Lahore's cuisine is a fascinating blend of rich Punjabi and Mughal flavours, known for its hearty, aromatic dishes that delight the palate. Here are some dishes you should know.
Pakistani cuisine is one that offers many delights that Indian foodies would find both familiar and comforting. Our shared history pre-partition means that a lot of the cuisine has similar roots to our North Indian fare but over the years, it’s developed a unique identity of its own.
Karachi and Lahore stand as the primary culinary hubs, each fostering a friendly but fervent rivalry encompassing food, culture, and fashion. The diverse flavours and cuisine of these cities are a testament to the unique local influences that have shaped their culinary delights.
Karachi is home to a rich tapestry of communities, embracing local Sindhis, Memons, and immigrants hailing from Hyderabad, Delhi, Bhopal, and other regions of North West India. These immigrants brought their distinctive culinary traditions during the partition, which intermingled with local Sindhi fare, giving birth to the iconic Karachi flavour. In contrast, Lahore emerges as a prominent culinary hub, offering a broad spectrum of Pakistani cuisines alongside its abundant array of Punjabi and Mughal dishes.
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If you want to explore the vibrant cuisine of Lahore, here are 8 must-try dishes.
Often called as Lahore’s answer to Haleem, Hareesa, originating from Kashmir, is a jewel of Lahori culinary tradition and is usually eaten during winter since it’s rich, hearty and nourishing. This dish combines shredded meat (usually mutton) with grain flour and ghee, resulting in a delectable blend.
This culinary delight involves deep-frying an entire chicken, which has been marinated in an array of distinctive spices, ginger, garlic, lime juice, vinegar, and often yoghurt. The chicken is seasoned before frying and left to marinate in the refrigerator overnight and is then fried to crisp perfection.
For a rich Lahori curry, Mutton Karahi is the perfect choice. This rich and savoury dish is prepared with a thick tomato and onion gravy. It pairs perfectly with buttery naan or parathas. Among the various renowned Karahi dishes from Lahore, the Mutton Karahi is a definite must-try.
Among the many street foods of Lahore that you need to sample, Lahori Channay is an unmissable one. It is prepared by cooking chickpeas with either chicken (Murgh Channay) or mutton (Gosht Channay). This delectable dish is seasoned with a blend of spices, with black pepper playing a pivotal role in enhancing its exceptional flavour.
Lahori Taka Tak, also known as Kata Kat, is a renowned street food in Lahore. It boasts a medley of minced mutton, boiled eggs, chives, and onions. This finger-licking delicacy is a must-try for everyone and pairs well with various types of roti or naan.
Lahori Dahi Bhallay enjoys a place of pride among Lahore’s street food offerings and consists of a harmonious blend of spices, potatoes, Bhallay (fried lentil dumplings), and lentils. These crispy delights are adorned with papri, luscious chutney (sauce), and chaat masala. A plate of Lahori Dahi Bhalla can work wonders on your mood and even provide relief for stomach acidity.
The quintessential Lahori breakfast which many locals start their day with is this hearty meal. It comprises deep-fried flatbread (puri) served alongside sweet semolina pudding (halwa) and spicy chickpea curry (chana). Sadiq Halwa Puri is a renowned establishment for this delightful dish. The puri is crispy and flaky, the halwa is sweet and velvety, and the chana offers a unique blend of tangy and spicy flavours.
Sajji, originally from Balochistan, has become an integral part of Lahore's culinary landscape. This dish features roasted chicken or lamb marinated with salt and spices, then cooked over charcoal or wood fire. It is typically served with rice or bread and a side salad.