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False ME244 Pakistani Cuisine Written and edited by: Genevieve Makris, Melissa Jan, Isha Mehmood, and Ali Sheikh Pakistan’s cuisine predates its political independence by hundreds of years and throughout time it’s taken on the culinary aspects of the many rulers that have passed over its soil. It is an eclectic blend of Turkish, Greek, Afghan and Indian flavors which culminates in a distinctive aroma personalizing basic, yet wholesome and earthy ingredients. The substantial base of many dishes is either rice, lentils or wheat; however they are heavily seasoned with an enticing blend of herbs and spices such as coriander, curry, cumin and powdered mustard. The mélange of flavors transforms the ingredients from their natural state into harmony on a plate. Muhammad Afzal carries on his culture at his two restaurants in Arlington; both named “ Ravi Kabob House.” The small carry- out shops are packed at lunch with diners taking in a quick kabob or Lassi. Mr. Afzal takes pride in using rare Indian and Pakistani Basmati rice to maintain authentic flavoring. Dishes are also served with Tandoori bread, or Naan as it also known, and his renowned chickpeas. What makes Pakistani food unique is not the ingredients, but rather how they are used. Here one finds jalapeños alongside garlic and cilantro roasted beef kabobs. A unique dish to Pakistan, Mr. Afzal explains how Karahi is named after the traditional clay bowl in which it is cooked and served. Olive oil, fresh ginger, cilantro and black pepper unite east and west in this age old dish. Mr. Afzal also notes that Lassi, a popular yogurt- like drink, is unique to Pakistan’s social classes. While the older generation orders a very salty flavor, the young generation enjoys sweet and mango flavors. Yogurt is not just for dessert; it is also mixed with hot spices like chili powder, such in Champ Tandoori lamb kabobs. As diverse as its landscape, there are many different methods for preparing dishes from the four provinces. The kabob, an international staple, takes on many flavors, but when chicken, lamb and beef are prepared in Gujranwala and Peshaweri styles they are distinctly Pakistani. While regional dishes vary, overall the cuisine demonstrates a healthy balance, including strong vegetables like potatoes, onions, bell peppers and okra to counter balance the heavy starches and seasoned meats. There is a great amount of pride and respect in food, as it tells the peoples’ history. As a Muslim state, Islam plays a major role in shaping cuisine; all meat is “ halal,” and neither pork nor alcohol is found on the menu. The lavishness of the Mogul Empire also extended into the culinary realm, evolving into fruit Sharbat and Lahori- style cooking. As in many cultures tea is an integral part of the meal and everyday life, representative of social bonding and status. For a relatively young country, the culinary traditions run deep and Pakistani cuisine today mirrors the country’s diverse and spicy history.

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