Monday, March 12, 2012

sindhi cuisine



Sindh is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known "Bab-ul-Islam"The Door to Islam, because Islam in South Asia was first introduced via Sindh. Different cultural and ethnic groups also reside in Sindh including Urdu-speaking Muslim refugees who migrated to Pakistan from India upon independence as well as the people migrated from other provinces after independence. The neighboring regions of Sindh are Balochistan to the west and north, Punjab to the north, Gujarat and Rajasthan to the southeast and east, and the Arabian Sea to the south. The main language is Sindhi. The name is derived from the Indus Riverthat courses through it, and was known to the Assriyans(as early as the seventh century BC) as Sinda, to the Greeks as Sinthus, to the Romans as Sindus, to the Persians as Abisind, to the Arabs as Al-Sind, and to the China as Sintow. To the Javanese the Sindhis have long been known as the Santri.

Sindhis are a Sindhi speaking socio-ethnic group of people originating from Sindh, a province of Pakistan. Today Sindhis that live in Pakistan belong to various religious denominations including Muslim, Zorastrian, Hindus and Christians. After the Partition of India in 1947, a large number of Indian Muslim refugees (Muhajirs) flocked into Pakistan and settled in the prosperous Sindh region. At the same time Sindhi Hindus migrated to India in large numbers.

The Indus Valley civilization is the farthest visible outpost of archaeology in the abyss of prehistoric times. The original inhabitants of ancient Sindh were believed to be aboriginal tribes speaking languages of the Indus Valley civilization around 3000 BC. The prehistoric site of Kot Diji in Sindh has furnished information of high significance for the reconstruction of a connected story which pushes back the history of South Asia by at least another 300 years, from about 2500 BC. Evidence of a new element of pre-Harappan culture has been traced here


Sindhi cuisine refers to the cuisine of the Sindhi people from Sindh, Pakistan and the Sindhi diaspora of India. The daily food in most Sindhi households consists of wheat-based flat-bread (phulka) and rice accompanied by two dishes, one grape and one dry.


The arrival of Islam within South Asia influenced the local cuisine to a great degree. Since Musilims are forbidden to eat pork or consume alcohol and the Halal dietary guidelines are strictly observed. Sindhisfocus on other areas of food such as beef, lamb, chicken, fish and vegetables as well as traditional fruit and dairy. The influence of Central Asian, South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine in Sindhi food is ubiquitous.


Certain sects of the Sindhi community are vegetarians. The Thathai, Halai and Kutchi Bhatias are followers of Vallabh Acharya. He put forward a way to worship Sri Krishna called Pushtimarg. They are strict vegetarians who do not eat even onions and garlic and are devoted to Srinathji, the child form of Sri Krishna


Sindh is located on the western corner of South Asia, bordering the Iranian plateau in the west. Geographically it is the third largest province of Pakistan. Sindh is bounded by the Thar Desert to the east, the Kirthar Mountainsto the west, and the Arabian Sea in the south. In the centre is a fertile plain around the Indus river.

Sindh is situated in a subtropical region; it is hot in the summer and cold in winter. Temperatures frequently rise above 46 C between May and August, and the minimum average temperature of 2°C occurs during December and January. The annual rainfall averagesiver about seven inches, falling mainly during July and August. The southwest monsoon wind begins to blow in mid-February and continues until the end of September, whereas the cool northerly wind blows during the winter months from October to January.

Sindh lies between the two monsoons — the southwest monsoon from the Indian Ocean and the northeast or retreating monsoon, deflected towards it by the Himalayan Range— and escapes the influence of both. The average rainfall in Sindh is only 15–18 cm per year. The region's scarcity of rainfall is compensated by the inundation of the Indus twice a year, caused by the spring and summer melting of Himalayan snow and by rainfall in the monsoon season. These natural patterns have recently changed somewhat with the construction of dams and barrages on the Indus river.

Sindh is divided into three climatic regions: Siro (the upper region), Wicholo (the middle region), and Lar (the lower region, centred on Karachi). The air is generally very dry. Central Sindh's temperatures are generally lower than those of upper Sindh but higher than those of lower Sindh. Dry hot days and cool nights are typical during the summer. Central Sindh's maximum temperature typically reaches 43–44 °C. Lower Sindh has a damper and humid maritime climate affected by the southwestern winds in summer and northeastern winds in winter, with lower rainfallthan Central Sindh. Lower Sindh's maximum temperature reaches about 35–38 °C . In the Kirthar range at 1,800 m (5,900 ft) and higher at Gorakh Hilland other peaks in Dadu district, temperatures near freezing have been recorded and brief snowfall is received in the winters


At its simplest, Pakistani cooking today consists of staple foods which are cheap and abundant. Wheat and other flour products are the mainstay of the diet, one familiar form being CHAPATI

Another basic food is LASSI, milk from which curds and butterfat have been removed. Vegetables, usually seasonal, lentils are commonly used. Families with larger incomes eat more meat, eggs and fruits. And the more affluent cook with GHEE, which is clarified butter, instead of with vegetable oil.

From the earliest times, the imaginative - and sometimes heavy - use of spices, herbs, seeds, and flavorings and seasonings have helped cooks transform rather ordinary staple foods into an exotic cuisine.

Consider some of the most common of these in wide use in Pakistan today: chilli powder, turmeric, garlic, paprika, black pepper, red pepper, cumin seed, bay leaf, coriander, cardamom, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, saffron, mace, nutmeg, poppyseeds, aniseed, almonds, pistachios, and yogurt.

Their use in a wide range of pickles, chutneys, preserves, and sauces, together with curries of all descriptions and special treatment for meats, sea, food, vegetables and lentils, gives Pakistani cooking much of its distinctive character.

A style of cookery called Moghlai' evolved at the Moghul court and even today it remains centered in Lahore. Some latter-day and widely known survivors of court cookery are, for example, chicken tandoori, a dish in which chicken is cooked at low temperatures in special ovens called TANDOORS, and murgh musallum' in which the whole chickens are roasted with special spices and ingredients. SHAHI TUKRA, a dessert of sliced bread, milk, cream, sugar and saffron, is another left-over from the days of the Moghuls.

Fruit drinks, squeezed from pomegranates, apples, melons, and mangoes, and called
SHARBAT, are an important part of the Moghlai cuisine and, indeed, the inspiration for American "sherberts.


There are food that are served during special occasions, such as during Diwali a Bahji called Chiti-Kuni is made with seven vegetables. If some gets chicken pox and after it is gone, it is common to make an offering and make 'mitho lolo'.

Vermicelli is served on both Eids. On special religious occasions, mitho lolo, accompanied with milk is given to the poor.

Mitho lolo is also served with chilled buttermilk called Matho on various occasions

Perhaps the ultimate Moghul cuisine was reached when the imperial chefs perfected the recipes for desserts made from ginger and garlic. Ginger and garlic puddings are still made in some homes for truly special occasions.


  1. Cheti Chand

Celebration of the birth of Water god ( Varun Devta ) Sai Uderolal, popularly known as Jhulelal . So much has been said and written about it that it would be superfluous to repeat the event. In Sindh the beginning of the New Year was considered Cheti Chand . Some businessmen opened new account books; many however, did that on the eve of Diwali. On the full moon day, people used to go to a river or lake and offer 'Akho' with a pinch of rice mixed with milk and flour. If there was no river or 'Darya' , the ritual was performed at a well. Even Sikhs went to temples or Gurdwara , because Guru Nanak's birthday also took place on Purnima .

2. Teejri

This festival takes place in the month of Sawan when married women and girls paint their

hands and feet with Mehndi , go on fast for the whole day, during which they used to play

games , swing in Jhulas and sing love songs. In the night after making an offering to the

moon, they would break the fast.

3. Navratra

During this days devotees of Devi ate one meal a day and did not even shave and cut hair. Ladies sang bhajans . In Nagarparkar they used to dance like Garba in Gujrat

4. Dassehra

Few days before Dassehra there used to be Ramlila program which was attended by throngs of people. On the Dassehra day colourful effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarna and Meghnath were burnt.

5. Shraadh

Just as in India the month of September 'Bado' was meant for Krishna Paksha as Pitar

Pakhiya. Any member of the family who had died on particular (tithi) day and date,

Shraadh was offered for the solace of the deceased's soul. The Brahmins were

given food and Dakhshna. It is said that Arya Samaj carried out a strong movement

against Shraadh, but the Shraadhs continued because of the faith of people since

they felt that through this

method the deceased members of the family are remembered and all the family

members have a good gathering.


The festival of colours in which all the young and old join together to express their joy at the change of season. Some people correlate Holi festival with Holika, the sister of Hirnakashyap, mythological father of Bhagat Prahlad.



Kutti (Mashed roti[Bread] with sugar and butter)

Lolo or Mithi Loli (Sweeter version of koki (see below) - also made if you get chicken pox

Maal-apuroo Mithaee Maanii (Sweet roti made with milk, butter, sugar)

Ku-ini Kich-anee (Sindhi comfort food. A porridge like dish made with rice and served with yogurt)

Chhola Dhabal (baked bread with peas in thick gravy)

Ka-raw-o (religious offering made with flour, ghee and sugar)

Bhat - (porridge, usually given to a sick child, but popular at all times)


Sindhi Curry - (chick pea flour and vegetables like lady finger, potato and eggplant.

Seyal Mani (Cooked Chappati in green sauce with tomato, coriander and spices).

Seyal Dab-roti (variation of above, but instead of Chappati, use bread)

Seyal Phulko

Seyal Bhaji (mixed vegetables cooked with onion garlic paste)

Sabu dal chawar ( yellow daal with rice)

Koki (thick chapati can be made with onions and coriander or just plain salt and pepper)

Loli/Lolo/Lola (a thick chappati with ghee, onion and coriander).

Loli Du-dh (as above, but served with yogurt. Some Sindhis will eat Loli with pickles, but many Sindhis don't consider it good form to mix yogurt and pickles). This is a popular dish served at breakfast or brunch.

Pappad (a crisp and thin snack. Sindhi will generally eat this after a meal to digest food and in particular after an oily meal).

Dhodo Chutney (A thick roti with garlic paste and served with mint chutney)

Sai Bhaji (a spinach based gravy, sai means green - the colour of spinach)

Bugha Chawar (a browned rice)

Bhugal Bheeha (lotus root in thick curry)

Dhangi Fulko (moong beans with roti)

Curry Chawal (a tomato curry eaten with white rice - served with aloo took, a potato cutlet)

Besan ji Bhaji (vegetable made of gram flour)

Bhugal Teewarn (a mutton dish)

Jera & Bhukiyoo (Fried liver, Kidney of goat)

Dal Tikkhar (daal yellow pulses) cooked in gravy eaten with crisp fried very thin matthi)

Tikhi Dal khichdi (thin yellow pulse served with variation of rice)

Bhugge Chawal (rice cooked in flavoured spices beige/ golden brown in colour with vegetable assortments)

Pava (goats legs)

Pakkwan Dal (lentil and solid crunchy puri)

Curry Chawal (It's Kathi Curry eaten with Rice

Phote waro Tivan (Lamb meat in cardamom)

Keemo (ground lamb meet)

Seyal Pallo (pomfret fish in garlic sauce

Desserts or Sweets or Drink

• Thadal(made from milk and a paste of fresh almonds )

• Varo (Indian sweet made with pistachio, almonds or other nuts)

• Tosh (Sweet made with wheat atta and Sugar chaashni, looks like stick)

• Dothi (Sweet made with Wheat atta and Sugar chaashni, looks like big peda)

• Geara (Called emarti in North India)

• Moomthal (Indian sweet)

• Khi-r-ni (hot drink made with milk with flavours of cardamoms and saffron)

• SherbertFruit drinks, squeezed from pomegranates, apples, melons, and mangoes, and called SHARBAT

• falooda (vermiclli and ice on top of ice cream)

• Boorani (A yellow colored sweet made by processing flowers)


carrot pickle

mango pickle

mix fruit pickle

green chilli pickle

Murbo ( sweet grated mango in sugar syrup)

Vernon Coelho

Ihm Mumbai


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