While at the Global Shapers community annual meet up, I met Indians from 33 different parts of that country for the first time. And for most of them, I was the first Pakistani they had met.
We talked about ideas to shape our communities, and exchanged thoughts on how to eventually change the world. But we also bickered about our intruding ‘rishtedars’ (relatives), debated our politicians, our mutual admiration of Fawad Khan and Deepika, Pakistani dramas, and Indian movies. When it came to Bollywood songs, I knew each lyric to every song they would sing. The biggest deal for me was how easily we all understood each other’s language! We knew so much about each others culture, though none of us had ever visited each other’s countries.
We knew so much about each other’s culture because we have so much common. While other countries have to spend millions of dollars to build linkages, we were as close as could be.
“Send us some of your mutton and vegetarian recipes,” the girls I met from India said to me. “You have a different way of cooking meat,” they explained. “Girls, I make vegetable recipes from an Indian website, no one does vegetables better than you guys,” I replied.
We sat and laughed at the cultural commonalities; things like. “Oh, aap ki ami bhi aisi hi bisti kerti hein?”. We talked about the extensive and overwhelming ‘khatir madarats’ (niceties and formalities) when visiting our uncles and aunts. And of how achaar (pickled anything) makes everything taste so good!
I didn’t feel like I was meeting people from another land, let alone people we could possibly go to war with.
To let other people know how similar we are, here are some of the food traditions and dishes that are common between both Pakistan and Indian:
- Though the recipes vary widely, the spices and ingredients in Pakistan and India are the same.
- Both peoples love to cook aloo gobi (potatoes and cabbage cooked in masala).
- We also share the seasoning preferences, oil choice, and style of cooking certain lentils, vegetable and even meat. These include: aloo gosht (meat and potato curry), bhuna gosht (tenderized meat), daal gosht (meat-lentil curry).
- Snacks such as gol gappay, chat patti and papri chaat are popular in both countries.
- On special occasions, beloved sweets like kheer, gulaab jaman, barfi and kulfi are served on both sides of the border.
These are but a few of the similarities in the food traditions of both India and Pakistan. What do you guys think? Are there other similarities that should make this list? Let us know in the comments below!