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Pakistani vegetable dishes

A wide range of Pakistani vegetables is an important part of the Pakistani diet. Vegetables are relatively cheap and easily available across the country. As a major chunk of the population resides in the villages, open spaces are readily available to plant vegetables. Unlike in the west, you do not necessarily need to visit a shopping mall to purchase seasonal vegetables. Mobile food vendors and corner neighbourhood shops supply most vegetables and there is no need to refrigerate the vegetables for future use.

Diet in the plains of Punjab varies considerably from the mountainous region of the country. Sindh and Punjab are relatively warmer and the diet comprises vegetables, grains and herbs that help fight the summer heat. Simple vegetables like turnips, carrots, soybeans and spinach are widely consumed and cooked in a variety of different manners with a base of ginger, garlic and onion. Purified butter or ghee is preferred over vegetable or processed oils. 

Easy availability of milk makes cream, yogurt, purified butter and lassi (diluted yogurt drink with a pinch of salt or sugar) commonly consumed products in almost all households. These milk products help fight the extreme summer heat where the temperature can go up to 50c in summers. 

Benefits of Eating Vegetables on a daily basis

The vegetable is a broad term that refers to eatable parts of plants, which are usually their roots, leaves, fruit, or seeds. Since they are low in calories but high in nutrients, most experts recommend that everyone should consume vegetables daily. 

Vegetables fight inflammation, improve blood pressure, increase fibre, help the eyes and skin, improve immune health, and reduce the risk of heart disease. It also benefits blood sugar levels. The food pyramid which shows us what to eat to have a balanced diet, states that we should have at least three to five servings of vegetables per day. Vegetables are full of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that provide many important health benefits to your body.

For instance, many vegetables are known for being high in vitamin A, vitamin C, And vitamin D. More than 35 kinds of vegetables are grown in Pakistan. These vegetables are available in different seasons. Varied climates in the different provinces of the country contribute to the year-round production of different vegetables.

Most commonly found vegetables in Pakistan 

Most commonly consumed vegetables in the Pakistani diet include bitter gourd, bottle gourd, Brinjal, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, coriander, cucumber, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, hot peppers, lettuce, mint, mustard, okra, onion, peas, potato, radish, spinach, sponge gourd, sweet Peppers, sweet potato, Tindal gourd, tomato, turmeric and turnip.

bitter gourd

Bitter Gourd is a commonly used vegetable in Pakistani dishes

What makes Pakistani food different?

Most Pakistani vegetables dishes contain a good mix of onion, garlic, ginger and tomatoes there are used. Ginger and garlic are widely known for their nutritional and medicinal benefits. High consumption of garlic can help reduce coronary diseases. Ginger is a storehouse of nutritional disease-fighting chemicals including heart diseases and cancer. With such high consumption of these basic ingredients occurrence of cancer, Alzheimer's diseases and a number of commonly found diseases in the western world are very rare in Pakistan. 

In the plains of Punjab wheat, millet and rye are common grains and are ground in fine flour to make flatbread or chapati. Rice is mostly consumed as Pulao or Biryani and is more popular in the south of the country. Grain bread is consumed on daily basis in most households and rice is consumed once or twice a week (in Punjab). Basmati rice is rich in nutrition and hard to digest and is not consumed on daily basis. 

As Pakistani is a predominantly meat-eating nation, most vegetables are cooked with meat (either mutton in Punjab) or beef (in Northern Pakistan). 

How is vegetable Curry prepared in Pakistani food? 

To make the perfect base for a Curry and various other dishes in Pakistan the five main vegetables that are used are Tomato, onion, garlic, ginger and green chillies. Now let’s take a closer look at the most popular vegetable dishes of Pakistan. Check out more Pakistani food recipes in the recipes section

Saag/Mustard greens One of the most popular dishes usually cooked on special occasions and a favourite of many, this dish uses mustard leaves. These leaves have a unique flavour. Although this recipe takes some time and effort to cook, it is enjoyed with flatbread and is absolutely delicious.

Okra Curry If you are not too fond of vegetables, then this vegetable will change your mind and keep your taste buds smiling. Okra tastes great and is made very quickly. Checkout my Okra Curry Recipe

vegetable markets

Commonly found vegetables in Pakistani vegetable Markets in most cities

Eggplant with potatoes A favourite in most Pakistani households, eggplants are made both in curry form and used as a side sauce with yoghurt.

Potatoe is one of the most favourite vegetables cooked in every household. Potatoes use is versatile in a large number of snacks, curries and deep-fried dishes. Aloo Gosht ( meat curry with potatoes) is very a popular dish in Punjab. Potatoes are mixed with a number of vegetables including peas and carrots to prepare mixed vegetable curries or dry dishes. 

Bitter gourd This recipe taste is great if made correctly. Bitter gourd is a great food for diabetics and is consumed in various forms including dried powder to control the blood sugar level. There is a rise in diabetes cases across the country and patients are reverting to natural diets and traditional recipes for health benefits. 

Most common herbs used in vegetable dishes include cilantro for garnishing, green chillies, cumin, turmeric powder, dried coriander seeds, sesame seeds and black pepper.

Fenugreek is a widely used vegetable normally cooked with potatoes to give a rich aromatic taste. Carrot and fenugreek Out of the ordinary combination, carrots and fenugreek actually make a wonderful combination for a vegetable dish once made with the right amount of spices, you can smell it in the whole house! The Aroma is simply mouthwatering! Stir fry vegetables at times when does not know what you cook for lunch or dinner.

aloo paratha

Aloo Paratha ( flat-bread with mashed potato paste) is a popular Pakistani food

The chapati, or flatbread, is filled with a radish stuffing Anne made on the stove it is enjoyed with fresh yoghurt. Besides eating vegetables for your main meals, many vegetables are also used for starters or snacks. One snack that is especially enjoyed is called a pakora. This is basically made with onion, potatoes, and chickpea flour.

New cooking trends in Pakistani food

With the rise of the internet and easily available information on various foods and recipes, Pakistani households are adopting new cooking styles including stir-fried vegetables, sauteed vegetables and steamed vegetables which are quite uncommon in traditional cooking styles. 

Most ingredients for these cooking styles, including broccoli, carrots, snow peas, peas, mushroom and water chestnuts are readily available in most locations across the country. 

Traditionally out of seasons vegetables are preserved as achars (pickles) and chutneys and can be used for months with rice or bread dishes. These chutneys are condiments and add flavour to dishes as well as helps with digestion. The most common preserved vegetables are chillies, carrots, Cordia myxa (lasoora), lime, cauliflower and mangoes. chutney

Chutneys and pickles are very popular in Pakistani households

Vegetables are full of nutrients and help keep the weight in control. With rising awareness of information on the food younger Pakistani population is becoming diet conscious and adopting healthy eating styles.  Vegetables are definitely cheap, healthy and tasty food choices in Pakistani households. 

Check out our latest recipes on the website