Archive for February, 2010

Pakistani food

February 28, 2010

Tonight I was introduced to the wonderful world of Pakistani cuisine.  Our foodie friends took my fiance and I to a new place. Oddly enough it’s very close to my home. One town over to be exact. It’s one of those places I’ve driven by and never thought to venture in. I imagine there are a lot of places like that. My friends happened upon it one night while driving home a  few weeks ago and trying to decide where to eat. As they passed by Sabri Nihari he turned to his lady and said how about here?

They enjoyed their meal and dining experience so much they had to share it with my gal and I. We eagerly obliged. One thing I love is trying a new place. Sure there is a risk that it may be a bad meal but when it comes recommended, the odds of failure diminish. One thing I love even more is trying a new type of cuisine. I’ve eaten middle-eastern food before. I’m a fan of Persian food, love Greek and have ventured into the world of Indian but I have to admit, it has been a long time since I’ve eaten Indian. I can’t seem to get people to go. They have their preconceived notions that everything is loaded with curry and therefore unbearably hot.

Pakistani food though somewhat similar in its use of ingredients to Indian, seemed to lean more to flavorful mixes of spice to blistering heat. I was happy to note that I did not even break a sweat and commented afterward that I’ve had Asian food that was much hotter in chili spice.  I had the Chicken Boti and it was very flavorful. It’s tender pieces of chicken marinated in yogurt, lemon and a mix of spices and then grilled over charcoal and sprinkled with fresh cilantro. It’s bright red color reminded me of the BBQ chicken and pork I’ve eaten at many Asian places but the taste was completely different. It reminded me of a Jerked or Cajun chicken. The texture on the meat felt more like a rub than a marinade and the heat was no hotter than a spicy Cajun or Jerk.  I spooned some of the riata (yogurt sauce) over the pieces and ate it with the naan (traditional flatbread) and a simple but flavorful saffron rice dish. The addition of cilantro in the rice added a nice flavor and really brought out the wonderful exotic flavor of saffron.

Chicken Boti with Naan and riata (yogurt sauce)

I washed it all down with a mango Lassi. This is a yogurt/mango smoothie. Wonderfully sweet and fresh and the enzymes in the yogurt help extinguish any heat from the spices in the chicken. My friends ordered a lamb and beef dish and we all shared. Both the lamb and beef were braised in a tomato sauce fused with garlic, cumin and ginger and bursting with flavor. The lamb dish had a little more heat than the beef but nothing that couldn’t be calmed by the sweet Mango Lassi.

I noticed goat on the menu and plan on trying that on my next visit which I imagine will be soon.

With the increasing number of middle-eastern immigrants coming to America, there no doubt will be an increase in their native food. If it’s anything like what I had tonight, I’m all for it. Variety is the spice of life and the folks at Sabri know how to use their spice.