One of the many, many wonders of travelling is trying food you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Each new country you visit opens up a world of new recipes, cultural flavours and one-of-a-kind ingredients for you to try. Anyone who has ever walked into a supermarket abroad will have noticed the shelves of fruits and vegetables with names that they have never seen before, let alone be able pronounce.
Pakistan has plenty of unusual fruits and vegetables that locals eat all the time, but that visitors will be able to sample for the first time:
The apple gourd is very similar to the more familiar yellow squash, which is readily available in the UK. It has a similar texture as well as a fairly similar flavour but has a very unique and distinctive shape and is found all over the subcontinent, where it is referred to as ‘tindeh.’
This root vegetable can often be found chopped into chunks and cooked into curries. Visitors often mistake it for pieces of potato as it has a similar consistency but has a creamier and sweeter taste. You can find Taro as eddoe or arvi; very common dishes served with or without gravy. A popular dish is arvi gosht which includes meat such as beef or mutton.
The snake gourd is another unusual squash which, when fully grown is tough enough to be hewn into didgeridoos. When young they are full of a soft, red tomato like pulp which can be used as a tomato-substitute in cooking and the flesh can be eaten although it has a fairly subtle flavour, like savoury pumpkin, which requires heavy spicing.
Somewhere between a lemon and an orange lays the sweet lemon or ‘mosambi’. It has a unique, tart and sweet flavour which surprises the tongue. It can be a little overwhelming on its own so it is usually made into a juice which tastes like a mix of sparkling lemonade and orange juice.
The closest thing we can relate the kinnow to in the UK is the mandarin but it still differs greatly from those. It’s notoriously difficult to peel but the flesh underneath is unlike any orange you’ve tasted before. A truly delicious and refreshing citrus fruit that also makes great sauces and juices.
Feeling hungry? Visit us at Royal Nawaab’s restaurant in London to try some unique and traditional Pakistani dishes.