Cooking has always been a hobby of mine. I prefer cooking traditional Pakistani dishes, especially ones from Pakhtun cuisine, because they are easier for me to learn from my mom. There is one particular dish that I love to make, and was one of the first I learnt to cook from her. I will show you how to make Spicy Painda.

‘Painda’ is a Pashto word that means “a group of people sitting together”. It is a dish typical to Pakhtuns, specifically those from Lakki Marwat, Bannu and Karak. It’s also called Sohbut in some other areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Besides its unparalleled taste, the dish is famous for the style in which it is served. The serving dish for painda is always a very large one (also known as a thaal), and everyone eats from the same dish. This reflects the love and unity that is characteristic to Pakhtun culture.

In Pakhtun homes, whenever we have a family get together, spicy Painda is a must. I still remember my childhood days, when every Friday our whole family used to sit down in a circle around the dish, enjoying Painda with desi ghee and black pepper, while our grandfather amused us with his stories. Painda has always been a customary Friday night meal for us as a family, and we all looked forward to it. I am sharing with you my mother’s recipe, and I hope your family will have fond memories of it as well.

Ingredients:

  • Boneless Chicken – 1 and ½ Kg (Cut in cubes)
  • Tomatoes- 4
  • Onions- 1
  • Ginger Garlic paste- 1 Tbsp
  • Red chili powder- 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Potatoes- 3
  • Haldi (Turmeric) – 1tsp
  • Zeera powder- 1tbsp (optional, u can use whole zeera as well)
  • Cooking oil- 1 cup
  • Green chillies-3
  • Garam Masala Powder-1tbsp
  • Coriander-1 cup 9 (chop this finely)
  • Chappati/Roti/naan-8 (freshly made)

Tarka:

  • Desi ghee- 2 tbsp
  • Chopped Ginger- ½ tsp
  • Chopped Garlic- ½ tsp

Instructions:

For the gravy

  • Heat oil in a pan
  • Fry onions with garlic ginger paste till brown
  • Add tomatoes, red chili powder, zeera powder, salt, haldi and cook till oil rises up and separates from gravy
  • Add boneless chicken and cook for 5-8 minutes till chicken is thoroughly cooked
  • Add potatoes and let it cook till the potatoes are tender
  • Add a jug of water and cover the pan; let it simmer for 15-20 minutes on low heat
  • Now cut flame and add green chilies and coriander on the top
  • Cut roti into small bite-sized pieces
  • Put pieces in a large dish or thaal
  • Pour gravy on top and mix together – be careful not to break the roti pieces

 Tarka

  • Heat desi ghee and add ginger and garlic with a pinch of black pepper, then pour over dish

Painda is now ready to be served and shared! Enjoy your meal!