A day starts with a breakfast everywhere in the world. Even doctors advise to have a hearty and kingly breakfast after a night fasting. And that is what most people do – have a healthy, plateful of breakfast no matter what it is as it provides just the right kind of kick off to get busy with one’s work.
What do people like around the world? Well I looked around and found one thing most common – eggs. Perhaps one of the most lovable “whole meal” the Heaven ever created is this small shelled white thing containing the white and yellow. And this is one good reason for the artists to combine these two colours in their paintings to give a soothing, yet absorbing effect in their artwork.
Like all others, egg is also a favourite choice in Pakistan. It generally is taken in fried or omelets form. Though in winters, people prefer to eat boiled eggs in the cold chilly evenings when outside in the open.
Coming back to the choice breakfasts in Pakistan, the first and the foremost is the simple, affordable and widely taken breakfasts, especially in the rural areas and by workers and those who cannot afford an expensive breakfast. Yes I am talking of a well greased layered Paratha with a cup of tea. And if tea happens to be Doodh Patti, the breakfast certainly turns kingly. This breakfast continues to be there for God knows since how many centuries as generation after generation this breakfast continues to be there in the same form as it’s found today. I shared a photograph and a post sometime back of four French cyclists having Paratha with Doodh Patti at a small eatery in Islamabad. I am sure they would have enjoyed it.-->
People living in the urban areas prefer eggs with bread, called “double roti” in Pakistan. Why plain bread is called double roti, I do not know. Rather no one seems to know how this translation of bread came about. May be it has to do with some incident during the British rule of the united India when they introduced bread in this part of the world. The eggs can be scrambled, friend half fried, full fried (my favourite as I do not like that sticky yellow things oozing out of its fried covering and making a mess of my shirt when taking a flight from my plate to my mouth), and of course the omelet. Omelet can have various forms; simple or plain, with onions, with onions and green chilies, with onions, green chilies and tomatoes, and even adding hot dogs and chasse into it. Omelet is one thing that one can add on and on and may finish up making a rich Spanish omelet. Eggs can be boiled and taken independent of bread or the” double roti.”
Going up the greasy stuff, Halwa Poori and Bhaji is perhaps the most likeable for all and sundry, specially on the weekends and holidays. I just had it today, though it wasn’t weekend, but since I had gone for some “domestic help,” I brought back sizzling hot pooris and the add ons despite the fact that there was thick fog outside. And before I forget to mention, when venturing my “domestic help project,” I usually take my younger son along for the company. And his presence pays well when while the pooris are being made, he orders two cups of doodh patti from the same eatery and we enjoy sipping hot steamy heavenly tea. Coming back to halwa and poori, those interested in its recipe can find it in my website Pakistanpaedia.
My fourth favourite is yet another greasy and oily “Sri Paye.” This is again one of the most favourite breakfasts, specially in Lahore – a city of taste and innovative foods. Sri is the head of the goat and paye are its four feet. These are prepared almost the whole night and early in the morning one can find the small eateries that one can find on ever corner of Lahore serving this to its customers. This is normally served in round shape “payalas” rather than flat or beveled plates. To add to its taste, it is eaten with kulchay or naan (specially made rounded bread baked in the tandoor or the typical Eastern earthen oven.
The fifth one is nihari. This is yet another heavily spiced and oily breakfast made of beef and served with naan and kulchay.
I will post the recipe of these two breakfasts in some of my next post. But these are specialists’ dishes which housewives would difficult to prepare to give the same tastes and aroma. I am lucky that my wife does it very well and I don’t have to go out finding these shelf-prepared breakfasts.
If you are visiting Pakistan and specially Lahore and have a stomach to sustain these heavily spiced and greased breakfasts, do insist your host to take you to places to have these. Or you can also find it yourself, especially near the railway station and the bus stands. So don’t miss these spicy, yet long not forgotten breakfasts of your life.