Date selected: 20/3/16 Date completed: 22/3/16
Country selected: Pakistan
Dining Selection: Cooked Own
What was on the menu:
- Dum Ki Murgh Curry
- Chapati Roti
- Cabbage Salad Pakistani Style (Phool Gobhi Salad)
- Rose Lasi
Sunday 20th March 2016, 9.37pm
I have to admit that I’m a bit excited about having Pakistan as my next challenge! Whilst I can’t be certain if I have tried Pakistani food before, I am familiar with the style of cuisine and am looking forward to trying some.
Pakistan is located in Southern Asia, between Afghanistan and India. It is the only nation in the Muslim world to be declared nuclear-weapons state and the second in South Asia. Whilst poverty has remained one of the countries ongoing issues, it has made substantial progress in reducing the situation and now has the second lowest headcount poverty rate in South Asia.
Despite sharing borders, the relationship between Pakistan and India are strained to say the least. The two nations have had several large-scale conventional wars and the most northwesterly region of South Asia, named Kashmir, is the subject of a territorial dispute which hiders relations between them.
Five of the fourteen mountain peaks in the world above 8,000 metres can be found in Pakistan, including K2, the second highest mountain on earth. The landscapes change throughout the country however and both the geography and climate are extremely diverse.
Whilst sharing similarities with other regions of South Asian in terms of cuisine, Pakistan has a greater variety of meat dishes. These have their roots in British, Middle Eastern and Central Asian cuisine. Large quantities of herbs, spices and seasoning are used with garlic, ginger, turmeric, red chilli and garam masala being used in most dishes. Curries are very common and rice and chapatti often accompany them.
Wednesday 23rd March 2016, 1.34pm
There was so many recipe choices for this challenge I didn’t quite know where to begin! I haven’t made much in the way of curry dishes so far so I decided that one really should be on the menu. The problem was choosing which. There is an astounding amount of recipes online and it was difficult to choose between them.
In the end I settled on Dum Ki Murgh Curry – a chicken curry that I was drawn to because it included an array of spices, seeds and nuts that intrigued me.
The sheer number of ingredients were a little daunting but the dish was surprisingly easy to make. There was a bit of grinding to pulverise the cashew nuts, coconut, poppy and sesame seeds and also to make a ginger and garlic paste from scratch. Then it was simply a case of throwing most of the ingredients into a bowl and marinating for several hours, throwing the marinated meat into a covered pot to cook on the stove top. You add some coriander and mint half way through cooking and then it’s done – too easy!
I’ve always been a fan of yoghurt/nut-based curries and really enjoyed this one. The chicken was tender and practically fell apart on the fork (I used chicken thighs and kept them whole when cooking). The curry itself was creamy with heaps of flavour and just the right amount of heat from the chilli. Delicious!
The sauce is quite thin and I can see why they suggest serving it with rice. My boyfriend (who shared this meal with me) debated whether or not to cook up some rice when I was making it but we decided that we probably had plenty already so decided against it. I kind of wish we had as it would have been a perfect way to mop up the juices.
Instead I made Chapati Roti, partly because I knew it was extremely popular in Pakistan and partly because I was interested to see how I’d go with it. I can report it wasn’t a complete train wreck so better than expected!
I halve most of the recipes I try for the simple reason that I’m usually only cooking for one or two people. I wish I had made the full quantities for this one though as it only ended up making 4. It took me a while to work out the right temperature of the pan and the amount of time for each chapati to puff up. The first couple were only so so (I actually ended up putting them back on the heat for a bit later on. Each one improved slightly each time however and, whilst I don’t think they quite got to the standard of someone who cooks them regularly, I think I got them to a reasonable standard. I think with a few more tries I could have improved them even more.
As the curry didn’t include much in the way of vegetables, I decided to do a side salad to go with the meal. I settled on a Pakistani style cabbage salad called Phool Gobhi Salad which is very similar to a coleslaw. Instead of a mayonnaise dressing, it’s really just dressed with peanut oil and a bit of lemon juice though there are roasted peanuts, chilli and coriander leaves added to the vegetable mix.
The end result is a very fresh salad which wasn’t quite as chock full of flavour as I had expected. It complimented the curry well however and was a good choice of accompaniment I think.
Finally, I made myself a Rose Lassi which is a yoghurt-based drink. I grew up with a neighbour whose parents had immigrated from India and she used to make us Lassis occasionally for us. I LOVE lassis during summer and they’re great to have with spicy foods. Kind of like a milkshake but not as sweet.
There’s a huge range of different flavoured lassis you can make (mango being particularly popular), though I’ve always loved the subtlety of the rose lassi. It’s easy to make – basically throw everything into the blender and mix away! So yummy!
I’d definitely try these dishes again and would be keen to try some more Pakistani dishes.
But first, it’s time to pick another challenge……