Tag Archives: Peshawar

Peshawari Broth

Peshawar is a famous city in northwestern Pakistan which has been officially recognized as one of the oldest cities on earth.

This recipe, from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey, is based on a traditional broth soup that is served before the main meal in Peshawar.

One of the things I really like about this book is that it not only looks at Indian food but it also includes recipes from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

While you can buy a MILLION books on how to cook Italian or Chinese or Mexican food, how many books teach you recipes from Sri Lanka or Pakistan?

I love that Madhur Jaffrey is giving these countries – and their cultures, people, and cuisines – a chance to be better known.

Unfortunately, I could not find a photo for Jaffrey’s recipe so I used a photo of aab gosht, a Pakistani meat broth, upon which Jaffrey based her recipe.

Peshawari Broth with Mushrooms and Fish

5 ¼ c. beef broth/stock

½ tsp. whole cumin seeds

½ tsp. whole fennel seeds

1 tbsp. whole coriander seeds

6 cardamom pods

6 whole cloves

½ tsp. black peppercorns

Salt

1 tbsp. olive or canola oil

4 oz. fresh oyster mushrooms, broken apart into 1 ½ in pieces

1 fresh green bird’s eye chili or about 1/8 tsp of any fresh hot green chili, finely chopped

½ lb fillet of any white fish such as flounder, without skin, cut into 1 x 2 in pieces and sprinkled lightly with salt on both sides

4 tbsp. chopped cilantro

Put the broth, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cardamom, cloves, and peppercorns in a medium pan and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer very gently for 20 minutes. Strain, then pour strained broth back into the same pan. Check the salt and make adjustments, if needed.

Pour the oil into a nonstick frying pan and set on medium high heat. When hot, put in the mushrooms and green chili. Stir and sauté for about 2 minutes or until the mushrooms have softened. Salt lightly and stir. Transfer the contents of the frying pan to the pan with the broth.

Just before eating bring the broth to a boil. Slip in the fish pieces, turning the heat to low. When the fish pieces turn opaque and the broth is simmering, the soup is ready. Sprinkle in the cilantro, stir once, and serve.

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Tandoori Chicken and the History of India and Pakistan

Although I love Indian food, I’ve never been daring enough to make it at home. But that all changed today.

Meet Tandoori Chicken, my spicy new best friend.

According to Wikipedia, this is one recipe that really tells the story of two nations that share many things, including animosity towards each other.

It was originally created by a restauranteur in Peshawar province, before the partition of British-controlled India.

Partition was an incredibly violent and dangerous time. Carving up the territory into rival nations, India and Pakistan, meant that many Hindus found themselves on the “wrong” side of a newly created border and the same thing happened to Muslims in India.

The restauranteur, Kundan Lal Gujral, was Hindu and he made the dangerous journey out of Peshawar to finally arrive in Delhi where he started a new restaurant but maintained his prized Tandoori Chicken recipe.

The dish soon became a favorite of India’s first Prime Minister Jawarhalal Nehru and he served it at state dinners honoring American presidents John Kennedy and Richard Nixon, as well as other world leaders.

Like many dishes, Tandoori Chicken can’t be said to belong to any one nation. Its name comes not from a region or a religion but from the tandoor – a small, bell-shaped clay oven.

However, I – a Catholic in New Jersey who has never visited South Asia – made a pretty good version of it on a grill in my backyard.

If you’re interested in learning more about partition – a really fascinating story – there are many books and articles you can read about Mohandas Gandhi and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the men who led India and Pakistan, respectively, during this time.

I can recommend the film “Jinnah,” which was written by Dr. Akbar Ahmed, with whom I worked at American University.

Although I have always been interested in history and world cultures, Dr. Ahmed was the person who introduced me to this really incredible story.

Isn’t it amazing that food can be an avenue to explore all this?

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