February 20, 2024

‘Patta Tikka’: In northwestern Pakistan, lamb liver with fats makes for a hearty meal

PESHAWAR: Noor Zada Shinwari has his fingers full with over half a dozen skewers positioned atop a barbecue grill. With squinting eyes, he brings one skewer with the raw meat straight above burning scorching coal and waits for the lamb liver, wrapped in fats, to prepare dinner. 

The scent of fats and meat blended with salt greets one’s nostrils as they journey on a highway from Peshawar to the Pakistan-Afghanistan Torkham border within the northwestern Khyber district. There, one sees a minimum of a dozen retailers providing the luxurious meat dish popularly generally known as ‘Patta Tikka.’ 

Patta Tikka is a conventional dish of the ethnic Pashtun Shinwari tribe that resides within the japanese and southeastern areas of Afghanistan and the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. 

“Patta” is a Pashto phrase that interprets into “hidden,” and the dish is named Patta Tikka due to the best way it’s ready: the liver of a lamb is buried with its fats earlier than it’s cooked on scorching coal for round half-hour. 

And in contrast to different meals objects, it doesn’t require substances resembling masala or chili powder. A touch of salt, and your palatable Patta Tikka is able to be devoured. 

“That is the liver and fats of lambs, we make Patta Tikka from it,” Shinwari instructed Arab Information as he busily cooked a batch of the lamb meat. “First, we prepare dinner the liver half after which wrap it in fats. Each the liver and the fats are of the lamb.” 

Shinwari has been making ready Patta Tikka within the Khyber district for the previous 10 years. Whereas the dish is a well-liked winter meals merchandise, it is usually relished in summers. 

“Folks prefer it extra in winter,” Shinwari mentioned. “In any other case, it is usually bought in summer time.”

Noor Zada Shinwari, a chef, stands behind a grill as he prepares Patta Tikka in Peshawar, Pakistan on December 21, 2023. (AN Photograph)

The fats, although, is difficult to digest and the meat provides off a salty style. The oily dish is a heavy one, and based on Shinwari, one particular person can’t have an excessive amount of of it in a single sitting. 

“A foodie can attempt to eat three skewers, in any other case, it’s onerous to eat greater than two,” he mentioned. 

The dish isn’t an costly one, although. A skewer of Patta Tikka, which incorporates 9-10 small items of lamb liver, prices Rs200 ($0.71). 

The enterprise of Patta Tikka bought a lift throughout the 2000s, inflicting a number of retailers promoting the dish to crop up within the well-known Karkhano Market on the Peshawar-Khyber highway. 

Hajji Kameen Jan Shinwari used to work in eating places. He established his restaurant in 2000 which initially employed solely three individuals. 

Jan, who is likely one of the pioneers of Patta Tikka at Karkhano Market, has grown his restaurant to the extent that it now has round 21 staff. 

“Patta Tikka has been eaten since then [2000], nonetheless, individuals didn’t find out about it at the moment,” he instructed Arab Information. 

Jan mentioned solely individuals from the northwestern city of Landi Kotal, the Afridis and the Shinwaris (tribes) would eat it at first whereas others didn’t prefer it. 

Now, clients come from far-flung areas to attempt Patta Tikka. He acknowledged the dish is fashionable because of its cheap worth. 

Muhammad Ammar Babar, 28, got here from District Nowshera in northwestern Pakistan to attempt Patta Tikka along with his mates at Karkhano Market. 

“This place is particular for that [Patta Tikka],” Babar instructed Arab Information. “Each place you would possibly go to, they’ve some type of specialty. Karkhano is known for this sort of Patta Tikka.” 

Naveed Ahmad, a buyer from Pakistan’s southern metropolis of Hyderabad, couldn’t assist however reward the dish. 

“I got here right here for the primary time, and I took this Patta Dana [Tikka] dish for the primary time and I loved it very a lot,” Ahmad instructed Arab Information. 

Patta Tikka is fairly priced and doesn’t earn Jan huge bucks. Nevertheless, that isn’t why he serves the meals merchandise. 

“This [Patta Tikka] doesn’t earn us cash however matches its bills,” he mentioned. “However once we place Patta Tikka, it attracts clients.”