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How mutton pulao survived the chicken takeover in Pakistan

How mutton pulao survived the chicken takeover in Pakistan

“I like having mutton pulao once a week for a change because I get fed up of eating chicken,” says one pulao enthusiast
Updated 15 May, 2017

Mutton pulao has been a popular dish throughout the history of Indian cuisine and is still popular in the city.

Mutton and beef have, with time, been replaced with chicken in the dish, but there are still many admirers of the mutton pulao.

The rice is made in mutton stock and an array of spices including coriander seeds, cumin, cardamom, cloves and others.

Mutton pulao came from Central Asia at the time of the arrival of Muslims in the Indian subcontinent and was one of the more popular dishes in Mughal cuisine as well.

The dish is made almost in every house during Eidul Azha and also on most special occasions. A lot of restaurants across the city also offer the dish.

Mutton pulao came from Central Asia at the time of the arrival of Muslims in the Indian subcontinent and was one of the more popular dishes in Mughal cuisine as well. Like the Urdu language, biryani and pulao too varied across the region and was cooked differently in Delhi and Lucknow, the two main cultural centres for the Muslims of the subcontinent. Biryani was more popular in Delhi and pulao in Luknow and residents of both cities had their own recipes for both the rice-based dishes.

The rice is made in mutton stock and an array of spices including coriander seeds, cumin, cardamom, and cloves. — Dawn
The rice is made in mutton stock and an array of spices including coriander seeds, cumin, cardamom, and cloves. — Dawn

Many people who migrated to Pakistan after the partition established shops in downtown Rawalpindi offering pulao for which they used a mix of both recipes.

“We came from Amritsar and brought with us the traditional recipe for mutton pulao, which is still liked by the people. We have been making pulao since and a lot of things have changed with time. For instance, chicken has replaced mutton because the latter now costs too much,” said Ghulam Hussein, owner of a pulao shop in Bhabara Bazaar.

He said the distinct aroma of the dish was due to the use of stock and spices and that basmati rice is used to make pulao at the shop.

Pulao was only made on special occasions before such as weddings when people wanted to serve a special meal, he said.

Pulao is made best with lamb
Pulao is made best with lamb

Mr Hussein added pulao is best made with the meat of a lamb and not that of a goat as the fat lends a soft and creamy quality to the rice, which is also helped by the use of curd.

The manager of a hotel on Murree Road, Munawar Hussein said they also use lamb meat to make pulao because if cooked in goat meat, the rice turns out harder. Beef pulao is also requested by some diners, he said, but that has to be made after an order is placed.

He said mutton pulao is still requested by diners, even though people think the chicken variety is now preferred.

“Chicken pulao costs less than mutton pulao,” he said.

A customer at Bhabara Bazaar, Mohammad Imran said mutton pulao made in a cauldron tastes better than the home cooked version, also because professional chefs follow the traditional recipe.

“I always like having mutton pulao at least once a week for a change because I get fed up of eating chicken,” he said.

"Pulao is best made with the meat of a lamb and not that of a goat as the fat lends a soft and creamy quality to the rice," says pulao shop owner Ghulam Hussein

Mohammad said though biryani also tastes good, he prefers pulao as the use of mutton stock makes it a healthier option.

A resident of Satellite Town, Fayyaz Mohammad said he likes mutton pulao due to its distinct aroma.

“It reminds me of special occasions when I was a child where we would make pulao, and sweet rice and korma. These were traditional dishes which people would not make often because they were spicy,” he said.


Originally published in Dawn, May 15th, 2017

Comments

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Sekhar May 15, 2017 02:31pm
Excellent article. Recipe should have been there.
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Usman May 15, 2017 03:52pm
The best mutton pulao I can remember was the one my mom used to make for lunch on the second day of Eid ul Adha. She used to make it with the broth of large bone-in cuts of mutton. The result was an intensely flavored pulao, that would beat any biryani any day.
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Arshad May 15, 2017 04:05pm
A well cooked "Mutton Biryani" is like the "Rolls Royce" of biryani world !!!
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SATT May 15, 2017 04:21pm
Pulao came from Sanskrit word "pallao".Its an Indian dish.
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waheed May 15, 2017 04:28pm
Now i would have to go and eat mutton pulao at Wakha Restaurent :)
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Prince May 15, 2017 04:38pm
Can you write about vegetarian pulao? Something we should try..
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Jibboo May 15, 2017 05:14pm
Somebody said they were tired of chicken rice...then, try just veg rice for a change!
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kashmiri pandit May 15, 2017 05:51pm
Pulao is very popular dish in our house, specially kashmiri pulao which my mother love to prepare for us during pooja and diwali, I even like bengali sweet pulao (with spicy mutton curry), but this mutton pulao I never try in my life. But one day for sure I will try.
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fairy May 16, 2017 10:05am
@SATT Oh yeah. Mutton pulao is as mush an indian dish as beef biryani is.
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ROshan May 22, 2017 03:06pm
@fairy Pualo can be veg pualo also..not only mutton or beef
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