The most vital mealtime of the day during the Holy Month of Ramadan is unquestionably the pre-dawn meal or “Sehri”. Therefore, it needs to be the most nourishing meal that goes hand in hand with being tasty as well. For survival in the scorching heat of May and June in Pakistan while fasting, requires a healthy yet tasty and easy to prepare Sehri/Pre-Dawn Meal. We’ve made a list of top ten foods that Pakistanis love to eat at Sehri
Paratha is undoubtedlya major component of Pakistani Sehris and no Sehri is complete without it. Paratha is a flatbread that is cooked on a flat pan or tawa with ghee or oil. It is one of the many staple foods of Pakistan that can be taken with pretty much anything from pickle to meat or eggs. Paratha comes in many variants like aloo (potato) ka paratha, mooli (radish) ka paratha or even gobhi (cauliflower) ka paratha etc. Taste anyone of them and each will present a yummy flavor of its own.
2- Eggs (Omelette, Half Fry, Full Fry )
Eggs are one of the basic source of proteins for Pakistanis. They are easy to prepare and take the minimum amount of time in the rush-hours before Sehri. They are not only tasty but strongly beneficial to human health as they are full of proteins and essential vitamins. You can prepare them the way you like as the options are endless. Get them fried sunny side up or hard boiled or you could make a cheese omelet or just have them with a paratha and cup of tea.
Ah! The gift from Punjab that keeps on giving! In the scorching summer heat of May and June, lassi looks like heaven in a glass! Lassi is basically a blend of yogurt, sugar and water but you can have it the way you like it, and add anything in it you like. Sweet lassi can be mixed with Sharbat-e-badam or even made into a smoothie by adding fruit like strawberries etc. However, the original salted lassi aka namkeen lassi is a salty savory drink which is sometimes flavored with ground or roasted cumin. This yogurt based drink was originally from Punjab but is now consumed globally with great delight. Lassi keeps you hydrated and has a cooling effect on your internal organs which is necessary for survival in the long hot days of fasting.
4- Phaniyan (Vermicelli)
Vermicelli, commonly known as phaniyan is the traditional breakfast of Pakistan in Ramadan. They should also be known as “Sehri on the go” for they can be prepared in minutes and are highly nutritious. All you need to do is dip them in a mug or warm milk with sugar and your Sehri meal in a cup is ready to pour down the hatch.
Nihari is not only the heart-throb of Lahoris but it is a dish that is widely admired all over Pakistan. Nihari is a slow cooked stew originally made from camel meat but now it is being made into many variants ranging from chicken nihari to beef nalli nihari. It can be served with roti or naan alike and coriander leaves, green chilies, and golden-fried onions are used as a garnish. Upon consumption at sehri, Nihari will help you stay hunger-free throughout the day as it is nourishing and rich in nutrients.
There is no reason you should skip yogurt out from your grocery list when you go shopping this Ramadan. Yogurt is one of the healthiest, tastiest and not to forget one of the lightest items you can have for Sehri. You can have a bowl of yogurt with some sugar and have tons of benefits. The composition of yogurt is entirely milk and by having it as the first meal of the day we get a rich dose of animal protein. A mere six ounce of yogurt contains about nine grams of protein. Other favorable factors in yogurt consist of calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B-2, and vitamin B-12. Yogurt also has a good amount of “Probiotics” in it, which are friendly bacteria that aid in enhancing our immunity and promoting a healthy digestive tract.
Qeema is a traditional meat dish of Pakistan and it is your protein packed dish for Sehri. Qeema is a word derived from the Turkish language which means “minced meat”. Qeema can be made from any kind of meat but the most popular are beef or lamb (mutton) qeema. One of the major benefits of qeema is that it can be made in a single pot, taking no more than 15 minutes. It is done by taking salted ground meat, which is sizzled in a pan until it has a brown texture. After that, the meat is set aside and chopped vegetables like onion, garlic, peas, tomatoes and chilies are poured into the pan. Sometimes it is added with diced potatoes or peas. When it is all faintly caramelized, the meat and dry spices go in too. You can prepare it with potatoes or peas or whatever you like. Tawa Qeema Recipe is the perfect sehri meal loaded with protein and taste. Another good thing about qeema is that you can prepare and store it. It won’t spoil for a week so you won’t have to bother preparing it again and again in the rush hours of Sehri. Take it with naan, paratha or a plain ol’ chapatti, it will not disappoint your taste buds.
8- Green Elachi Qawa
Qawa is a traditional green tea that was popularly consumed in Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, some regions of Central Asia and in the Kashmir Valley. However, with its arousing aroma and enlightening taste, it has taken over the hearts of people all around the continent. Qawa is originally an Arabic word used for a drink that was made out of brewed coffee beans. However, the Pakistani variant is quite different and is a green aromatic drink which is much more refreshing and healthy. This tea is prepared by boiling green tea leaves with saffron wisps, cinnamon bark, and cardamom husk while sometimes it is added with Kashmiri roses which give an immense aroma to the drink. Commonly, it is served with sugar or honey and crushed almonds or walnuts. Sometimes it is made as an herbal infusion only, without the addition of green tea leaves. Qawa helps you stay light and healthy throughout the fast and will also help you lose weight as it contains detoxifying agents. So, a cup of qawa is a must try in this Ramadan, if you are willing to stay healthy and fit.
9- Nan Channay
Nan chanay is one of the most relished food items in the history of Pakistani Food. Chanay is basically a variety of chickpeas which are commonly referred to as desi-chickpeas as they are originally from Asia. These chickpeas or chanay have a darker and much coarser coat and are cultivated all over the subcontinent. And naan is a savory flat bread which is traditionally cooked in a clay oven aka tandoor and sprinkled with sesame seeds. The cooking style of chanay changes with the locality like in the Sindh region, they are cooked as a plain curry while Punjabi style chanay are made with a spicy curry with a sour and tangy taste and sometimes added with potatoes or even chicken. You can have the chanay with either a paratha or roti but if you truly want to enjoy, then a naan is highly recommended. For sehri, halwa poori channay is highly accepted as they are healthy, low in fats but high in nutrients like potassium, manganese and protein.
And last but not the least on the list is our very own ‘’chai”. The consumption of tea in Pakistan, where it is locally known as chai (چائے), is of vital importance to its culture. Its agreeably the most consumed beverage of Pakistan and almost no meal is complete without it. Pakistani tea is a diverse blend of flavor having many varieties regarding the vicinity. For example, the Kashmiri chai and the Qawaare popular in the KPK regions while Karachi prefers a more vivid version like the masala chai. Punjabis prefer a rich, creamy cup of doodhpatti. Green tea is also becoming popular and is served with ginger or cinnamon. Whatever the variant is, tea is one of the basic necessities of Pakistan and no Sehri can be complete without it.