Baba Ice cream In Multan

If you visit Multan don’t missed to try Baba Ice cream .Its very tasty and Delicious and available in variant flavor like ,Pista ,Badam ,Kaju ,Akhrot,Khoya,Mango,and many more flavors .Last time when i was in Multan Every Evening i went there to eat Baba Ice cream

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They have 2 branches in Multan ,1 is in Sader-bazar and 2nd is in Gulgasht Colony ,I went to Sader-Bazar branch because its near to my home.Every time there is too much rush of the peoples.If you ride on a Car then you stay there waiter will come to you and takes your order.After short time he will brings your order to you and collect his money according to order .there is 3 size of cups available ,Small,Medium,Large

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Multan is very famous about Multani Sohan halwa and the 2nd item is Baba Ice cream

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Different Flavors of ice cream

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Menu of Ice Creams flavors

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Sader-Bazar Branch

The resident of Multan peoples they like it very much and visitors which came from other cities also like very much .

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5 unique and guilt-free Eid recipes to try this year

Eid-ul-Fitr is here so let’s gear up our energies to celebrate it with all the biryanis, qormas, sweet vermicelli and the regular festive fare.

Usually the day after Eid though, we crave something light and healthy yet different to indulge ourselves and our guests.

Easy and delicious!
Easy and delicious!

Today’s menu, therefore, has all the healthy ingredients along with meat and assorted nuts (small portions though of almonds, raisins, coconut) — which can be a part of your daily diet with lots of vegetables.

Chiken Badami

Murgh-Badami

Ingredients

1 chicken of 1 1/2 kg, cut in 8 pieces 1 cup yoghurt 2 medium-sized onions, sliced 1/2 cup peeled almonds 1 tablespoon pepper corns 2 tablespoons poppy seeds 1 tablespoon coconut, desiccated 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste 1 teaspoon cumin powder 1-inch cinnamon stick 2 cardamoms Pinch of saffron 3/4 cup oil Salt to taste

Method

Dry roast and grind together almonds, peppercorns, poppy seeds and coconut. In a bowl, put yoghurt and add the roasted ingredients plus cumin powder, ginger-garlic paste, salt. Mix well and marinate the chicken in the mixture. Refrigerate for an hour.

In a pan, heat oil and brown the onions, with a cinnamon stick and cardamom. Add chicken and saffron. Cook on low heat — better still place cooking pan on a tawa. The chicken will become tender in its own juices, but if needed add half a cup of water. Remove from heat when oil separates. Serve hot with parathas or rice.

Tomatoes in Coconut Milk

tomato-curry-with-coconut-milk

Ingredients

6 ripe tomatoes 1 large onion, sliced 8 whole red chillies 6 cloves garlic, chopped 2 cups coconut milk (make from the coconut powder easily available in the market) 1/4 cup oil Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Heat oil in a pan, add garlic and fry till aroma comes out; do not brown. Remove from oil and set aside. In the same oil, fry onions till golden. Meanwhile heat water in a pot, put tomatoes in the hot water; take out from the water after a while and remove skin, but keep them whole. Keep aside. Add red chillies and garlic to the pan.

Pour in the coconut milk, and keep stirring to avoid curdling. Boil for a couple of minutes, add salt and pepper. Arrange tomatoes in the coconut milk. Cover and cook till tomatoes are soft but still whole. Remove from heat. Serve hot with daal bhari puris.

Daal Bhari Puris

dal puri_3

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup gram daal (chana) 1/2 cup yellow moong daal 2 cloves garlic 3 peppercorns 2 black cardamoms 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds 4 cups wheat flour (you can use half maida and half wheat flour, if so desired) 4 tablespoons oil Salt to taste Oil for frying

Method

Wash and soak daals for at least three to four hours. Drain and blend to a paste using little water. Keep aside. Grind the spices. Put two tablespoons oil in a frying pan and fry the lentil paste till brown and aroma comes out.

Add a little more oil if needed, but remember that the paste should be dry. Add salt for taste. Add the remaining oil to the flours and knead out stiff dough. I added a pinch of baking powder while kneading. Roll out the dough into big rotis. Cut out small rounds using a cutter.

Place a little daal on one and cover with another round. Make as many as you can. Heat oil and fry to a golden brown. It’s a delicious accompaniment to this tomato dish.

For convenience and to save time, you can prepare daal and freeze it and take out and thaw at room temperature whenever you need it and fill inside the puris. It will soften as the puris fry so no need to rewarm it separately.

Don’t forget that repeated reheating food is hazardous for health.

Baigan Ke Chapli Kebab

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Ingredients

1/2 kg eggplant 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced 1/2 cup onion chopped, finely 1/2 cup green chilli, chopped 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder 1 tablespoon green coriander, chopped 2 tablespoons gram flour, more if needed Salt to taste

Method

Wash eggplants and roast them on fire till blackish. Put in a plastic bag and seal (not in coloured one,) and let it cool a bit. Rub lightly to take of the skin, clean any leftover skin and mash. Add all the ingredients and shape into kebabs. Heat oil and fry till golden brown. Serve hot.

Omali (Arabian Bread Pudding)

Omali-Dessert-Recipe

Ingredients

6 croissants, broken into big pieces 200 gm sugar 3 cups milk 1/2 tablespoon orange blossom (essence) 3/4 cup fresh cream 1/4 cup cashew nuts 1 tablespoon raisins 2 tablespoons almonds, coarsely chopped

Method

Grease an oblong transparent baking dish and arrange croissants in it. In a deep pan boil milk and add sugar till it is dissolved. Pour over the croissants. Let it soak. Most of the milk will be absorbed. Sprinkle orange blossom, cover with cream and spread the nuts on top. Bake in a moderate oven for 15 minutes. It can be served warm or cold.

 

 

Weekend grub: Marcel’s delivers good coffee and croissants, but fails to impress otherwise

Maybe it’s teething issues but we’re hoping they can pull their socks up soon because we’re secretly rooting for ’em

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Marcel’s is the latest cafe on the block to make headlines.

Yep, it’s the new talk of town (and Karachi Food Diary!); if you haven’t tried it, you’ve probably definitely heard of it.

Umair Khalili, the man behind the eatery tells Images, “I think this city lacked a place which offers a great ambiance to have coffee and some nice breads and desserts and that’s where I think we fit in Karachi’s food landscape, it’s a kind of vacuum we’re trying to fill.”

The bistro serves up some mean gelatos!
The bistro serves up some mean gelatos!

From the Rs 25000 Verhona chocolate cake (that’s Rs 3000 + tax a slice!) to more affordable options like appetizers, sandwiches and pastas, Marcel’s has something for everyone. But most people have been grumbling about how the place is way too pricey.

They've got some extravagant cakes up on display!
They’ve got some extravagant cakes up on display!

The owner justifies the price point; given the use of quality ingredients – most of which, if not all, are sourced from abroad – but also disagrees that the cafe falls towards the expensive side.

“I don’t think my food is too expensive, I think my food is priced competitively. I mean if you pay Rs 650-700 for a sandwich, it isn’t considered expensive anymore, is it?” he asks.

“However, what’s happening is that unlike other restaurants, we have unique offerings on the menu. Our menu is suitable for someone who wants to spend Rs 900 on a meal but also accommodates someone who wants to spend Rs 5000. It’s really about what you want; some numbers on the menu may give the impression that we’re expensive but we’re not, we just happen to offer expensive things too,” he explained.

Amid all this hooplah, we decided to check Marcel’s out for ourselves and viola!

Where to go

Marcel’s is located on Khayaban-e-Roomi, Block 5, Clifton. It’s hard to miss since it’s opened up where once upon a time a really happening Pizza Hut outlet used to be. For a lot of us, that space ignites some major nostalgia.

However, it looks completely different now. The joint is spacious, airy and definitely looks upscale; the decor has been done by Naheed Mashooqullah and she’s somehow managed to make it look fancy while still retaining a casual bistro vibe. You can even see the staff freshly baking their bread through glass cabinets on the left when you first walk in, right after their drool-worthy dessert and bread display.

But did it taste as good as it looked? We’ll just get to that…

When to go

Marcel’s opens its doors at 4pm everyday until 1am. A little birdie told us that they might start serving breakfast soon so we’re guessing these timings are going to change and thank goodness because we could really use their coffee in the morning!

For Ramazan, the bistro will be open from 5pm everyday for takeaways and 6:15pm onwards for Iftar. They will also be serving sehri till 3:15am.

Things we tried

Bread basket: At a place like Marcel’s that prides itself on its bread, we were really expecting to be wowed by the bread basket.

The basket includes focaccia, maize baguette, kraftkorn, multigrain and/or maize. To be honest, we were a little let down when we got an assortment so basic. Barely anything surprised us and while it tasted fresh, it wasn’t great. And this is supposed to be their USP!

Prawn coconut parcels: We had high expectations from this appetizer too since people were all praise for it on social media and as delicious as it sounds, the prawn coconut parcels missed the mark.

Stuffed with coconut flakes inside a crisp fried coating, the prawn was overpowered by the dry drupe and was dripping with oil. The punchy sauce added a much-needed zing but we were still fishing for the prawn in our mouth while sifting through way too many coconut shavings.

Smoked wings: Supposedly one of their most sought after appetizers, we didn’t think the wings were something to write home about. The Asian sauce with the smoked wings didn’t really complement the BBQ sauce on it.

While the chicken was decent, that’s all it was. It wasn’t a memorable dish, perhaps due to the clash of the sauces.

Quinoa salad: We were hoping the salad would be loaded with quinoa but sadly, it was merely a dressing on top.

The candied walnuts, feta and cherry tomatoes were good on their own but didn’t work together as a whole, perhaps it was the dressing but it tasted kind of funky.

Red snapper with pesto: This was one of the first few dishes we tried at their soft launch and it was actually really good!

The snapper was well-cooked with a crispy skin and the risotto was seasoned well, soaked in generous pesto which was the best-o (sorry not sorry about that one!).

Angus burger: When we think of an Angus burger, we picture some juicy grub. The one at Marcel’s tasted surprisingly ordinary; the patty lacked seasoning, was almost bland and tasted over-processed even. It was like eating boiled meat which was stuffed with vegetables. Neither did the bun taste great and overall, it was pretty average. We were really missing the juicy factor of the burger.

We enjoyed the side of fries though… if that counts.

Seafood linguine: The seafood linguine was our least favourite dish at Marcel’s. The dish had no visual appeal and the taste did not make up for it.

It was tasteless to the point that we couldn’t differentiate between the pasta, the fish or even other seafood items. The only flavour we could get was the bell pepper and that’s not a win at all.

We also think seafood pastas generally taste better in a red sauce instead of white so there’s that too.

Croissant pudding: We were really looking forward to this one but with a heavy heart, we have to report that this too was a miss.

The croissant pudding was just too dense. It felt like eating a blob of maida, which was highly upsetting as we were hoping the dessert would make up for the lacklustre mains.

Again, we had it on three occasions and each time, it tasted a little different.

Chocolate and almond croissant: The croissants from Marcel’s are really, really yummy and have actually become a staple breakfast item in the past days! There is some inconsistency with the chocolate ones; sometimes they drizzle chocolate on top, sometimes they don’t. The amount of chocolate inside also keeps changing but again, this is something they’re aware of and working on.

On the other hand, we’ve tried the almond croissant on multiple occasions and it was flaky, crispy and baked to perfection each time. Now these we give a seal of approval to!

New York cheesecake: The consistency was dense and it lacked oomph. The flavour of the cheesecake would also change within the same bite, showing inconsistency within the same slice.

That being said, the cake is apparently supposed to taste that way.

Umair explains; “The cheesecake consists of camembert cheese and we do not use any cream cheese spreads. Some people find the consistency to be off and that’s only because this is a completely different cheese, very rich, thick. It’s not the cheesecake you get at any other bakery because we didn’t want to serve things that are already being served.”

Macarons: This French patisserie classic is delicate and tricky to master but Marcel’s seems to have got it down.

These were gooey, light but also firm and subtly nutty; best paired with a bitter cup of black coffee!

My quest for the best kulfi faluda in Lahore

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Come summer in Pakistan and those who can afford it jet off to exotic foreign locales to cool off, while some head to the hills in the north. Those that can’t do either, well, they don’t do anything. Except eat, that is, with a heavy preference for ice cream, gelato, and of course — kulfi faluda.

Undoubtedly one of the best ‘coolants’ to eat/drink in the summer is rich, creamy, milky faluda. It’s not just rich in flavour, but, according to its sellers, it cleanses the body from inside, cooling it off. And with the kind of summer our part of the world endures, we need lots of it.

Faluda is a thick, cold beverage/dessert, especially popular here in the subcontinent. It is usually prepared by cooking congealed milk or khoyawith milk for hours and hours until the mixture is thick; it is then left to cool and then ideally served with arrowroot or wheat starch vermicelli and a sweet syrup.

Variations include a block or cone of kulfi, basil seeds or tukh malanga, crushed almond, rose water, fruit, jelly, Panadanas syrup or kewra and what not. When served with kulfi, it’s called ‘kulfi faluda’. Before being added to a faluda, the tukh malanga are soaked in water so they can swell and become soft and jelly-like. They hardly have a flavour, but just add a slimy texture to faluda, which isn’t too bad.

First, a little history…

Originally called Paloodeh or Pālūde, this tasty treat is an improvisation of the Persian dessert called faloodeh. It is a traditional Iranian dessert that originates from Shiraz in Iran where it is famous as ‘Shirazi Faloodeh’. It is believed to have been brought to the Indian subcontinent during the Mughal era. According to one of the stories, Mughal emperor Jahangir was fond of having faluda with cream and fruit.

In the south of Bangladesh, a variant of faluda is made with Pandanas extract, pistachios, Shagu pearls, creamed coconut and mango as well as milk and vermicelli. Some Bangladeshis like to add strong black tea to get a distinct flavour out of it.

It is also very similar to Thai drink nam manglak, which is made with shredded jelly, tapioca pearls, Job’s Tears mixed with sugar, water and rose water. Several other countries, such as South Africa, Mauritius and Iraq have their own versions of this delicacy.

The quest for the perfect faluda begins…

With the sweltering summer having arrived in Lahore, I decided to get my first taste of this heavenly dessert and explore where I can get the real deal from.

This quest was very different from my previous — wherein I was searching for the perfect nihari in Lahore. Nevertheless it was a challenge that I was determined to conquer!

Also read: My quest for the best nihari in Lahore

I claim to have a huge sweet tooth and anything sweet is a weakness, from jalebi to ras malai to mithai to cakes, pastries and tarts to halwas. The list is endless (and mouth watering). So I couldn’t resist the temptation to eat faluda as soon the thought crossed my mind.

Lahore has way too many options to choose from when it comes to faluda, and in all forms and variations. I’ve had a couple of varieties before but this time I thought I’d look for the best among the many names around town. I was off from work, so I called up a friend who picked me up in no time on his bike and off we went after dinner.

Mashallah Nafees Kasuri Faluda

The faluda from Punjab’s city Kasur is the most popular here, as are that city’s andrassas and fish. So naturally, I decided my first stop will be ‘Mashallah Nafees Kasuri Falooda’ on main Ichhra road. They claim to sell the original Kasuri faluda.

Mashallah Kasuri prides itself on the authenticity of their faluda recipe — Photo by the author
Mashallah Kasuri prides itself on the authenticity of their faluda recipe — Photo by the author

As soon as we arrived in front of the shop, I was struck by the interior. Decorated with mirrors of all shapes and sizes, it was unlike any other faluda shop I had visited. The first thing I uttered as soon as I saw it was: “What’s with this Sheesh Mahal here?” I was impressed; the place was spick and span with neatly set tables and a large counter behind which the owner sat taking payments and orders. The only thing missing was a maharani, since the place looked like a royal darbar.

Its sparkling interior makes Mashallah Nafees Kasuri Faluda stand out from the other faluda shops in the city — Photo by the author
Its sparkling interior makes Mashallah Nafees Kasuri Faluda stand out from the other faluda shops in the city — Photo by the author

We found ourselves a table, sat down and placed our order, which was just one bowl of faluda that my friend and I intended to share. We ordered a small one, but what was served was bigger than what I expected. And accompanying it was a small bowl of ice. It was only later that we found out they sold one-size servings, unlike their competitors who offered small and large portions.

A large bowl of five-layer faluda with extra ice — Photo by the author
A large bowl of five-layer faluda with extra ice — Photo by the author

The faluda was laid out in the bowl in five layers: the sheera (syrup), vermicelli, a block of qulfi, crushed ice and rabri. I had never had faluda like this.

On asking the waiter about the layers and the accompanying extra ice, we were told that this is how the delicacy is served in Kasur. I also notice that there’s no tukh malanga because I’ve always had faluda with it and thought it was an essential element.

“The rabri is actually not sweet. The whole thing is made sweet by that syrup at the bottom and a small quantity of sugar in the kulfi that you can choose to remove. So basically, those who want a sugar-free faluda can do away with the sheera. And the tukh malanga is not part of the original Kasuri faluda. People here in Lahore add it themselves,” the waiter enlightened us.

We dug in, mixed it all up and devoured the faluda in no time time with the vermicelli often slipping off from the spoon. I could taste every item in that bowl distinctly: the slightly salty, thick rabri, the vermicelli, the not-oversweet kulfi, all sweetened with the layer of sheera alone. No dried fruit, no nothing. It definitely was a treat well worth the Rs130 we paid.

After our dessert, we went up to the owner, Sheikh Hassan, for a little chit-chat. “My great-grandfather used to sell dairy products before Partition in the main bazaar of what is now Kasur. His Indian friend back then gave him the idea of selling faluda as well. So our business began then and there. By the grace of God, my great-grandfather was the pioneer of the faludabusiness in Pakistan. A few years after Partition, he came to Lahore where we have been in the business for over 60 years. My great grandfather’s three brothers were also in the same business, but they stayed back in Kasur and their families are now running those businesses. Faluda is very good for cancer patients as it cleanses the stomach. And one glass of rabri a day can create blood cells in a dengue patient also. It is that beneficial and pure,” the man said.

The owner of Mashallah Nafees, Sheikh Hassan — Photo by the author
The owner of Mashallah Nafees, Sheikh Hassan — Photo by the author

He went on to say that they got all their ingredients from Kasur as they didn’t trust their supply in Lahore. “Everything is pure there. Here in Lahore they use injections in everything. We use the best milk, sugar and khoya. We want to sell only what’s pure.”

Hassan’s shop has just three items on the menu: Rabri Falooda, Rabri Qulfi Faluda and Rabri Shake. “When we started the shake around two years ago, no one else was offering it and even now no one can offer you the kind of shake we make. It’s all about how long you cook the rabri; we do it for 10 hours straight, which is what gives you that taste,” he boasted.

The owner told us they sell in winters too, but obviously the business is really slow. “We neither have anything else to sell nor do we want to introduce [a winter-friendly dish]. This is our bread and butter. We operate for only a few hours starting in the evening around 6pm till 2am in the summers and 11pm in winters. Since we’re right on the main road, we can’t open up earlier.”

And then, I just had to ask him about the glittering interior! To my surprise, the shop wasn’t an ode to a storied past. He simply said his daughter, who was an interior designer, had designed it. We thanked him for his time between constantly taking orders, clearing payments and giving instructions to his waiters.

Mashallah Nafees' impressive interior is the work of the owner's daughter — Photo by the author
Mashallah Nafees’ impressive interior is the work of the owner’s daughter — Photo by the author

Sitting in the corner of the hall at a table with two friends was a lawyer, Saadat Ali, slurping away his faluda. “They have the real taste of pure Kasuri faluda that I’ve tried. Their environment and presentation is all perfect. I’ve tried almost all famous faluda points in Lahore and also visited Kasur especially for this dessert. So I can say it’s the best amongst all in Lahore. Both quality and quantity, perfect cleanliness and accurate mixture of ingredients makes this the best bowl of faluda,” he said, gesturing to his fast diminishing serving.

Al-Fazal

Our next stop was Al-Fazal, which is right opposite the popular and scrummy Goga Naqibia on Temple Road. We were welcomed by a water tanker parked inappropriately right in front of the shop.

The interior of Mashallah Nafees Kasuri Faluda had raised our expectations so high that this intrusive eyesore deflated them before we even entered Al-Fazal . It was like any usual dairy products shop anywhere in the city. The board above the entrance should have carried the shop’s name, but instead displayed the entire menu unusually through pictures of everything they sold, right next to a depiction of Baba Bulleh Shah.

Baba Bulleh Shah graces the Al-Fazal board instead of the shop's name — Photo by the author
Baba Bulleh Shah graces the Al-Fazal board instead of the shop’s name — Photo by the author

Seeing hardly any activity, we thought it was closed, but were told it wasn’t. So we took the sole table there and asked for a small bowl of faluda. Unlike Nafees Kasuri, they offered small and large bowls for Rs90 and Rs120 respectively. The faluda’s messy presentation made it look unimpressive despite having the same elements as our previous sample. It tasted slightly stale, as if it had been prepared early in the morning. It was obvious and the workers seemed uninterested. We requested a waiter to spare a few minutes for us.

Al-Fazal's faluda wasn't as fresh as one would have liked — Photo by the author
Al-Fazal’s faluda wasn’t as fresh as one would have liked — Photo by the author

“This business must be around eight to nine years old. We have at least 20 to 25 branches in Lahore. The owner, Mehr Jajj, is from Kasur and sits at the shop’s General Hospital branch. They have a few branches in Kasur also. We sell an assortment of refreshing beverages, desserts and snacks, including Rabri Milk, Milk with Almond and Cardamom, Fruit Chaat, Ras Malai, Dahi Bhallay, fish in the winters, Kheer and Chaati Lassi. Our most popular items are the lassifaluda and milk. When the faluda business slows down in the winters, we offer the hot and nutritious Doodh Jalebi,” explained the waiter Sarfaraz, while customers kept coming to purchase their bottled milk that’s apparently quite in demand in the area.

Not too happy, we decided to head over to the unofficial ‘hub of faludas’, Anarkali. One of the streets there is lined with brightly lit shops, old and new, selling the scrumptious dessert with their own variations (the end of this street is the start of Lahore’s famous food street). That was my lucky night!

Lasani Faluda Shop

Our first stop in Anarkali was Lasani Faluda Shop or Almashhoor Lasani Faluda Shop, as they owners would like to call it. It was a wide, orderly shop with space both inside and outside to sit. Besides faluda, their other specialty is rabri milk, but they also sell ras malai, plain milk and kheer.

Lasani Faluda Shop — Photo by the author
Lasani Faluda Shop — Photo by the author

We ordered our bowl of faluda that cost us Rs80 for a small serving and Rs130 for a large serving. All faluda sellers in Anarkali seemed to have kept their prices the same.

Lasani Faluda's special ingredient is cardamom — Photo by the author
Lasani Faluda’s special ingredient is cardamom — Photo by the author

This particular faluda contained the same elements as the previous ones, the only difference being that the kulfi was cone-shaped and was sprinkled with crushed almonds on top. It not only looked a bit different from the ones I had before, but also had a distinctive taste. Cardamom was the dominant flavour I could clearly taste as soon as I took the first bite after mixing up everything in the bowl. It was also slightly sweeter and had less crushed ice than the previous two I had.

Owner Amir, while sitting behind the counter and clearing payments, told me his great-grandfather (whose picture could be seen hanging inside the shop) started this business around 20 years ago.

“The shop has been named after our pir Syed Jamaat Ali Shah Lasani. This is our only branch in the city and anyone selling with the same name is a fake. We’re open in the winters too but only serve a few customers a day. A lot of our customers are visitors to Lahore who come to see the historic Anarkali and spot faluda here, which fascinates them,” the young man told me.

On asking him about how faluda is prepared, Amir told me that the rabri is first made with milk and khoya and cooked for around six to eight hours till it gets thick and has the right consistency. Then if they want to make kulfi, they add some sugar to the rabri mixture and freeze it.

Another one of Lasani's specialities - the rabri milk — Photo by the author
Another one of Lasani’s specialities – the rabri milk — Photo by the author

A group of boys was sitting behind us and enjoying various desserts: milk, ras malaifaluda and rabri. One of them, Salman, a student, said: “We always come here as it’s open during our spare time and offers the best faluda in town. We have been coming here for many years and think the others are no match for Lasani.”

Riaz Faluda

Right next door was another decades-old shop, Riaz Faluda, which I had heard about a lot but never had the opportunity to try. Neither its exterior nor interior was as impressive as its neighbours’. The small families-only seating space inside seemed closed and I could see an old man sleeping on one of the benches. So we sat outside on rickety plastic chairs and asked one of the waiters to wipe the table. There were two more tables in front of the shop and one set up in a corner for ‘families’.

Riaz Faluda didn't look as impressive as its neighbouring shops — Photo by the author
Riaz Faluda didn’t look as impressive as its neighbouring shops — Photo by the author

The faluda looked exactly the same as Lasani’s with same elements as everyone else, just that their rabri was a bit thicker. The taste was also very similar. We ordered a small bowl and gulped it down in a few minutes.

Riaz Faluda is for those who like thicker rabri — Photo by the author
Riaz Faluda is for those who like thicker rabri — Photo by the author

I then headed to the counter to chat with a man whom I presumed was the owner, fully expecting that his great-grandfather or grandfather must have opened the shop in Lahore… and I was right.

Ahmed Hassan was his name and he told us that his grandfather, Malik Merajdin, started this business 40-50 years ago and named it after his eldest son, Riaz.

“My grandfather went to Kasur, got the idea from there and opened a shop here. We have four branches in Lahore, the other three being in Samanabad, Iqbal Town and Bilal Ganj. On the menu, we have three types of faludasrabri kulfikulfi and a simple rabri faluda, as well as ras malairabri milk and kulfi. When winters set in, we offer green tea and tea to compensate for the slow sales of our flagship item, the faluda. In the summer, we sell roughly around 300-400 bowls of faluda a day,” he added. While talking to Hassan, I noticed the waiters bringing glasses of rabri milk or bowls of faluda to him to sprinkle the crushed almond on top before serving to customers.

Yousaf Faluda

By this time, my friend ‘Hafiz’ — as we like to call him — and I were more than full and couldn’t have anymore. But smack in the middle of a street selling only faluda, we couldn’t go back home without having another. We had to choose between the most popular one in Lahore, Yousaf, or the unheard-of and relatively new Baghdadi. We decided to go with the former.

Yousaf Faluda — Photo by the author
Yousaf Faluda — Photo by the author

What’s interesting about Yousaf Faluda is that it has two shops right opposite each other to cater to the hordes that they get each day, according to the owners, and a third set-up on the same street, a family hall a few yards away. So up we climbed the stairs to the sitting area in the main shop that had three blocks, each separated with a curtain. As soon as we stepped off the last stair, I noticed a sign in front of me saying, among other things, that one couldn’t sit idle in the hall (“Hall mein fazool bethna mana hai”).

'Eat and leave' seems to be Yousaf Faluda's motto — Photo by the author
‘Eat and leave’ seems to be Yousaf Faluda’s motto — Photo by the author

My friend and I ordered our standard one small bowl to share, but both of us kept insisting the other finish it off. Sigh. I had to give in. The first thing I noticed as I mixed up everything was that they had added tukh malanga in it, which none of the others had. The faluda tasted delicious, of course, and had an unavoidable tinge of kewra in it. The remaining elements were the same. No wonder it’s the most popular in the city.

Kewra is Yousaf Faluda's special ingredient — Photo by the author
Kewra is Yousaf Faluda’s special ingredient — Photo by the author

Their menu was quite interesting; while the other faluda shops just served more faluda in their large bowls, Yousaf Faluda offered two cones of kulfi. Besides that, they sold ras malaikheerrabri milk, ras malai faluda and a simple faluda without kulfi. After wiping the bowl clean, we climbed down the stairs to talk to the man sitting behind the counter.

A pleasant old man, Haji Haider told us that his elder brother started this business whom this shop was also named after. Initially he couldn’t recall how old it was, but after pushing a little, he said it was started in 1958 (57 years ago) and claimed it was the oldest faluda shop in Anarkali.

“We have only one other branch that is in Johar Town and is run by my younger brother. My brother who started this shop here was selling faludain Kasur before he moved to Lahore,” he said. On asking about the timings he said, they sat in 24-hour shifts, joking that “maut aur gahak ka kya pata(you never know when death and a customer could come for you)”.

“Cold milk and ras malai are the next most-sold items after faluda. And in winters we offer Kashmiri pink tea and gajar ka halwa. We cook our rabrifor five to six hours, which gives us this quality and that we pay bills worth thousands for,” he went on.

I specifically asked him about adding tukh malanga, which nobody else we had tried had added. “It has a cool effect, that is why we add it. Also, our customers demand it,” Haji Haider said. About the reason behind their success, Haji sahab modestly said, “Naseeb naseeb ki baat hoti hai (It all depends on one’s fate).”

And with a goodbye to Haji Haider, we decide to end our little faluda adventure or both of us would explode. We could barely walk straight. But we had no regrets for sure.

The verdict

The common factors that all the faluda places I visited that night shared were the price, except for a difference of not more than Rs10; their histories, how they started out; the fact that young men had now taken over their family businesses; the owners used similar words to describe the reason behind their product being better that the rest; and all boasted about its alleged health benefits.

If I had to rate the faluda shops we tried, I would definitely rank Mashallah Nafees Kasuri Faluda at the top only because of its ‘genuine’ taste and presentation, the interior of the shop and the cleanliness they had maintained there.

Very close behind would be both Lasani and Yousaf for the tinge of sweetness that I prefer, followed by Riaz and then Al-Fazal at the end. I know what I’ll be recommending my friends and family now. And I’m definitely going back to a couple of them once summer properly sets in. My love for all things sweet made it a thoroughly enjoyable experience!

Review: Paramount Fine Foods offers unforgettable Lebanese food in Karachi

All the dishes were rich in flavour, tantalising the taste buds

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Paramount Fine Foods, a Middle Eastern food chain, has finally branched itself out from Canada to Pakistan. Not only is it a Lebanese restaurant, it also comprises a fine bakery featuring many items that one usually doesn’t find in Karachi.

Situated in Khayaban-e-Shamsheer in a building that previously belonged to another restaurant, this new eatery has been completely transformed into a traditional yet modern space for fine dining; the ornamentation managing to forgo its past resonance and creating a new identity.

The food will not only be served in an indoor space; the restaurant is soon to open its patio where diners will be fully able to enjoy the authentic style of Lebanese dining. Photo by author.
The food will not only be served in an indoor space; the restaurant is soon to open its patio where diners will be fully able to enjoy the authentic style of Lebanese dining. Photo by author.

Paramount Fine Foods is embracing fresh organic food and recipes that have been passed down for generations, all ready to be enjoyed by us Karachiites. With ingredients like olive oil, za’atar, chickpeas and sesame seeds, this restaurant is a blend of healthy and flavoursome food.

The food will not only be served in an indoor space. The restaurant is soon to open its patio where diners will be fully able to enjoy the authentic style of Lebanese dining.

Upon entering, besides the staff being very welcoming, I was also pleasantly surprised by the number of female employees working at Paramount. Offering their own brand of water bottles, Paramount donates Rs5 on the purchase of each bottle to Dar ul Sukun, a home for abandoned children with disabilities.

The pita bread was big, light and airy and when paired with hummus, it was a match made in heaven. Photo: Paramount Fine Foods PK/Facebook
The pita bread was big, light and airy and when paired with hummus, it was a match made in heaven. Photo: Paramount Fine Foods PK/Facebook

Now finally coming to the food, every diner while skimming through the menu gets complimentary pita bread. Do not get fooled by the market made pita, this here is the real deal, the real Middle Eastern pita. Not only was it big, light and airy, it was as fresh as out of a wood-fired oven and when paired with hummus, it was a match made in heaven.

Hummus, a recipe that I am so fond of cooking at home, is actually not that easy to make. Comprising of only four ingredients used with precision, Paramount’s hummus knocked my socks off. With the right amount of tahini, this hummus is probably the best in K-town right now!

Next in line was Manakeesh – from the root verb naqasha, ‘to sculpt, carve out’, meaning that after the dough has been rolled flat, it is pressed by the fingertips to create little dips for the topping to lie in. Similar to a pizza, it can be sliced or folded, and it can either be served for breakfast or lunch.

The Za'atar Manakeesh was delicious with many health benefits to order. Photo: author
The Za’atar Manakeesh was delicious with many health benefits to order. Photo: author

Za’atar manakeesh is what I ordered alongside Za’atar with cheese later. Plain ol’ za’atar has the very authentic taste of dried herb(s), mixed with sesame seeds, dried sumac, and often salt, as well as other spices. This alone is quite delicious with many health benefits to offer, such as making the mind and body alert.

The Za'atar with cheese Manakeesh is a must try on Paramount's menu. Photo: author
The Za’atar with cheese Manakeesh is a must try on Paramount’s menu. Photo: author

On the other hand, Manakeesh- Za’atar with cheese consists of a light golden crust. This recipe entails not your regular cheese but a Lebanese cheese called Akkawi – white brine Palestinian cheese from the city of Acre. This one, put together with Za’atar was very appetising, convincing the audience to try a healthier version of pizza. With the smooth texture and mild salty taste of the cheese alongside Za’atar, this item is a must try on Paramount’s menu.

A recipe with perfect combination of just four ingredients, making it all the more flavourful. Photo by author.
A recipe with perfect combination of just four ingredients, making it all the more flavourful. Photo by author.

Shawarma chicken pizza, an executive chef signature creation, was next to tickle my taste buds. Sharing a similar dough base, this one consists of Mozzarella cheese with tahini sauce drizzled on top. The central core of the pizza is dedicated to fresh vegetables like one finds in a shawarma; a recipe with perfect combination of just four ingredients, making it all the more flavourful.

If you plan to order this, I would suggest pairing it with a lighter main course to balance out your meal. Photo: Paramount Fine Foods PK/ Facebook
If you plan to order this, I would suggest pairing it with a lighter main course to balance out your meal. Photo: Paramount Fine Foods PK/ Facebook

Paramount special, a refreshing drink layered with fresh mango pulp and strawberry juice, crushed pistachios, ashta cream and chunks of fresh fruits was quite viscous but satisfying. If you plan to order this, I would suggest pairing it with a lighter main course to balance out your meal.

When I asked for main course recommendations, the operation director Aman Virji, steered me towards an enormous dish called Mixed Combo Platter comprising beef and chicken shawarma, two kafta skewers, two shish tawouk skewers, two BBQ beef skewers and four falafel pieces, all served with tahini sauce. Priced at Rs. 3,995/- this platter can surely be shared by a group of four, filling them aptly if they also plan to order Paramount’s luxurious desserts later.

I was steered towards an enormous dish called Mixed combo platter. Photo: Paramount Fine Foods PK/Facebook
I was steered towards an enormous dish called Mixed combo platter. Photo: Paramount Fine Foods PK/Facebook

The chicken shish tawouk was juicy and moist in every bite, followed by kafta skewers. Falafel, a deep fried patty made from ground chickpeas was a true knockout on the platter. When dipped in tahini sauce, it managed to fully satisfy my palate. BBQ beef skewers were only appetising when paired with garlic sauce hence, sauces rescuing a few items.

We also had the chance to meet the Head Chef, William el Dbaissy, a unique culinary artist who belongs from a family of traditional Lebanese chefs and has been serving traditional Lebanese food since the start of his career. He works in Canada, but is briefly here to train the staff at Paramount Karachi.

With a hygienic kitchen and well-trained staff, Dbaissy has also made sure to purchase fresh meat every day to ensure healthier food. He is particular about the origin of the animal and natural feeding when buying the meat. Herbs are imported from Lebanon and Dubai to maintain quality and taste.

I quickly ordered Kinafeh - a Middle Eastern cheese pastry soaked in sweet, sugar-based syrup. Photo by author.
I quickly ordered Kinafeh – a Middle Eastern cheese pastry soaked in sweet, sugar-based syrup. Photo by author.

Having a fondness for desserts, I was extremely thrilled to skim through the menu. Farooq (assistant manager) at Paramount was kind enough to free me from my dilemma. I quickly ordered Kinafeh – a Middle Eastern cheese pastry soaked in sweet, sugar-based syrup, typical of the regions belonging to the former Ottoman Empire. Tasting fine semolina upon my first bite, dipped in the sugar syrup, it was the sweetness alongside the saltiness from the akaawi cheese and the feta-like texture that brought about the right amount of balance of the flavours altogether.

Eating at a Middle Eastern restaurant, one cannot ignore Baklava, A very old, rich and sweet pastry; presently a favourite dessert amongst the Turks. As most of us are familiar with the common square Baklava, Paramount Fine Foods’ bakery has many more varieties of this delicious dessert; one of them being Finger Baklava, which was one of my favourite.

Paramount Fine Foods' bakery has many more varieties of the Baklava. Photo by author.
Paramount Fine Foods’ bakery has many more varieties of the Baklava. Photo by author.

Stuffed with ground cashews, drizzled with a delicate blend of rose water and showered with crushed pistachio, it was rolled up and baked to golden perfection making it a flavoursome dessert. Followed with Birds Nest Baklava, a very fine stringy dough wrapped around pistachios and lightly fried to boldness. The stringy Knafeh dough texture is very similar to that of crispy vermicelli. With pistachios shining in this recipe, this Baklava is for people like me who prefer the right amount of meetha in their desserts.

With renowned chefs sharing their most authentic Lebanese recipes, this restaurant is surely not be missed out. Aiming to reach out to everyone, prices here are ranging from PKR300 to PKR4000. With aroma of freshly baked breads in their wood-fired ovens, charcoal BBQ meats and handmade sweets, Paramount Fine Foods provides guests a culinary experience that will not be forgotten.

Why a bowl of pheni for sehri is a good idea

Rawalpindi likes to start its fast on a sweet note with this vermicelli that is fried and served in milk

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While the city’s residents retire to bed, traditional sweet shops open their kitchens to start preparing sehri soon after taraveeh. While many people opt for dishes such as nihari or mutton karahi, there are also some traditional sehri dishes in high demand during the month of Ramazan.

One of these dishes is a bowl of pheni, which can also be eaten as dessert.

Sweet shops and bakeries in downtown Rawalpindi, from Raja Bazaar to Purana Qila, Bhabara Bazaar, Saidpuri Gate, Banni and Katarpura specialise in making the dish, but only a few are popular among locals.

A kind of vermicelli, pheni is fried and served in milk. The noodle is made from semolina, butter and fine wheat flour. Semolina, flour, sugar and butter are mixed into dough that is left in ghee for 15 minutes.

The dough is then stretched using a mixture of corn flour and ghee and doubled, and the process is repeated 10 or 11 times before the dough has been flattened and is ready to be deep fried. The pheni is fried and served with milk and sugar, and garnished with almonds and pistachios.

The pheni is made from semolina and ghee so it is digested slowly and keeps you from feeling hungry during the fast

The origin of the dish is debated – the name appears to have come from the Middle East or Central Asia, but the dish itself is similar to Indian puri and Rajisthani sutarfeni.

Mohammad Saleem, the owner of a sweet shop in Kartarpura, said pheni is a traditional Punjabi dish made mostly by people from Amritsar and Lahore. “We have been making it in Rawalpindi for the last 60 years,” he said.

Although pheni is made year round, the real season for it is Ramazan, he said, during which people have it for sehri.

He said that pheni was originally made with semolina, but some people used fine wheat flour, which ruined the taste of the dish.

There are also two types of pheni prepared at his shop – one made using vegetable oil and the other in desi ghee.

Pheni is better than bread because it is made from semolina and richer in fibre

“The time for sehri is short, so we prefer a bowl of milk and pheni and a cup of tea. The pheni is made from semolina and ghee so it is digested slowly and you do not feel hungry during the fast,” Naeem Ahmed, who lives in Chaklala III and was visiting the store to purchase pheni, said.

He said children and elderly people in particular want something that is healthier than spicy food, making pheni a good option for them. The dish also requires little time to prepare, so a bowl of pheni is ready within 10 minutes.

Satellite Town resident Suleman Malik said he used to eat French toast for sehri but has taken up pheni because he comes back home from work late and does not have much time to pick up food. “The semolina is better than bread made from fine wheat flour because it is richer in fibre,” he added.

Raja Zahid from Bhabara Bazaar said pheni is a fresh item available in the city that is also affordable, which is why he prefers it.