What Do Pakistani Americans Make, and What Makes a Pakistani American?

A Guide

What’s a Pakistani without traditional Pakistani food? These unique cuisines that I have grown up with and love to eat have added the flavor to my life-literally. Here, I have presented how make some of my favorites, creating a full meal including an appetizer, main course, and dessert. Paralleled with each dish are the “recipes” that make a Pakistani American a Pakistani American.

Fruit Chaat

Fruit salad with a twist

Step 1) Chop up several different types of fruits: bananas, grapes, apples, pears, strawberries, pomegranates, etc. and mix in a bowl.

Step 2) Add chick peas and freshly squeezed orange juice to the bowl.

Step 3) In a separate bowl, create a mixture called “chaat masala,” made of chili powder, salt, black pepper, cumin, coriander, dried ginger, and amchoor.

Step 4) Add chaat masala to the fruit.


Step 1) Move to the United States, the most diverse and culturally enriched country in the world.

Step 2) Bring aspects of your own culture.

Step 3) Assimilate into American society but still continue your traditions.

Chicken Biryani

One of Pakistan’s, and my mom’s, most famous dishes

Step 1) Heat oil in a pot for about ten minutes. Add ginger paste, garlic paste, and onions. Let onions turn golden-brown.

Step 2) Add chopped tomatoes.

Step 3) Add chicken, turmeric, crushed red pepper, green chilies, yogurt, and sliced lemon.

Step 4) Stir ingredients and let simmer until chicken is completely cooked.

Step 5) Drain rice and cook in another pot.

Step 6) In another pot, add a layer of rice, and follow that by a layer of the chicken. Balance the amounts added until a layer of rice is on top.

Step 7) Cover the pot with aluminum foil. Cook in oven for about an hour.


Step 1) Struggle with identity.

Step 2) Try to negotiate a balance between Pakistani and American culture.

Step 3) Support home country while still supporting newly adopted country.

Step 4) Stick to your roots in Pakistan but plant a new life in America.


Pakistani ice cream-something new but something still familiar

Step 1) Pour half and half into a pot and cook on high heat until almost boiling. Stirring frequently to prevent milk from sticking.

Step 2) When the half and half is nearly boiling, lower the heat to a simmer. Keep stirring. Raise and lower the heat in intervals for about two hours.

Step 3) Add sugar and cook for another 1/2 hour on low heat. Stir frequently.

Step 4) Remove the milk and allow it to cool.

Step 5) In the meantime, crush pistachios and almonds in a food processor.

Step 6) Blend ricotta cheese into the cooled cream and return the mixture to the pot, mixing it all together. Allow it to cool for about twenty minutes. Add the ground nuts.

Step 7) Pour the milk into popsicle molds and cover with plastic wrap. Store in freezer.


Step 1) Build sense of community through mosques.

Step 2) Provide a safe place for Pakistani Americans in your area to gather.

Step 3) Provide grounds for prayer, social gatherings, and education.

Step 4) Provide something new but something still familiar (similar to churches).