Hosted by Marinela & Shams

Photos: Kalin Milanov

On 18 September 2011 our Pakistani hosts gave a short presentation about their culture and cuisine. Then some of the guests stayed in and prepared the traditional salads and the others went outside to enjoy the henna workshop. The groups gathered when the awesome food was ready and discussed what they’ve learned while tasting it. The end of the event didn’t come before a short improvised concert as we had a Pakistani gentleman who was very good at singing.



500 g chickpeas
3-4 potatoes
3 tomatoes
1 red onion
2-3 chilies
Olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Fresh parsley
Black pepper

Soak the chickpeas overnight and boil them the following day. Peel the potatoes and cut them into small pieces, then boil them. When ready, mix them with the chickpeas in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, chopped into small pieces, then the red onions and chilies, also finely chopped. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice and spices together to make a dressing. Combine everything together and mix it well.

CHICKEN CHARHRA (with yogurt)

1 kg chicken
250-300 g yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
2-3 cloves of garlic
Red and black pepper

In a large bowl, mix the yogurt, lemon juice, coriander and garlic to make a paste, and add all the other spices. Coved the diced ​chicken with the paste and leave for at least 2-3 hours, so it marinades well. Then transfer the chicken into another bowl, and fry it in lightly heated oil on low heat until golden brown.

KICHRI (lentils with rice)

A very popular dish that is usually cooked in a pressure cooker. It’s best to use traditional (Bulgarian) rice to make kichri, because the dish needs a slightly sticky consistency. That’s what gives it its special taste.

1 cup red or yellow lentils
1/2 cup rice (if you prefer more rice, you can change the ratio)
Olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tablespoon paprika

2-3 cloves sticks
1 tsp garlic-ginger paste
1 onion
1 tomato
1 potato, peeled and finely diced
A pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp Garam masala or curry
1/2 tsp Hing
2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp turmeric
A little bit of butter
Fresh parsley or celery
Yogurt for serving

Clean and wash the rice and lentils, then soak them in cold water for about 30 minutes. Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add the cumin seeds, paprika, turmeric, cloves and garlic-ginger paste. Fry for a few seconds and add the onions while stirring constantly. Add the finely chopped tomato. After 1-2 minutes, add the potatoes, rice and lentils. Add the remaining spices, salt and wait a few minutes so they flavor the other vegetables. Add water to the vegetable mixture, so it is covered by 4cm of water. Seal the pressure cooker and cook on the stove for 4 to 5 whistles. Then remove from the heat, place pieces of butter over the dish and sprinkle with fresh parsley /celery. Serve warm with
thick yogurt.


2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or any unsalted butter
Two tea cups grated carrots
2 and 1/2 tea cups of milk
6 tablespoons of sugar (8 tablespoons if you like it more sweet)
6 cardamom seeds and 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tea cup raisins (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped almonds
2 tablespoons cashews or pistachios, or both

In a frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter, add the carrots, stir well and cook covered for 5 minutes. Add the milk, sugar and cardamom seeds, and cook for about 30 minutes or until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally. Add the raisins, cardamom powder (if you are using any), the butter and nuts to the thickened mixture, a leaving some nuts for sprinkling on top, and stir it well until the butter melts. Distribute the halva in bowls, cups or pour into a small pan, and press it down well. Allow to cool for 30 minutes. If using bowls, serve sprinkled with the remaining nuts on top; if using cups, you can turn them out on plates and sprinkle with the nuts; if using a small pan, you can turn it out onto a tray, sprinkle with the nuts and cut into pieces.