daal roti in Taipei, Taiwan

Owais Mughal

Why am I writing a story which happened in Taiwan on Pakistaniat.com? The answer is because it includes a Pakistani’s quest for a Pakistani style daal-roti in Taiwan and succeeding. A few may actually find this food search inspirational. And since we are All Things Pakistan so this story is atleast A Few Things Pakistan, and thus qualifies.

On these very pages, we have always tried to report on Pakistani food places from all around the world e.g. here, here, here, here, here, and here, so there you go! There you have it i.e. enough justification to be on these pages.

This story happened two weeks ago when travel took my family to Taiwan. One day we went to visit the world’s tallest completed building in Taipei called the Taipei 101. It was lunch time and the basement of Taipei 101 has a World Food bazaar. Japanese, Korean, American, Turkish, Chinese, etc. You name it and they’ve got it.

It had been days since I had eaten a naan (round flat bread).

hum to hain pardes mein
des mein pakka ho ga naan

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5-Minti zabardast aaloo chole chaat Recipe’

Owais Mughal

Last week I made this spicy aaloo cholay chaat (potato-beans-spices-mixture) for my office mates. It proved to be a huge local success. Now for the benefit of larger society, I am giving away the recipe’. I am also providing photos for the agnostics. What more should I say in its praise; it only takes five minutes to make; hence the title – 5 minti chaat.

Before going further I want to ‘gosh-e-guzaar’ (i.e. say) this sher to you:

hum bhi muNh mein zubaaN rakhte haiN
kaash poocho ke zaaiqa kia hai

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suno! aaj meethay mein kia hai?…Fruit Custard

Owais Mughal

NOTE: Translation of all Urdu sentences is given at the end

I want to start this recipe’ with 7 time-tested words of wisdom. These words are tested by myself over a time period of two days, hence proved:

Never Judge a Custard by its Cover

Ok, so after you’ve sinked-in this message, I want to announce that the omelet looking thing below is actually an extra-ordinarily delicious Fruit Custard. Any agnostics? Please read my 7 words written above again. Others, please continue reading below.

On our last grocery trip, I brought home a packet of Ahmed Custard Powder Mango flavor. At home, I purposefully set the packet on kitchen counter. Why did I do that? Because if you put the packet in a closed cabinet then ‘aaNkh ojhal pahaaR ojhal’ happens.
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Halwa Puri on a Sunday

Owais Mughal

This past sunday I got chance to buy halwa puri breakfast for the family. My brother and I drove to a halwa puri vendor near Aisha Manzil in Federal-B-Area. It is called Dhamthal sweets Bakers and Nimko. Time was around noon and I was surprised to find a long queue of people waiting to buy breakfast. When we left home I thought we’ll have hard time finding breakfast, but seeing the crowd it seemed like whole city now eats breakfast fashionably late.

Dhamthal sweets had set up breakfast tables on a covered side walk. On one table a whole cricket team was sitting and enjoying greasy puris with boistering talk of cricket heroics. At another table a whole extended family was sharing family gossips over niwalas of sweet halwa.

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Rice Masala

Owais Mughal

In my not-so-extensive vocabulary, Pakistani food can be divided into two categories viz., Any-day-dishes and Many-day-dishes.

Any-day-dishes are those for which one prays to God to get any day e.g. nihari, qorma, biryani, haleem, halwa puri etc.

Then there are Many-day-dishes. These are generally good for health therefore less popular. These are eaten widely because they are light on pocket and stomach. Once made, they usually last for many days, hence their title. To top this list are few like tinda, loki, kaddoo, torai, bengan, daal (lentils) etc. This situation reminds me of a sher:

ya rab meray naseeb meiN rizq-e-halal de
khaane ko qorma aur khilaane ko daal de

While many web sites are dedicated to the recipes of festive foods, we will today present to you a recipe’ of common food. Yes, it is a many-day dish and it is called ‘rice masaala’. To cook it is as simple as the equation: rice + masala = rice masala. The recipe’ is so simple that it has now made me think whether I should spend more time writing following post or not? I’ll give you a sneak peak of our final product. Please look at the photo below and then decide for yourself whether you want to read further or not. My ‘istehqaaq’ (I want to say ‘ego’) will not get ‘majrooh’ (hurt).


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Bun-kabab in Naples, Italy

Owais Mughal

We were recently walknig in the back alleys of Naples. The scene was very traditional Italian. In narrow pathways there were shops selling all kinds of merchandise from colorful pasta to miniature art, guitars to fountain pens and old books. There were children playing football in every open space. In all this traditional Itlaian set up I suddenly heard a Bollywood tune. As I looked up I saw this signboard which showed Aishwarya with a raised hand serving what we in Pakistan call a “Bun-Kebab” (or is it “Bund-Kabab”?). Continue reading