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The difference between Indian and Pakistani Food?

India and Pakistan border one another in Asia, typically Asian food is a mix of sweet, spicy and sour flavours. Both fuse their rich culture and heritage into their cooking recipes and techniques, whilst Indian cuisine is largely influenced by years of history by different groups, cultures and societies. Due to the Muslim majority across India and Pakistan, there are a lot of halal preferences which impact the ingredients and cooking techniques used.

Pakistani Cuisine

Pakistani’s staple ingredients used in most of their dishes are meat, lamb, beef or chicken being the most common source of protein across most Pakistanis’ diets. Across Pakistan\’s regions, the cuisine varies, in the north, dhal and roti are popular as well as a combination of raw fruits, nuts and seeds both healthy, affordable and easy to preserve.

Another northern city: Lahore is well known for its rich food culture, predominantly serving a range of slow-cooked meat soups, including Nihari (lamb shanks) and Haleem, both huge specialities of Lahore.

In the Punjab region, in the east, the cuisine predominantly overlaps with the north through the use of meat and preservable fruits and nuts. However, east Pakistan uses a lot of dairy products therefore rich, buttery curries are most favourable with common sides of roti, pilau and saag (finely chopped green vegetables, herbs and spices). A southeastern province: Sindhi is heavily influenced by Middle Eastern, Central Asian and South Asian cuisines, and boasts a variety of curries normally eaten with Phulka (wheat-based flatbread) and rice. The cuisine in Sindhi is typically spicier compared to provinces in the north.

Karachi is located on the southern tip of Pakistan on the coast, consequently, cooks and prepares more of a variety of seafood dishes such as Green Masala Fish (a spicy green fish curry). Street food is common along Karachi’s coast, stools BBQ grill different fishes and shellfish, and sell marinated with zingy, spicy sauces. The southern cuisine is influenced by the Muhajir people who moved to Pakistan in 1947, it is a fusion of Mughal, Awadhi and Hyderabadi. Neighbouring countries; China and India provide similarities and diversity in their food culture too through similar sweet and spicy ingredients.

Indian Cuisine

India’s cuisine is impacted by its geographical location and rich culture along with its celebrations, festivals and traditions. India offers an astounding variety of vegetarian dishes, they consider cows to be sacred animals and a large population of India are Muslims, therefore follow Halal diet guidelines. This leaves vegetables as a popular choice to use in dishes. However, people enjoy both vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets depending on religion and lifestyle.

Due to the tropical climate in the south, it is popular to use coconut milk, commonly used in curries. This is often preferred by those who prefer mild dishes as the coconut milk makes the curries sweeter and counteracts the spice. Whereas Pakistani cuisine is commonly spicy and less creamy.

Each Indian region is prone to use locally available spices, vegetables, herbs and fruits. Correct soil types and climate are vital in producing India’s most common ingredients, such as rice, tea, spices and sugarcane. In the northern regions of India onions and coriander are commonly used to bind curries together rather than coconut milk and as a result curries in the north are significantly spicier than curries made in the south.

Pakistani cuisine relies on simpler flavours, and India’s spice palette is incredibly rich and intricate. India’s core herbs and spices are cumin, coriander, cloves, red chilli, turmeric and saffron. Common sides in Indian cuisine are naan bread, Bombay Aloo potatoes and onion bhajis.


Whilst Pakistani and Indian foods are prepared and cooked similarly, typically Indians consume more vegetables and a wider range of herbs and spices. Whereas Pakistanis consume more protein through their heavily meat-based diet, however side dishes tend to be potato, bread or vegetable based. However, Indian side dishes are commonly deep fried such as onion bhajis and fried okra. Indian curries are also more rich and creamy with their use of onion and coconut milk in contrast with Pakistan\’s main curry ingredients being solely garlic, tomatoes and ginger which doesn’t usually develop a thick sauce but marinates the meat instead.

At Royal Mahal, we have a wide range of Pakistani and Indian dishes that are sure to satisfy your taste buds. Our Lahori Masala Fish, Lahori Haleem, Biryani and Falooda are all favourites amongst regulars. Be sure to try our new and improved Lahori Nihari on your next visit, it will not disappoint!

2 thoughts on “The difference between Indian and Pakistani Food?”

  1. In my opinion, Pakistani food is better. There is a misconception that they only eat meat foods. They have foods like Channea and daal too. They also use spices such as cumin, coriander, cloves, red chilli, turmeric and saffron.

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