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Anne Noyes Saini covers food culture and immigration in New York City. She has contributed to The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Narratively, Serious Eats, WNYC-FM, WBUR-FM, and City Limits.
sheldrake, thank you so much for sharing this information about regional cooking (other than Punjabi!) within Pakistan. I will certainly keep an eye out in Pakistani restaurants for some of these dishes you've noted -- many of which are new to me!
I see that Hunza is located very close to Pakistan's borders with Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and western China; incidentally, those dishes you describe sound like they may be influenced by Central Asian and/or Persian cuisine. ??
Can I ask what you call your sourdough bread? I'm wondering if it's at all similar to the bread Punjabis make with fermented yogurt (khameer)?
amareshjoshi, have you tried Shreyas in Pune for Mahrashtrian thalis? :) But yes, I agree that home cooking is usually much better -- for most cuisines (except street food!).
Is amsul very different from kokum? (The latter is easy to come by at the Patel Bros. grocery stores.)
Panfusine, many thanks for this information -- stay tuned for a small update re: filter coffee in the main piece. And yes, so many aspects of South Asian cuisine deserve a full article!
Panfusine, thanks for pointing this out! In my experience in South Indian homes, Bru has been the go-to for coffee. Clearly, I've been missing out.
sheldrake, that's a good point. Aside from Punjab, there are several distinct regions within Pakistan (e.g., Sindh, Balochistan, and the tribal/northwestern regions). To be honest, I don't know a lot about these other regions of Pakistan (I haven't spent any time in Pakistan, and the Pakistani home cooking I've had here in North America has been Punjabi). Can you share some basic information about cooking traditions in these other regions? Do you know of any restaurants in NYC/NJ serving these cuisines?
Re: the map -- when borders are still "in dispute," it's tricky to render a map that makes everyone happy (the "Durand Line" between Pakistan and Afghanistan is another example of a problematic border). I hope you understand.
To be honest, I usually make upma at home (using a friend's Andhra-style recipe -- so easy! so good!), so I rarely look for it in restaurants. The version I've seen at the Ganesh Temple doesn't *look* very encouraging, but it might be worth checking out.
Saravanna Bhavan is another good bet. Pongal and Tiffin Wallah, also in Murray Hill, are two other possibilities.
If you're willing to travel a bit farther (to Somerset, NJ), I hear amazing things about the food at Hoysala from a trusted source!
DanEnPlace, there are many variations on Hyderabadi Biryani, and keep in mind that it also has been "adjusted" to be vegetarian (Sapthagiri does not serve meat or eggs). But you might be happier at Deccan Spice (a few blocks down Newark Ave. from Sapthagiri), where you can get your Biryani with Mirchi Ka Salan, in proper Hyderabadi style.
amareshjoshi, The Fish Curry at Bombay Duck isn't exactly street food, but I hear you. I would love to find those dishes (esp. amti!!) in NYC restaurants, but have not been able to. Do you know of a good source? (Bombay Duck has a Maharashtrian-style daal on their menu, but I can't vouch for it's authenticity...)
hh deluxe, indeed -- my favorite source of kathi rolls in NYC is Thelewala in the West Village (http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2011/04/a-sandwich-a-day-kati-rolls.html). Their Okra Roll is amazing: http://realcheapeats.com/nyc/2012/thelewala-okra-roll-west-village-manhattan-ny/.
persimmon, what is the name (in Bengali) of that lamb curry? It may be possible to get it at Neerob -- their steam table is huge and varying.
Punjabis also love Jalebi; you're right, it has to be fresh!! Maharajah Sweets in Jackson Heights (http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/12/regional-cuisine-south-asia-pakistan-punjab.html) has it, but I can't vouch for its quality.
As for the condensed milk desserts -- are you referring to Mishti Doi? Aladdin, a Bangladeshi fast-food + sweets shop in Astoria, Queens (36th Ave.), has a very nice version of Mishti Doi -- which I almost included in this piece.
MandyEats, that's definitely the Unda Bhurji Pav at Masala Times. Unda Bhurji is also available in a "Roll" (aka, a parantha) at Masala Times. To clarify, Pav is a Portuguese-influenced bread roll that's especially popular in Mumbai; it's at all like a burrito!
MoMoH and hh deluxe, you're right to point out that Indian Punjab and Pakistani Punjab were once the same state. (Indeed, my father-in-law grew up in pre-Partition Lahore -- though all our family is now on the Indian side of the border.) It's also true that Punjabi cooking on both sides of the India-Pakistan border is very similar, despite the subtle differences I noted. Thanks for clarifying.
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