Pakistani Food Essay

As I exited the car, I could smell the fragrant chicken being cooked on barbeque like pits. I could see the smoke rise up into the sky. As we arrived to our seat, I thought to myself, ‘This place looks ghetto! ‘ Yes, the food smelt good, but being outside and eating on dirty tables, which stood on top of dirt, didn’t help my appetite. This made me sort of nervous about my first meal out in Pakistan. All this time, I remembered my cousin telling me to watch out because I was a foreigner and my stomach would take time to adjust to the different style of food. The waiter finally came around holding 6 glasses of water in one hand; it was truly a site to see. I noticed when he came that he didn’t bring a menu. My uncle asked him what was on the menu, immediately; he started reciting the whole menu. I was surprised. This was sort of unorthodox, but I went along and questioned him about the food with my excellent ability to speak Urdu (the common language in Pakistan). Well my uncle asked around to what each of us wanted. I finally decided on the Chicken Tikka, Seekh Kabob, and taking my uncles suggestion I tried Kata Kat. I could see flies swarming above me as I sat and waited for everyone to finish their order. Me and my cousin decided to walk around and see how they cooked the food. Kata kat is a very interesting dish. This was the first time I had actually seen it being made. Since this ‘restaurant’ is outdoors, and they cook all the food right in front of you, and it is customizable to your tastes. First they add the meat (though later I found out it’s not really meat, but all the organs including liver, kidney, brain, heart†¦) to a large hot pan. The oil is poured on with hesitation. Kata kat is not made for those who have cholesterol or heart problems. There is no fat free version to it. The steam is flowing from the meat, and the fire is crackling underneath. The cook throws the spices and herbs on, I’m surprised to see that no measuring cups are using. Only authentic and real herbs are used, no glass bottles with herb powder, only the real stuff. He feels the amount of spices needed, so each meal is essentially different then the previous. He brings out two small knife-life objects. These objects are special knives, which are used only in making Kata Kat. These knives are different than normal knives; the sharp edges are on the bottom of the knife, not the side. These knives are used vertically to hit and cut the meat and side-to-side to move and mix the meat. The cook begins to bang on the pan, first with the right, then with the left, creating a loud noise. This is where the name Kata Kat comes from, because hitting on the meat creates such a noise. He continues on making the racket smashing the bits and pieces of the meat into smaller and smaller pieces. The cook adds more spices to the mix; I can now see the sweat come down his face. The steam is right in his face, yet he does not back down. Tomatoes, ginger, and more spices are now added to the pan, now everything is stirred together; mixing, grinding and flavoring the ‘meat. ‘ The air is now filled with aromatic smells of different herbs and spices. The meal is almost ready, and I could hardly wait. The meal finally came. It was sizzling hot. I poured some coke in my cup and was ready to go. I could see the juices flowing from the food. I grabbed the bowl with had the Kata Kat in it and brought it toward my plate. I put 3 spoonfuls of it into my plate. I tore a piece of the bread that lay near me and dug into the food. As I brought the food closer to my mouth I could smell the blends of spices. When the Kata Kat touched my tongue, the flavors were unleashed. It slithered down my throat leaving me gasping for water. This stuff was spicier than I had thought. I immediately grabbed the coke and chugged it down. Being 10 years old at the time and not realizing that the coke actually makes it worse, I learned the hard way. I now looked quickly for a jug of water. I saw some at the end of the table and sprinted down. I took the jug and started chugging the water down. After I was able to extinguish the fire in my mouth, I looked up and saw everyone looking at me. They all began to laugh. That night, everyone joked about how I couldn’t handle the Pakistani ‘heat’.

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