Worlds collide: Pakistan meets Scotland on a plate | Cook residency
Cook residency: The cuisines of Scotland and Pakistan have more in common than you might think. Here our resident draws on both her culinary heritage and Glaswegian home with braised meat, flatbreads and a pudding …
Few people would think Pakistan was comparable to Scotland. But when I moved to Glasgow eight months ago I realised the two had more common ground than I first thought. I find a subtle sense of familiarity in Scotland; like Pakistan, it has dramatic scenery, hospitable people and the history of invasions and migrations that have marked its culture and cuisine.
Flavour has always been my first connection to a place, and exploring the food in a new country has helped me find my place within it. Scottish food is much more than haggis and shortbread. Just like Pakistani cuisine, it is defined by seasonality and outstanding quality of produce. With these new ingredients around me, Ive begun to substitute and experiment with classic Pakistani recipes.
As a child, I would wake up on a Sunday morning to be greeted by the smoky scent of fresh parathas being made on the tawa (flat griddle pan), my mouth watering in anticipation of breakfast. My mother made these by mixing mashed potato bhujia (stir-fried potato) into flour to make thick breads with generous amounts of fresh coriander, green chilli, cumin and ghee. When I moved to Glasgow, I was amazed at how similar parathas were to tattie scones leftover mash mixed with flour and butter, best cooked on a cast iron girdle (as the griddle is known in Scotland). And just as comforting at the weekend.
In Pakistan, we eat a lot of mutton, goat and beef, which is either slow- cooked, stir-fried or barbecued with spices, or simply with animal fat and herbs, depending on where you ar. Theres a similar love for slow-cooked stews in Scotland, sometimes with simple herb flavours such as juniper, bay or thyme. Like Pakistani meat cooking, spices are subtle, to enhance rather than hide the taste of the meat. Ive adapted my grandmothers chukandar gosht (beetroot and beef curry) here with Scottish venison. Dark spices, such as smoky black cardamom, peppercorns and star anise add a dark depth of flavour similar to many Pakistani dishes. This recipe celebrates the Scottish and Pakistani love for sharing single-pot meals in Scotland it can be broth or stews, in Pakistan it is biryani, nihari and haleem.
Lastly, the fragrance and flavour of Scottish summer raspberries are perfect for cranachan (the traditional way to serve it is to allow your guests to make up their own dessert, serving each element of the dish separately) the traditional pudding of oats, cream and whisky but Ive used Hunza apricots here, which for me evoke early autumn in northern Pakistan.
Ive really only started to explore the crossover between these cuisines, and how I can use new produce in my cooking. But in my journey from Karachi to Glasgow, I have realised I can find home through food, produce, culinary heritage and flavour and the journey has only just begun.
Spiced winter squash and tattie scone parathas (pictured above)
60g butternut squash, roasted until soft
100g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
2 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
6 mint leaves, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped or tsp red chilli flakes
2 spring onions, finely chopped
Juice of lime
34 tbsp ghee, or 3-4 tbsp coconut, rapeseed or vegetable oil
1 Mix all the ingredients together, except the ghee, in a large bowl. Stir in the ghee, a little at a time, until the mixture reaches a dough-like consistency. Turn out on to a floured work surface and knead until smooth.
2 Divide the dough into tennis ball-sized pieces. Cover with a damp cloth.
3 Heat a griddle pan, tawa or frying pan over a high heat. When hot, add a little ghee, then reduce the heat to medium.
4 On a floured surface, roll each dough ball into a 6mm-thick patty. Place in the hot ghee and cook gently, pressing down the corners with a clean tea towel or kitchen paper, to ensure it browns evenly. When one side is cooked about 34 minutes turn over and cook the other side. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Read more: www.theguardian.com