Pakistani Cuisine: Eating Habits Of Pakistanis
Pakistanis generally eat three meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. During the evening, many families have green tea without sugar which goes along with baked/fried snacks from local bakery (or prepared at home). During the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, the eating patterns change to: sehri and iftar. It is considered proper to eat only with the right hand as per Islamic tradition (also a tradition in many other Asian cultures). Many Pakistani families, particularly in rural areas, eat their meals served on a cloth known as dastarkhan which is spread out on the floor. In NWFP, many street eateries serve food on a takht, in a style similar to Iran & Afghanistan. A takht is raised platform on which people eat their food sitting cross-legged, after taking their shoes off. More affluent Pakistanis will eat at a table, as is tradition in Western culture. Pakistanis often eat with their hands, often scooping up solid food along with sauce with a piece of the baked bread, naan.
A typical Pakistani breakfast, locally called nashta , consists of eggs (boiled/scrambled/fried/omelette), a slice of loaf bread or roti, parathas, sheermal with tea or lassi, qeema (minced meat), fresh seasonal fruits (mangoes, apples, melons, bananas etc.), milk, honey, butter, jam, shami kebab, and nuts. Sometimes breakfast includes baked goods like bakarkhani and rusks. During holidays and weekends, halwa poori and chick peas are sometimes eaten. In Punjab, sarson ka saag (mustard leaves) and maaki ki roti (cornbread) is a local favourite. Punjabi people also enjoy khatchapuri, a savory pastry filled with cheese. In Karachi, breakfast might even include nihari, paya and Naan.
A typical Pakistani lunch consists of meat curries or lentils along with rice. Breads such as roti or naan are usually served for dinner but have become common during the day so that rice maybe served for dinner. Popular lunch dishes may include aloo gosht (meat and potato curry) or any vegetable with mutton. Chicken dishes like chicken karahi and chicken korma are also popular. Alternatively, roadside food stalls often sell just lentils and tandoori roti, or masala stews with chapatis. People who live near the main rivers also eat fish for lunch, which is sometimes cooked in the tandoori style.
Dinner is considered the main meal of the day as the whole family gathers for the occasion. Food which requires more preparation and which is more savoury (such as pulao, kofte, kebabs, qeema, korma) are prepared. Lentils are also a dinnertime staple. These are served with roti or naan along with yoghurt, pickle and salad. The dinner may sometimes be followed by fresh fruit, or traditional desserts like kheer, gulab jamun, shahi tukray, gajraila, qulfi or ras malai.
Pakistani snacks comprise food items in Pakistan that are quick to prepare, spicy, usually fried, and eaten in the evening or morning with tea or with any one of the meals as a side-dish. A given snack may be part of a local culture, and its preparation and/or popularity can vary from place to place. These snacks are often prepared and sold by hawkers on footpaths, railway station and other such places, although they may also be served at restaurants. Some typical snacks are bhala, chaat, chana masala, pakora, and papadum. Others include khatchapuri, pakoras-either neem pakoras, basin pakoras, or chicken pakoras, samosas—vegetable or beef, and egg rolls. Nuts, such as pistachios and pine nuts, are also often eaten at the home.