Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cooking chawal, old Hyderabad, Pakistan

Via Flickr:
Biryani is perhaps the single most popular dish in Sindh and Punjab provinces. Off course, the dish was popularized by people living in Delhi and Lucknow and who then immigrated to Pakistan on the eve of partition of British India in 1947. This man was checking for the right quality of rice, known as basmatti, for using in the cooking of a sumptuous biryani. They say that the best biryani is that of mutton. In fact, there used to certain cooks who refused to cook biryani using chicken!

Please also note one more thing here: Hindu Brahmins of past never ate or even touched meat or eggs. So it is highly unlikely that this man, if he had been here before 1947, would be cooking biryani or any other meat related dish. It is to these Urdu-speaking Mohajirs of India (Urdu speaking is a wide ranging term employed in Pakistan to encompass everyone from Delhi walla to Lucknow walla but not Gujratis) that the popularity of Biryani may be traced. Even today, after 60 years of partition, no other ethnic group can cook a better biryani than Hyderabadis or Delhi wallas. Some say Memons (from Gujarat province of India) also cook good biryani. Sindhis, the traditional inhabitants of this province - hence the name Sindh - are also not good cooks of this culinary delight.

[Now, Biryani is part of Pakistani culture along with Karhai ghosht. I mention this man and his deghs here because his business is now essential part of living in Heerabad area of Hyderabad, Pakistan.]

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