Pakistani meat dishes

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Chicken karahi in a Pakistani restaurant

Meat plays a much more dominant role in Pakistani cuisine, compared to other South Asian cuisines. According to a 2003 report, an average Pakistani consumed three times more meat than an average Indian.[1] Of all the meats, the most popular are chicken, lamb, beef, goat, fish. Beef is particularly sought after as the meat of choice for kebab dishes or the classic beef shank dish nihari. Seafood is generally not consumed in large amounts, though it is[2] very popular in the coastal areas of Sindh and the Makran coast of Balochistan.


The Muslims follow the Islamic law that lists foods and drinks that are Halal and permissible to consume. Halal foods are foods that Muslims are allowed to eat and drink under Islamic dietary guidelines. The criteria specify both what foods are allowed, and how the food must be prepared. The foods addressed are mostly types of meat/animal tissue.

Meat dishes[edit]

The following is a list of most popular meat dishes in Pakistan.

Name Meat type Cooking Method Legume, Pulses or main ingredient Description
Aloo gosht Beef Stew Potato Generally, the preparation method involves cooking lamb pieces over medium heat with various spices, simmered with potatoes.[3]
Butter chicken Chicken Stew Butter Typically dressed chicken (with or without bones) is marinated overnight in a yogurt and spice mixture usually including garam masala, ginger, garlic paste, lemon or lime, pepper, coriander, cumin, turmeric and chili. The chicken is traditionally cooked in a tandoor, but can also be grilled, roasted or pan fried. The sauce, is made by heating and mixing butter, tomato puree, and various spices, often including cumin, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, pepper, fenugreek and fresh cream. Cashew paste can also be added, and will make the gravy thicker.

Barbecue and kebabs[edit]

A variety of dishes cooked under the barbecue method
Seekh kebab – one of the famous Pakistani food specialities

Meat and grilled meat has played an important part in Pakistan region for centuries. Sajji is a Baluchi dish from Western Pakistan, made of lamb with spices, that has also become popular all over the country. Another Balochi meat dish involves building a large outdoor fire and slowly cooking chickens. The chickens are placed on skewers which are staked into the ground in close proximity to the fire, so that the radiant heat slowly cooks the prepared chickens.

Kebabs are a staple item in Pakistani cuisine today, and one can find countless varieties of kebabs all over the country. Each region has its own varieties of kebabs but some like the Seekh kebab, Chicken Tikka, and Shami kebab are especially popular varieties throughout the country. Generally, kebabs from Balochistan and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa tend to be identical to the Afghan style of barbecue, with salt and coriander being the only seasoning used. Regional kebab recipes from Karachi and the wider Sindh region is famous for its spicy kebabs, often marinated in a mixture of spices, lemon juice and yogurt. Barbecued food is also extremely popular in some cities of Punjab such as Lahore, Gujranwala and Sialkot. Al-Hamra Restaurant and Bundu Khan kebab House are famous throughout Pakistan for their taste and variety of kebabs. Kebab shops are said to be the most profitable food businesses in Pakistan.


Types of kebabs (mainly made of beef or lamb) are:

  • Seekh kebab (Urdu: سيخ کباب‎) - A long skewer of beef mixed with herbs and seasonings. Takes its name from the skewer.
  • Shami kebab (Urdu: شامي کباب‎) - A Shami kebab is a small patty of minced beef or chicken and ground chickpeas and spices.
  • Chapli kebab (Urdu: چپلي کباب‎) - A spiced, tangy round kebab made of ground beef and cooked in animal fat. A speciality of Peshawar in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
  • Chicken kebab (Urdu: مرغ کباب‎) (Moorgh-Kuh-bob) - A popular kebab that is found both with bone and without.
  • Lamb kebab (Urdu: کبابِ برہ گوشت‎) - The all lamb meat kebab is usually served as cubes.
  • Bihari kebab (Urdu: بہاری کباب‎) - Skewer of beef mixed with herbs and seasoning.
  • Shashlik (Urdu: شیشلیک ‎) - Grilled baby lamb chops (usually from the leg), typically marinated
  • Bun kebab (Urdu: بن کباب‎) - A unique kebab sandwich
  • Shawarma (Urdu: شاورما‎) - Comprises slices cut from a stack of meat strips (usually lamb), grilled in a vertical rotisserie. These are placed in a naan with chutney and salad.
  • Tikka kebab (Urdu: تکہ کباب‎) - A kebab made of beef, lamb or chicken, cut into cubes, marinated with a yogurt blend and grilled on coals.
  • Boti kebab - A kebab made from fillet of meat and is popular in Multan. Sometimes marinated with green papaya to help tenderize the meat.
  • Kaleji kebab - Grilled marinated pieces of liver (usually lamb).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Global Production and Consumption of Animal Source Foods, The American Society for Nutritional Sciences J. Nutr. 133:4048S-4053S, November 2003. Retrieved on 27 March 2007
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Aloo Gosht". Retrieved 18 August 2012. 

External links[edit]