History of Sindhi Cuisine

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Sindh is now a major province of Pakistan but it was once part of the Indian mosaic. According to most historians the inhabitants of Sindh have their roots in the world famous civilization of Harappa. Basically the Sindhis are said to be a cosmopolitan community who transcend numerous castes, religions, and nationalities. Important parts of Sindh include Karachi, Larkana, Shikarpur, Hyderabad, Hirabad, Sakhar, and Sewhan. All these cities have their particular food recipes making Sindhi Cuisine versatile and plentiful. They not only offer course meals but also a wide variety of drinks and snacks. When we refer to native cuisine of Sindh, the routine meals include wheat based flat bread or rice with gravy and a dry dish. Overall, Sindhi Cuisine is influenced by Indian and Arab food that is why you’ll find a lot of similarities specially the cooking methods, spicy and aromatic features resemble a lot. The only difference is that the Hindu Sindhis don’t eat beef because it is against their religious beliefs. They emphasize on eating vegetables instead. Today Sindhi Food is eaten in many countries wherever Muslims and Indians have migrated after partition. Muslims prepare Sindhi food according to Hilal dietary guidelines as eating pork or wine is strictly prohibited in Islam. Muslim Sindhis prefer eating lamb, chicken, and beef. The arrival of Islam greatly affected the local South Asian cuisines since Muslims had come from many different parts of the world so Central Asian, Middle Eastern, and South Asian cuisines have a considerable influence on the preparation and presentation of Sindhi Food. Sindhis have keen interest in cooking and eating delicious food and it becomes more important on weddings and festivals. Food has always been an important part of rites performed on a wedding ceremony in Sindh. Ukharee mooree jo saath is performed breaking pieces of turmeric into a wooden pot. And Dukhi jo saath is another rite where both bride and groom grind the wheat grains put into a stone grinder. The purpose is to demonstrate and pledge that the couple will stay united through thick and thin of life. Famous Sindhi Foods As Sindhis love food so special meals are an integral part of the festivals in Sindh. Parents send ladoos and chikki made of sesame seeds (tirr) to their daughters on the day of Tirmoori, a festive day for Sindhis in India. Shivratri is the festival that arrives in February and on this day the diet is limited to specific foods that Lord Shiva liked such as milk, dry fruits, and bhang and Kuti (a dry halwa). Holi is the most celebrated festival of Indian Sindhis and people eat gheear (kind of jallebi) and drink thaddal (fresh cannabis), feel intoxicated and sing and dance on folk songs. The festival of Chetichand ends with the food called tehri that is prepared with sweet rice. Then there are special meals of Muslim Sindhis that differ in terms of their religious festivals and include sheer khurma served on the most celebrated festival of Eid-ul-Fitr and is made with noodles cooked in milk and sugar with lots of nuts sprinkled. Then for Eid-ul-Adha, many recipes are cooked with lamb and mutton including Sindhi Biryani (rice cooked with meat), Teevan Dabroti (Sindhi style mutton), and Sindhi mutton chops. Sindhis living in Pakistan cook healthy meals for fasting including Ghyarsi Dodo Bhaji, Aaloo Tikki, and Khadi. Sindhis also emphasize on the presentation of food and flat bread made of wheat makes an essential component of the meal served. They also like to be served with a dessert following the main course especially when guests are invited. The main course mostly includes fiery curries with a moderate to liberal use of spices depending on the taste of the family. Then there are fried vegetables or parched meat according to the dietary preferences of being pure vegan or non-veg. The meal serving is simple with a zest for flavors, spices, and aroma. The pure Sindhi style includes the use of khada masala, coconut, and red pepper. Daals are usually made with little or no oil. Meat and vegetables are cooked with first caramelizing the onions and tomatoes into oil and then adding spices into it. Papads and chutnies (spicy flavored sauces) are an essential part of almost every main course served in Sindh. Mostly non Sindhis believe that Sindhis are pure vegan but the advent of Islam introduced many meat based dishes to Sindh i.e. Biryani, goat meat, and kebabs. Like every other cuisine in the world, Sindhi cuisine has its own set of home cooked and festive foods making it a versatile cuisine of Asia.