Min Chia a.k.a. The Kitchen Police
Eid al-Fitr (or as we call it, Hari Raya Aidilfitri) marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. In Pakistan, Eid is widely celebrated too, so we thought it would be interesting to learn more about their traditions & cultures from our newest chef in Picha – Farhana!
Farhana is our latest Picha Chef on the team and she came from Faisalabad, Pakistan.
We asked Farhana what makes Eid special back home.. and she talked about shopping! It is not unusual for everyone to wear new dresses for the celebration. Like in Malaysia, shopping is ever more popular throughout the month of Ramadan! The bazaars and malls are decorated to welcome Eid shoppers and special sale prices are offered on garments and shoes.
But of course, Eid is incomplete without FOOOOD. What we found pretty unique though is that in Pakistan during Eid, everyone is encouraged to eat all the things we usually think are too rich, too sweet, too creamy for a normal meal. Example of Pakistani dishes are: fluffy pineapple layer cake; fried-meat-filled samosas; and seviyan (toasted thin wheat noodles, also called semiyan, sev or semiya) topped with khoya, a creamy mass of cooked and caramelized milk.
(Photo credit: pkspice.com)
(Photo credits: immaculate bites)
(Photo credit: lovelaughmirch.com)
The whole day is dedicated to rejoicing in having food on the table!
I remember the first time I went for a food tasting session at her house and I was greeted with plates after plates of Pakistani curries. Initially I thought these curry dishes would taste pretty similar to our Malaysian curries.
But after I had my first taste of the Pakistani curry, I had to gulp down glasses after glasses of water! As a person who claimed to have higher tolerance to spicy food, I surrender to Pakistani curries but.. Just keep calm and curry on right? Only then we realized how distinct our Malaysian dishes are compared to theirs; despite having similar look. I also learnt that while coconut milk is commonly used in cooking Malaysian curry dishes, Pakistani dishes uses more yogurt instead to get the same effect- thickening the curry.
One thing we found in common was when we asked Farhana what is her favourite Eid recipe… and it is none other than Briyani! I mean, you can’t go wrong with a classic biryani! Meat, rice and spice all come together harmoniously in one plate. Actually Chicken Biryani isn’t typical in Pakistan, but during Eid, you will find all types of meats mixed with Biryani! What gives the flavour “kick” in this chicken biryani are ginger, garlic, cumin seeds, cinnamon, black cardamom pods and bay leaves.
(Photo credit: Kfoods.com)
She also mentioned one of dishes that has always been a crowd favorite during Eid is Pakistani Samosa! Samosas are fillings packed with flavours and what makes it special is adding cumin into the dough of the samosa wrapper. The potatoes is neither too mushy nor chunky and has a right ratio to the chicken. Aromatic with the spices used,yet not too spicy, samo(sa), who would have forgotten the crunch when you bite into it!
Photo Credit: @theviskitchen
Raita is also a must have on every meal. As Pakistani dishes uses a heavy amount of spices, wrapping up the meal with Raita salad helps to cool down the body. If there has to be a rait(a) way to celebrate Eid, we believe it is always great food!
And that is how Eid is celebrated in Pakistan! Although there are some differences in Pakistani meals & cooking techniques but just like us, the culture of being together with friends and families to have a feast on celebration day is a must on Eid.
But if you’ve been wanting to try Pakistani dishes… guess what, we’ve just launched a Pakistani Lightbites Menu from Chef Farhana! Time to impress your guests with a new menu here , and let us know what other Pakistani dishes you would like to try!