Must-Try Foods Of Peshawar, Pakistan

Peshawar, the city of flowers has a lot more to offer than love & hospitality. Being the historical city of Pakistan, its cultural norms are rooted in its delicious food items that are served traditionally in various top-notch restaurants. Although I did witness the changing mindsets of people who are opting a westernized food culture but still the traditional must-try foods remains unchanged.

So, planning to eat out the delicious cuisines of Peshawar? Then specialties in the town are just breath-taking!

Minced Meat Cuisine- Chapli Kebab

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The traditional Chapli kebab of Peshawar is famous throughout the country. The minced meat is added with traditional spices, transformed in circular shapes & then deep fried until it gets black. It is served with yogurt and chapattis. The best place to enjoy the dish is Charsi Tikka Shop & Namak Mandi. If you are a barbecue freak, then you won’t find a better place than Namak Mandi in Peshawar. The newly constructed heritage trial in the town best pairs with its traditional dishes and thus enhancing the atmosphere with cultural flavors!

The Lamb Chops & Dum Pukht:

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The people of the country are just addicted to the delicious Dum Pukht (a dish made from lamb meat and its fat). The dish takes almost 2-3 hours for preparation; there are no intense spices in the dish. The fat of the lamb is cooked on low flame until it releases the oil from it. Then the meat is added to the oil with some green chilies and potatoes. I was not a die-hard fan of the dish until I tried it and now I am happy as I also learned to cook this dish like a pro! 🙂

The Sweet Cuisine- Falooda:

For ice-cream lovers, the town offers Falooda that just gives the right pleasure to its consumers. The vanilla-almond flavored ice cream is mixed up with white spaghetti and milk, then served with chilly ice. The people enjoy its rich flavor throughout the year.

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The city of Peshawar has a long-lasting history of invasions and wars from the British Empire to Mughals, but the Peshawar’s traditions remain unchanged!

 

 

 

 

 

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A Corridor into History

“Let’s get a new engine from Peshawar” and so begin a weekend of adventure. Our faithful red Joy with whom we had traveled the length and breadth of Pakistan had finally stopped in the middle of the road. Simply given up, died. But ours is not a family, not even a nation that gives up. We sought to rejuvenate our eleven year old bride and Peshawar was chosen due its centuries old bazaars which sell every conceivable thing under the sun, its close proximity to our home and of course a couple of friends and places that awaited our presence. It was spring; the weather helped us endure the non-air conditioned, slow journey as our baby was pulled behind the bigger car. Later that night a set of friends suggested a visit to the famous Karkhano Market, a hub of duty free imported nonsense at the gates of the Khyber agency but to make the visit more meaningful another set of friends recommended to extend the visit along a road as old as time and  a journey as ancient as man.

The next morning we piled into the bigger car as our bride was getting a new life in the Kabuli market and onward it was into the Khyber agency and then the Spin Ghar or Safed Koh mountains. Crossing the gate into the agency the road is modern but the bazaar on both sides is rustic and consists mostly of very small grocery stores and very large restaurants with cut up carcasses of lambs hanging outside, their boards showing the now cut up lambs gamboling shyly in vast green fields, ready to be fed to a multitude of meat lovers  in search of authentic Khyber and Shinwari cuisine. In the midst of this haphazard bazaar we crossed the famed Bab-e-Khyber a symbolic entrance to the ancient pass which is also illustrated on the ten rupee banknote. Immediately after it towards the north of the road we were confronted by the famous outpost of the Jamrud Fort whose foundation stone had been laid by the Sikh General Hari Singh Nalwa  in roughly 1836  in commemoration of the Sikh victory and subsequent takeover of Jamrud. A largish fort is now surrounded by fortress like houses on all sides. The population of Khyber still builds high walled houses although more recently constructed and filled with modern amenities.

Through the Plains of Jamrud the road starts to climb and curve around the mountains. The giddy ride was made even more amusing by the amount of modern shops including a pizza parlor with a free home delivery option. The Khyber agency was trying to keep abreast of world too. The valley started closing in on both sides and one could now imagine how armies of invaders all the way back to Darius had traversed through these very ancient walls of the prehistoric mountains. Alexander, Ghengis Khan, Mongol and Muslim rulers had all come down this path in lust of the jewel called India. Millions of caravans had measured its dusty roads as it has been an integral part of the eventful and imperative Silk Road and remained The road into subcontinent until the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the country’s subsequent downfall. Although it currently still is an important trade route as well as a NATO supply route.

The British had built a railway line on which until about a decade ago a steam engine would trudge tourists along its historical turns. However a recent takeover of the agency by armed insurgents has resulted in their blowing up of its sturdy tracks in some places. The government it seems is still busy with other things it considers more important than preserving a potent heritage and an important trade route. The interrupted track still snakes along the road as we move in the entrails of the Spin Ghar range, several tunnels stand with their gaping mouths, each has something written on its entrance, relics of their British builders.

We also pass a large bulbous Stupa on top of a hill to the north, guardian of the pass’s Buddhist past.  Shagai Fort then looms large on to our south, an extensive fortification overlooking the road. The pass then narrows down further, to as legend has it, so slim a path that two laden camels could not have passed one another, this point is called Ali Masjid. The road has now been widened but the steep walls of the mountains still rise ominously close over the road. The road now crawls in the belly of the valley as the Ali Masjid Mosque and Fort look down upon it. The strategic placement of the fort is clear, here was where (if they could be) the conquerors would have been defeated and many were while those whose names live on made it through. Local legend that the Prophet’s (PBUH) cousin Ali led a congregation at the location of the mosque; hence its name. The valley walls are decorated by the shields and the insignia of the valiant’s who have fought here over the past two centuries. Until now a slight river had been flowing along the road but now turns south and the cliffs are dotted here and there by green shrubs and spring wildflowers.

The narrow file then suddenly opens up into a flat plateau; this plate is the ancient city of Landi Kotal. On our way to the border we bypass the city and continue up the road until we see an fort like building atop a cliff overlooking the road. East of the border this is the highest point, this structure is Michni Post. We stop for a wondrous view of the pass as it opens into a large valley.  From the viewing room of the post we enjoy peshawari kehwa and drink in on the horizon, the still snow clad mountains around Kabul while below us the truck and trailer dotted road snakes into Afghanistan. Further west of the post on the mountain side we can see Charbagh Fort and Taimur Lung’s prison, the children shrink in horror as we are told of the steep passage in the prison fitted with blades on top of which enemies were asked to confess or fall in. We also find out the origins of the Khyber Rifles the formerly paramilitary force organized by the British which still maintains law and order in the pass and the agency. The Muzail, a type of rifle was the weapon of choice in the area and when the British thought it prudent to organize the locals into a force to be used in the Afghan wars they asked everyone with the rifle to register; hence the birth of the Khyber Rifles.

It was a treat to view the valley from the calm of the well maintained post and in the care of our very generous hosts. It is a clear day which adds much charm and depth to our view. After which we took a small sojourn on Afghan soil as we crossed the border and turned around. Next stop was the famed Khyber Rifles Mess back at Landi Kotal. We had to ask quite a few people until we finally made it to the mess. Passing several restaurants with ready to barbecue tikka’s wrapped in sheets of fat. It was lunchtime to be fair, hence the drool worthy observation. On entering the Mess gates we were greeted by lush green lawns, an oasis in the center of the dusty frontier town. Peacocks strutted around as long legged cranes sheltered from the sun in green groves. By the mess entrance we saw a huge centurion tree which had been put under ‘arrest’ by a drunk British Officer one night and remains to this day ‘under arrest’.

Inside the mess had an old world charm of dark wood paneling and starched white waiters with perfect manners. Decorated with hundreds of old pictures it required quite a few hours of study which we did not have at the time. We did however view the suite that had been occupied by HRH Diana Princess of Wales on her visit here in the early nineties. Lunch was typical mess fair (our taste buds were still tingling for the fatty lamb we had viewed outside) but the silverware, the crystal ware and the service was like eating in a royal palace; a pleasant experience that added to the old world feeling.

After that it was goodbye to Landi Kotal, not able to visit its famed railway station we had once enjoyed on a former trip, leaving something for next time we turned towards Jamrud and the waiting Karkhano market then towards the vibrant city of Peshawar. Until next time when we will come to sit by the abandoned railway tracks eating barbequed lamb and Shinwari Karai; the pass will remain haunting our memories time and again.

 

 

Top Home Remedies for luxurious long hair

 

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Everyone desires healthy and shiny hair, but unfortunately only a few achieve this dream. If you’re reading this article, then you’re probably one of the unfortunate people (like me) who wants long hair but can’t get. But don’t worry! This article has got you covered. Let’s talk about inexpensive and easy home remedies which will pave your path to luxurious hair!

  1. Biotin for hair growth

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If you’re suffering from hair loss, then you might be deficient in Biotin, a water-soluble vitamin B which is commonly found in vegetables. This home remedy will help to renew your hair follicles leading to fuller and healthy hair.

What you need:

2-3 tablets of Biotin

Olive oil or coconut oil

Or just use the fast absorbing liquid which is available on Amazon and is easier to use than tablets:

How:

-Crush the biotin tablets and mix it well into the chosen oil.

-Apply the paste in your hair and leave it overnight.

-Wash hair as you would normally do in the morning.

 

When:

Twice every week.

 

  1. Argon oil

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Argon oil, also known as “liquid gold”, is a revolutionary product of nature which does wonders on thinning hair. Not only does it moisturizes your hair follicles, but it also repairs the damaged hair.

 

What you need:

Argon oil

You can buy organic Argon Oil on Amazon: 

How:

-Warm the oil in a water bath to a lukewarm temperature. This will help absorb the oil more quickly into the scalp.

-Massage the oil well into the scalp.

-Put a hot towel on your hair to steam them. This will open the follicles and hence the oil will seep deep into them.

-Keep it overnight and wash your hair, as usual, the next morning.

When:

Do it twice or thrice a week.

 

  1. Onion juice for hair growth

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Onions are known to be the most effective home remedy for hair growth. They are rich in Sulphur which boosts collagen production in tissues and boosts hair growth.

 

What you need:

Onions

Cotton balls

Oil-optional

 

How:

Slice up the onions and blend them.

Squeeze the juice from the blended mixture and collect in a ball.

You can now either apply directly in your hair roots with a cotton ball, or you could add any oil of your choice and whisk the oil and juice until they are properly fused together. Then massage this mixture into the scalp. This will not only help in regrowth, but it will also help in nourishing your hair.

Keep it for 30-45 minutes and then rinse with a mild shampoo.

 

When:

Once or twice a week for optimal results.

 

The above mentioned are the top home remedies which are 100% effective if done right. Now, since they are natural remedies free of any chemicals, you should keep in mind the fact that they will take a few weeks in order for you to notice the results. Patience is the key! Let me know how these went and if you want to see more home remedies!

A Glimpse of Turkey-Part 2

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After waiting (agonizingly, mind you), our transport FINALLY arrived. After loading the luggage and settling in the window seat (It’s essential I always get the window seat), the ratty old car sprang into action and immediately started buzzing by other cars with a speed I did not imagine it could go with. Fearing for my family and my life, I wondered if the “vehicle” would just collapse. Maybe the window seat wasn’t such a good idea after all. It finally stopped at our hotel and I never got out of a vehicle faster. Thanking the Lord, I took in the sight that lay before my eyes.

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The first thing that caught my attention was the street that stretched before me, going on and on. One whole side of the street was laden with fruit stalls. And what a sight it was. Fruits of all kinds graced the stalls and their color was nothing short of vibrant. Imagine one whole side of the street covered with green, red, yellow, orange, maroon and brown, vibrant at the start and fading away as the street stretched on.

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The other side of the street didn’t disappoint either. It was just as beautiful but in a totally different way. Now, it might be my hunger speaking, but it was honestly beautiful! Maybe it was the way that the restaurants that lined the whole street weren’t your average restaurants. They were small and quaint, with seating done outside on the street, with very adorable wooden benches and table, and equally beautiful umbrellas casting a much needed cool shade over the seating area. A chalkboard was placed right next to the entrance, displaying today’s special. The whole look was completed with the waist-high wooden fence with vines enfolding it like garden snakes, wrapping the whole restaurant in a giant hug.

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The aromas of different Turkish delicacies went through my nose and straight to my heart, and I just knew at that moment that I would fall in love with Turkish food and fall in love I did. Our stomach took control after that making the whole checking in the hotel and freshening up process ten times faster. With a giddy smile on our faces, we made our way to one of the restaurants on the street and sat down going through the menu, excited to finally experience authentic Turkish food.

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Top 5 Super fruits for Hair Growth

Are you tired of using all those expensive hair products to get a longer mane but still not getting positive results?

I believe that the secret to hair growth lies in a balanced diet & fruits are always a good source of all necessary vitamins needed for a rapid hair growth.

Here I am going to share top 5 super fruits that are scientifically proven to not only enhance your hair growth but also strengthen your hairs in remarkable ways.

Strawberries- Promotes Hair Strength

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You might be seeing strawberries all around this season but did you consume it enough for getting incredible hair growth?

If no, so just grab them today because strawberries are a great source of silica that aids in stimulation of hair growth. It also contains Vitamin B & C that are directly linked to hair strengthening.

Avocado- Perfect for opening pores

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Avocados take the second position as super fruit for hair growth. It contains the highest amount of Vitamin B, C & E that ensures sufficient blood circulation to your scalp hence opening up you blocked pores for a sudden hair growth. Some dermatologists also consider is a great choice for hair conditioner.

Grapes- Detoxifies your body

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Grapes are scientifically proven to prevent hair fall by providing essential hair care vitamins & antioxidants. It contains higher water content that helps in detoxification of your body. It effectively cleans out all the impurities in your blood that promotes rapid hair growth.

Apple- A natural hair growth booster

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Apple contains soluble fiber & antioxidants that has a magical effect on your hairs. Its skin contains an extra amount of biotin that aids in hair growth naturally. It also boosts your energy levels & lowers cholesterol to promote a healthier growth of your body.

Orange- For incredible hair shine

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Heard about consuming Vitamin C for shiny hairs? Oranges are the best option for you in this regard.  They are in fact a powerhouse for vitamin C & beta-carotene that surely boosts your hair growth to a great extent. Magnesium & flavonoids present in oranges is a natural ingredient for transforming your hairs with just little efforts.

WARNING: TOO MUCH FRUIT CAUSES- HEALTH! 🙂

 

 

 

 

3 effective ways to lose weight naturally

“A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step”

Here comes the season of bloom & gloom, a perfect season to lose your stubborn fat. Many people look for a quick fix to lose weight but remember no shortcuts are applied here.

But If you are determined to get rid of that extra flab on your body, follow these effective strategies to lose your weight naturally.

Consume Green Tea- The Best Antioxidant:

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It is no doubt that some food and beverages are directly linked to maintaining your body weight. Green tea, being a natural beverage is loaded with antioxidants. Consuming 3-4 cups of green tea on regular basis boosts your fat burning process up to 18%.

Increase Protein & Fiber Intake:

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Protein is the main ingredient in losing your weight quickly. Some foods such as eggs, meat, beans & legumes provide you the highest amount of protein that aids in reducing your obesity to a great extent.

If you are a vegan, I would suggest consuming legumes that contains about twice as much protein as meat & other non-veg diets. On the other hand, fiber-rich foods can help in reducing your appetite to a great extent, so you will surely eat less & your weight loss journey would be much easier.

Honey & lemon drink- It works wonders:

This drink has some magical effects in controlling obesity. Once you get used to its taste, you will not leave a single day without consuming it. I would recommend consuming this drink before breakfast. I bet you will start feeling the difference in a week time & you will also notice a feeling of lightness in your body.

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General Tips to hit your weight loss target:

  • Avoid taking sugary products; they are the biggest enemy of a healthier person. No doubt sugar is indeed a poison for your body.
  • Do some sorts of cardio at home & walk regularly for about half an hour.
  • Combat your food addiction smartly.

“No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch”

So, don’t lose hope & tell yourself-I can do this!

The Relationship between late night Television and Sandwiches

Written by Fatima Majoka

Toast a largish piece of bread with a slice of cheese until it starts melting, lay on a cutting of salami, add a crunchy salad leaf and cover it with a half fried egg sprinkled with a pinch of salt and pepper. Top everything with another piece of bread and press it gently until you hear the satisfying plop of the yolk breaking. Now bite into the contentment. Sip some soda in between the bites as you watch senseless late night television.

This had been my ultimate treat after I had put the kids to sleep, for years their bedtime ranged between ten pm to two am and I led myself on to put up with it by dreaming about this very moment. Of course most days I went to sleep while putting them to sleep or would be too tried to even sit on the sofa and some days there was nothing left in the refrigerator to make a sandwich out of! But the addiction to this, the moment of satisfaction, that bite into a big juicy sandwich was what mostly kept me going through. So much so that it became almost an addiction. I wanted to savor this feeling of elation every single day; it was my drug of choice. Cold chicken sandwiches, garlic mayo and leftover sandwiches, mince beef and cheese sandwiches and when there wasn’t anything else boiled eggs and tomato sandwiches. Needless to say I could whip up a sandwich anytime and from almost anything.

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Then quite dangerously I started buying foodstuff that complemented my sandwich addiction, I started getting DVDs to make my sandwiches worthwhile and drinking more and more soda to make everything last longer. So much was my ‘me’ time taking over my life that I would resent anything or anyone that came between us. I wanted to be home on weekend nights and even wanted my husband to go to sleep early so I could enjoy this time by myself. I dislike guests staying late and hated it if the kids got sick and I was too exhausted to stay up for my addiction.

At one point; around 20 pounds overweight and quite mentally deranged, I realized that this was becoming a very ‘unhealthy’ obsession. Late night high carb food and resenting your own family has its toll on your mind and body. I do enjoy my sandwiches but now I make them for picnics or weekend movie dinners with the kids. And yes I am much healthier, still a little obsessed but with healthier things now.