Co-Existing With Differences
Today we live in a world united and polarized at the same time. Where globalization unites us, there the differences in skin color, creed, nationality and religion erect unseen barriers. Amidst the grey clouds of disparity, the sane and lovely exist who promote the co-existence of cultures and find great common grounds to enjoy each others cultural festivities. There is no better common ground than food including the seeming exotic and not to mention the festive foods. You are invited to try a Pakistani dish this holiday! Whether as one of your main courses or dessert – bring the taste of a different part of our world to your celebratory table.
This is not an outlandish invitation as various cultures live side by side in North America, each with its own traditional identity in cuisine. With Christmas Day drawing near there is not a better occasion to attempt a cultural blend of cuisine. Embracing our differences as we create a worldwide community, here are some amazing dishes from Pakistan for the Christmas tables of my friends around the world who are readers of this blog.
Try A Pakistani Dish For Christmas
An all round healthy addition to your Christmas table is this sumptuous three-course traditional Pakistani meal comprising protein, vegetables and a dessert. Try one, two or all three of these dishes:
Nihari (The Protein Wonder)
Nihari is a spicy meat Pakistani dish with watery stew and is made from all kinds of meat such as chicken, beef and mutton. Famous for being served in the early morning, as Nihari is derived from the word “Nahaar” referring to the early morning hours (in Urdu language), this dish is had with Naans (wheat bread cooked on flat pans or baked in an oven).
Dating back to the Mughal’s reign (in the area of Lucknow), this dish was exclusively prepared for special guests who made their way to the courts of the kings and the royal advisories. Today, this dish is popular and still eaten in the morning. It is a full meal to satisfy your craving for a hot steaming and spicy experience. What makes it a healthy choice is that the basic ingredient, including red meat, makes for a good intake of protein and Vitamin B coupled with iron and phosphorus. The spices improve the flow of blood and make digestion smoother.
Interested, tempted? Well here is how to cook Nihari.
Bhagaray Baingan (The Veggie Delight)
For those who are vegetarians, here is a Pakistani dish option for you. Bhagaray Baingan is a vegetarian delight, consisting of stuffed eggplants that are stewed in a concoction of tasty spices such as ginger, chilies and garlic.
Like Nihari, this dish has its root in the noble houses of the Mughals where it was specially prepared by cooks for the royalties and their guests who did not consider vegetables to be any less in taste than meat. Reports have it that due to the shortage of cooking items when the castles were under siege, the cooks had no choice but to use the vegetation scattered around it. That is how they stumbled upon eggplants.
The health benefit of this Pakistani dish are the antioxidants and fiber that it packs. With a decent amount of Vitamins B-6 and Vitamin C, coupled with flavonoids, Bhagaray Baingan is a tasty way to help lower the risks of heart seizures and increasing the general wellness.
Here is how to make Bhagaray Baingan.
Shaahi Tukray (The Royal Dessert)
No matter how full your stomach is, you will not be able to resist this dessert. And who would, if the dessert is made of Desi Ghee (organic oil) and margarine mixed with bread crumbs boiled in skimmed milk and molten sugar? The creamy soft texture of the bread that dissolves in your mouth leaves behind a lingering taste of sweet butter, literally called “Royal Morsels” or Shaahi Tukray.
The sweet and creamy dessert made its way to the Indian sub continent with the advent of the British with their bread pudding. With the addition of traditional ingredients, the dish became even more delicious and sought after. Legend has it that this Pakistani dish was created as a gift from one King to another. The main ingredient – milk and eggs – might makes this dish very healthy with the bone strengthening qualities of the milk that also helps to fights dehydration and is a ready source of calcium. Saffron and cinnamon are also a part of this dish and contribute to greater skin health and cell reformation in the body.
If this sounds like the perfect addition to your Christmas dessert bugget, here is how you can make Shaahi Tukray.
Neelma Tashfeen was born and raised in Pakistan and is our main Contributor from that region of our world. She brings a different flavour to the banquet here and writes on many areas of women empowerment and societal issues in Pakistan. Neelma has shared with readers stories of the lives of women in her country. Her most recent article was “Raising Children in Pakistan Today” and was one of the Contributors to our series on prostitution with her articles: “Prostitution in Pakistan: The Stories” and “Pakistan Taboo: Palace or Prison?” She can be contacted at email@example.com
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