A Beginner’s Guide To Pakistani Cuisine: 5 Dishes To Try
Image Credit: Instagram/damodaar_seth. Also known as ‘Peshawari kebab’, chapli kebab is essentially a hand-formed, deep-fat-fried meat patty.

If Indian cuisine is rich and varied, Pakistani cuisine isn’t far behind. The country is the birthplace of many tasty dishes, all of which have been created to suit the geography and climate of a particular region. Most dishes use a generous amount of ghee and spices. Meat takes centre stage in most dishes and contributes to making them warming and comforting. Here are five Pakistani dishes you must try:

Chapli kebab

Also known as ‘Peshawari kebab’, chapli kebab is essentially a hand-formed, deep-fat-fried meat patty. It is usually made with buffalo meat. To make chapli kebab, minced meat is kneaded with dried spices, onions and coriander. Some versions even use tomato but the dominant flavours include cumin, black pepper and hints on cardamom. The dish can be found at street food stalls across Pakistan. 


‘Chap’ means meat and ‘shoro’ means bread. The dish is native to the Hunza Valley in Gilgit, Baltistan (Northern Pakistan) and is often made with yak meat. Chapshoro is made up of bread filled with a mixture of minced meat, spices and herbs. Local varieties of wheat are used for making the dish and vary with region. Chapshoro is cooked on a large convex steel/iron plate, and is the perfect snack for when it’s cold. 


Image credit: Instagram/binayak2512


Dowdo is a thick, creamy soup that uses wheat noodles and mustard greens. Sometimes, carrots and slices of potato are also added to this comfort food that is often enjoyed on cold days. It is a traditional dish of the Gilgit-Baltistan Province in Pakistan. Some special versions of dowdo include ‘maltash’, a type of sour and hard homemade cheese. The thick broth and noodles make it the ideal, nourishing meal for those who go mountain climbing.


Also called go-lee, gyal is a hearty savoury dish made using fine flour of red or brown buckwheat. It is like a pancake, which is fried on a black iron flat plate using apricot seed oil. Different families use different ingredients in making the dish, from apricot oil to yak butter and walnuts to almond paste. The common thread among gyal made in different households is that the ingredients used are always locally sourced and organic.


Sajji can be made with different types of meat, but usually uses chicken. Roadside stalls in Pakistan display sajji on large skewers to attract customers. It is cooked over charcoal and hence has a characteristic smoky flavour. The dish uses few spices so that the flavour of the meat comes through. It is served with hot rotis straight out of the tandoor.