Street food for the soul

Street food for the soul
The preparation of the dish is a treat for foodies

On your next trip to Pakistan, indulge in a plate of piping hot bun kababs



By Deepa Narwani

Published: Fri 23 Mar 2018, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 28 Mar 2018, 3:54 PM

Some of the best meals are found on the streets and the one thing that Pakistanis from all over the country and the world undoubtedly love is the delicious bun kebab! This Pakistani take on the humble burger comes to the rescue after a hard day at work when hunger pangs strike. The street food that is wrapped in melt-in-your-mouth buns with a juicy mutton patty has a number of different regional variations, a favourite being the addition of a fried egg. It's the stuff foodies dreams are made of!
There is often debate about the origins of the dish as both Lahore and Karachi lay their claim on it. Nevertheless, it is a Pakistani creation and a common sight in the evening all across the country. There are lively stalls selling bun kebabs that satiate the appetites of those looking for a quick and zesty snack. The UAE too has a number of Pakistani restaurants serving up this delicacy.
The portable food stalls selling this roadside attraction are a big hit, as the fulfilling dish doesn't cause a dent in the pocket. The street side vendors in Pakistan have made a profitable business by selling this dish on popular streets and markets and cater to peckish office workers and students, who can be seen standing around in a group, relaxing at the end of the day by cracking jokes and indulging in a plate of piping hot bun kebabs. 
The factor that makes the mouth-watering dish a rage is the different ingredients that come together to create this delectable delight. Unlike regular meat patties, the bun kebab patty is mixed with ground lentils, cumin seeds, spiced with red chillies and egg batter that is made into a mixture. The spicy patty is then shallow-fried and topped with an amalgamation of onions, tomatoes, cucumber, coriander and chutney in a burger bun.
The preparation of the dish is a treat for foodies. It involves watching the vendor frying the patty, toasting the buns, adding luscious mint chutney, sliced onions and closing it with panache. You can even customise the spice level as it is being prepared right in front of you. Just the sight of it can make the stomach growl!
Some of the different variations of the dish include mutton, chicken, beef and the anday wala bun kebab (egg). There are also scrumptious veggie options such as the daal bun kebab (lentil) and aloo wala bun kebab (potato). Its best companion is the fiery chutney that adds more zing to the dish. In fact, it is the chutney in the bun kebabs that makes the whole difference, and this unique taste can't be found even in the most famous international burger chains. To cool off from all the spice, it is often enjoyed with a cup of doodh pati (milk tea) or a cold drink.
On your next trip to Pakistan or an outing to a Pakistani restaurant in the city, don't forget to tuck into this dish that will tickle your tastebuds and is a feast for the senses.
Full of flavour and comfort
Pakistani street food snacks don't just comprise the bun kebab. It also includes a variety of tangy, soft, pungent, crunchy, zesty, salty and sweet fare. Some of these appetising dishes include samosas, aaloo chane, bhutta, and masala fries, among other tasty dishes.
To experience a true juxtaposition of flavours, sample a plate of dahi bhallay, that is surprisingly light on the palate and is served with lip-smacking spices and yoghurt with a base of bread-fried lentil fritters. Another popular snack is gol gappe, featuring a spicy chickpea-potato salad concealed within the shell, yoghurt sauce, and tamarind chutney on top that should be relished in a single bite. The paratha chicken roll smeared in ginger, garlic paste and turmeric and tender bits of spiced chicken and fiery sauce rolled into a chewy paratha, is another must-have. 
A renowned sweet dish is the doodh jalebi and people can be seen queuing to get their hands on hot bowls of crispy orange jalebi soaked in milk for a memorable nighttime treat. 
- deepa@khaleejtimes.com


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