Pakistani cookbook
December 30, 2010 2:06 AM   Subscribe

Recommend a Pakistani cookbook.

I know there are many desi recipe sites on the internet but I would like a compendium of recipes that have been tested to work well in the home kitchen. I want to make popular Pakistani dishes like haleem, nihari, kebabs, rice dishes and breads.
posted by rxrfrx to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have heard good things about Food Path, which follows the Grand Truck Road through Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. One of the authors is from Peshawar. I've never used it, though.

The Dalda Dastarkhwan is the only cookbook I've ever seen mentioned in Pakistan. I see from the website it is published in both English and Urdu. Again, I have never used it. Everyone I know just asks mother and then, through trial and error, fills in the steps Ammi forgot to mention because it was obvious to her.
posted by tavegyl at 2:45 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yeah, I'll second tavegyl's comment on Dalda ka Dastarkhwan, which certainly is targeting the home kitchen. I also have not used it. Salma's Signature, published by Ferozsons, is one from which I have followed some recipes, to great success, but I don't know if it has nihari and haleem in it (the recipes I followed were from pages photocopied from the book).

The thing with all the dishes you have mentioned is that people make them very differently, so the recipes can vary considerably. Therefore, I have heard just as many people criticising the Dalda book as I have heard praising it. If you already have a sense of "what nihari is supposed to taste like" then the cookbook solution may not work at all for you. On the other hand, if you have no preconceived notion of what these foods should taste like, the Dalda book or the Salma book are probably good starting points.

As tavegyl notes above, Pakistani recipes are still very much passed on by word of mouth for the most part. I keep telling my mom she should publish her recipes.
posted by bardophile at 4:20 AM on December 30, 2010

If she does, and you need a recipe tester, I would be glad to help. :)
posted by allelopath at 9:00 AM on December 30, 2010

Response by poster: I have an idea of how these dishes are supposed to taste, but only from restaurants. I don't have any friends whose family members can teach me.
posted by rxrfrx at 11:04 AM on December 30, 2010

I don't have any friends whose family members can teach me.

Well, I guess it depends on whether you consider mefites friends or not. Feel free to memail. My mom is even visiting for a couple of months.
posted by bardophile at 3:00 AM on December 31, 2010

Best answer: Bear in mind that many of the dishes you've mentioned are special occasion cooking rather than day to day. Grilled kebabs, naan, etc are almost always eaten out or as take out.

That said, if you want a quick haleem fix before you get the proper recipes down, I strongly recommend Shan's Shahi Haleem mix, and say this as one who would normally rather shoot herself in the head than use a mix.

I use it to make beef haleem in my Dutch oven, because you can buy it with all the lentils and whole grains already measured out, thus saving a lot of hassle. (You can also buy it without the grains, which is no use to me.) The spice blend is very good. I always add a couple of browned onions in the cooking stage, though the recipe omits it. I also add a cup of chana daal to the grain mix and soak it all overnight. It make enough for about 10 people and freezes beautifully.

bardophile, I also volunteer myself as a recipe tester as one whose love for desi food far outstrips her abilities.
posted by tavegyl at 4:28 AM on December 31, 2010

Best answer: Oh, if you're going to go with the Shan haleem mix, then I would recommend using 1/2 to 2/3 of the spice mix. If you're getting the mix without the grains, you could alternatively just increase the quantities of grain, meat, etc. 1.5X or 2X. I think tavegyl's addition of extra chana daal achieves the same end.
posted by bardophile at 1:54 PM on December 31, 2010

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