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Lesson Transcript

Eric: Hi everyone and welcome back to All About Urdu, lesson 7, The Top Five Pakistani Dishes. This time, we’ll be talking about Pakistani cuisine. Pakistanis really love their food. The world of Pakistani cuisine is absolutely huge.
Afrah: It really is. It’s hard to summarize Pakistani cuisine in just one lesson.
Eric: And I think when most people think of Pakistani food, they have an image that they just can’t shake.
Afrah: Curry and naan?
Eric: Yeah! What most people know probably begins and ends with curry and naan, but there is so much more to Pakistani food. We’ll give you lots of examples in this lesson.
Afrah: So maybe you shouldn’t listen to this on an empty stomach. Where will we start, Eric?

Lesson focus

Eric: Well, why don’t we start by talking about table etiquette?
Afrah: Sure thing, Eric. Traditionally, meals are eaten while seated, either on the floor or on very low stools or cushions.
Eric: Right. Food is most often eaten without cutlery, using the fingers of your right hand instead.
Afrah: Very often roti, which is the flat Pakistani bread, is used to scoop the curry so the curry doesn’t touch the hands.
Eric: Isn’t that clever?
Afrah: Other etiquette includes eating with only one hand, preferably the right hand, and letting the food get only between your fingers.
Eric: Oh, I see!
Afrah: Hey Eric, I’ve got a great list of top 5 foods you must try when you go to Pakistan.
Eric: Who chose them?
Afrah: Well, I just asked my friends and my husband’s colleagues. So it’s not based on official research or anything, but it’s not just my opinion!
Eric: So basically, these are the foods we think the listeners should try. What’s the first food on the list?
Afrah: Chaat.
Eric: Now, chaat almost doesn’t need an introduction, but we'll explain it anyway.
Afrah: Chaat is the most popular South Pakistani snack. It’s a general term used for spicy snacks like panipuri golgappay, dahi baray, and many more. These are mostly prepared by mixing puffed rice, chips made from flour, vegetables, mint and coriander sauce, and other spices.
Eric: I’ve heard that vendors literally crowd the streets selling all kinds of delicious varieties of chaat in that part of the country.
Afrah: Yes, chaat parties are also very popular and are a great alternative to a sit-down dinner.
Eric: Wow! I want to try chaat now!
Afrah: You should! Now for the second dish on the list.
Eric: It’s Malai Kofta.
Afrah: Malai Kofta is meat balls in a thick sauce. It goes very well with naan, which are like tandoor-baked flat breads, or zeera rice.
Eric: Sounds delicious. And our next food is….
Afrah: Next is chargha.
Eric: The name of the dish comes from the Afghani tradition and language.
Afrah: That’s correct. The color comes from the green chillies and tomatoes that are used to prepare it.
Eric: Afrah, the name sounds quite fiery.
Afrah: That’s true, but the heat can be toned down by adding rice or eating it with naan.
Eric: Interesting.
Afrah: Yeah, you should try it.
Eric: Now what’s the fourth dish on the list?
Afrah: That’s chicken tikka masala.
Eric: Oh this one is my favorites. The taste is a bit sweet and it’s full of spices. It’s just delicious!
Afrah: That’s for sure. And last thing on our list is naan, a leavened Pakistani flat bread. This delicious bread is served hot with popular dishes like Tandoori chicken or kebabs.
Eric: So other than this list, is there a general kind of food you would recommend to our listeners?
Afrah: Well, I would recommend Peshawari food.
Eric: Peshawari food?
Afrah: Yes, everyone should try some common Peshawari foods like the various kebabs and meat dishes that originate from that part of the country.
Eric: Okay Afrah, what’s your favorite Peshawari dish?
Afrah: That’s a very difficult question. Normally I order many, many dishes when I eat Peshawari food. Some of them are famous dishes like roti or parata, sheermal, and many courses like Tandoori Chicken which is cooked in tandoor, chappal kebab, and charsi tikka.
Eric: It all sounds really good.
Afrah: You can find Peshawari food everywhere in Pakistan. Pakistani cuisine has had a remarkable influence on cuisines across the world, especially those from Southeast Asia.
Eric: But listeners, please be careful if you are not used to spicy food.
Afrah: How about you Eric?
Eric: For me, I like food from an open-air food stall.
Afrah: Ah yes, they provide cheap, local everyday food. For me, food from food stalls is tasty, fast and cheap.
Eric: What’s your favorite dish?
Afrah: I like gol gappay, which is unleavened bread stuffed with potatoes, white beans, cilantro, and lots of spices. It’s served with sweet and spicy chutney made of dried plum and tamarind.
Eric: Wow, spicy!


Eric: Listeners, Pakistani cuisine has a huge variety of food for you to try. You’re sure to find something you like. And that does it for our lesson on cuisine. Thank you for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you next time!
Afrah: پهر ملیں گے (phir milenge).