Penda

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Penda,
Published in Khyber.ORG on Wednesday, January 26 2005 (http://www.khyber.org)


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Penda

Publishing Date: Wednesday, January 26 2005

Penda is a special dish that is widely eaten in Marwat, Bannu, Waziristan and their surroundings. There are different variations of the dish for each tribe. The word "Penda" is derived from the Pashto word Panda which literally means 'a lot'. True to its name, Penda is prepared in big quantities and many people sit together to eat it. It is for this reason that it is served in large dishes (called Thal). There are no formalities involved, therefore everybody eats from the same Thal while sitting around it in circles.

It is seldom prepared by the household for itself, in fact its generally prepared and served for guests, at weddings, or other such important occasions. In villages, men get together every night in somebody's betak or hujra. A few of them are appointed the task of preparing the sohbat. If it is time to eat, this Sohbat is usually Penda but if people have eaten already, then it is something sweet to go after the food; usually halwa (locally known as Rosha). These men prepare the Sohbat under the watchful eyes of everybody else. It is also said that the Prophet PBUH's favorite dish was called sureed which is made in the same way as Penda.

The main ingredients are desi-chicken and a specially made bread called Paasti. The term Paasti again comes from the Pashto word Pasta (soft). The traditional Paasti are extremely thin like paper and very big in diameter (around half a meter). Nowadays we have the facility of large Teghna that are big enough for preparing such large breads. But in yester-years, Paasti's would be prepared on empty Charcoal barrels (known locally as Batt) that would be cut in half. Whatever the method, preparing these delicate Paasti requires experience and great care.

Paasti's are the only ingredient that make its preparation a time consuming task. Therefore those who can afford to do so give orders to local hotels to prepare the it for them. This is easily done locally but in other cities, it is difficult because not many people know how to prepare it. In all of Peshawar, there are only two or three hotels that specially prepare these for you on order. The most popular and the most easy one to find is Delhi Muslim Hotel in Peshawar Saddar (near Chowk Fuwara). Other small outlets have opened in Hayatabad chowk, Sunehri Masjid, and Hayatabad phase 6 entrance.

Utensils

  • Thal (large circular tray deep enough to hold all the ingredients once prepared)
  • Large Tabakhay (If preparing the Pastis on your own)
  • Large Pot (for preparing Shorwa)

Ingredients

  • Cooking Oil
  • Onions
  • Garlic (Chopped)
  • Tomatoes (Chopped)
  • Potatoes (Cut in Half)
  • Desi chicken
  • Flour for paasti
  • Salt
  • Bannu masala (a special masala prepared in bannu, if not available, use a mix of national's qorma and curry masala)
  • Coriander leaves (for chutney)
  • Green chillies (for chutney)
  • Yogurt (for chutney)
  • Lemon (for chutney)

Procedure

  1. Pasti
    Knead some flour as normally done for chapati's. Don't forget to add a little salt to taste. The dough should be soft, and able to stretch easily in hands. Prepare thin chapati's in whichever size you can manage. Use your hand to break the pasti into pieces. The pieces should be at least half the size of your palm.
  2. Chutney
    Use the ingredients for chutney in whatever way is suitable for you
  3. Shorwa
    1. Fry the Onions in the Cooking Oil along with Chopped Garlic until they are light brown.
    2. Add the chicken pieces, chopped tomatoes, combination of masalas, salt, and potatoes and keep on heating on medium flame until you are certain the chicken and potatoes are cooked properly.
    3. Remove the prepared chicken and potatoes to a separate dish and keep warm
    4. The remaining shorwa would now be 'thinned', so it can be absorbed easily by the pasti. Add water to what's left behind. As a general note if there is half a litre of shorwa, add enough water to make it 1 litre.
    5. Keep on cooking the broth till the layer of oil is evident on the surface
    6. Prepare a little tarhka of onions on the side and add it to the broth when ready
  4. Finishing
    Place the pasti in the thaal and level them. Gradually pour the shorwa over the pasti in such a manner that the base is filled. Use a large spoon to lift the pasti to make sure the shorwa flows through to the base. Finish with placing the chicken and potatoes at the center of the thaal.
  5. Put the Chicken Pieces and Potatoes on the middle of the Penda Thaal.

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Penda,
Published in Khyber.ORG on Wednesday, January 26 2005 (http://www.khyber.org)