By Fakhar Alam
PESHAWAR, Apr 24 (APP): No haggling can be done with 45-year old Arif Ahmad, a famous Chappli Kabab seller, who is busy as a bee to keep up deluge of the parcel orders of fasting people for mouthwatering Peshawar’s traditional cuisine just prior to Iftaar.
Arif Ahmad, who looks well composed saddled up in high armchair amid hustle and jostle of shoppers with stretched hands at his shop established by his grandfather Jumma Khan in 1950, is working against the clock to meet the takeaway and home delivery orders usually weighting from one kilogram to five kgs as the sun has started setting down behind the Koh-e-Sufaid Mountains.
Sitting on left side of a long black frying pan beneath big gas flames cooking the famous Chappli Kabab and 20kg marinated meat in a tray on right side of his two-storey famous shop in front of Kanumgam Park, Arif said, “these days most of Chappli Kabab lovers ask for parcels from one Kg to five Kg for Iftaar parties at home rather than eating it in hot restaurants’ conditions,” Arif who inherited the hard-earned business from his father told APP.
“I had inherited Chappli Kabab’s business from my father, Jalil Ahmad after he took over it from his father, Jumma Khan in 1950. Following the death of my father, all his (Jalil Ahmed) six sons had carried forward the legacy of this hard-earned business and continued till date with a lot of hope to transfer it to the next generation,” he recalled.
“My grandfather had started chappli kabab business from a single ‘Karahi’ (frypane) 72 years ago and today with grace of Allah Almighty, we have six more shops including one at melody food street, Islamabad, two each at Firdous and University Road, one each at Gul Bahar and Faqirabad Peshawar,” he added.
“We use minced meat and once it is rightly crushed by experienced labourers, tomatoes, red chili powder, onions, dry coriander leaves, eggs, ginger, lemon juice, salt, masala and pomegranate seeds go into its marinated meat, making it delicious,” he said, adding it takes only 10 minutes to make a complete Chappli Kabab served with chutney, katchup, salad, yogurt and naan to customers.
Eminent writer and traveler, Qari Javed Iqbal in his book ‘Saqafat Sarhad Tarikh kay Ayeene Me’ (frontier culture in mirror of history) wrote that people of united India were mostly vegetarians but all kings and invaders from the West including Mughals, Turks, Ghazni and Afghans who conquered India were carnivores.
They introduced the habit of eating meat in new ways and customs in the United India where Mughals made meat-eating a cultural dish by making it a substitute for beef and buffalo’ meat by adding various spices and ingredients to it.
Before marching towards India, he said the kings, warriors and invaders had stayed in Peshawar by introducing Chappli Kabab’s recipe during Mughal dynasty, which had later gained international fame owing to its appetizing aroma and delectable taste.
Its recipe was later shifted to Karachi, Lahore, Quetta and other cities of Pakistan besides Jalalabad and Kabul in Afghanistan and Amratsar, Lucknow and Dheli in India.
In Peshawar, more than 3,000 chappli kebabs’ small and big outlets were existed mostly in Firdus, Bakhshu bridge, Warsak Road, Ring Road, Nothia, Namak Mandai, Hastnagri, Ramadas, Faqirabad and Board bazaars, attracting foodies.
“Chappli Kabab is my favorite dish and my Iftaar seems incomplete without tasting its aromatic bites,” said Engr Khushal Khan, a resident of Nothia Peshawar while talking to the news agency at famous Chappli Kabab shop at Qissa Khwani bazaar.
He said SAARC has over dozens of kabab recipes such as shami, boti, sekh kabab, behari, delhi, lahori and kashmiris but none of them can compete with famous Peshawari chappli kabab in taste and deliciousness.
Engr Khushal said one KG chappli kabab was being sold at Rs550 to Rs600 in Ramazan in Peshawar against Rs450 to Rs500 per KG in normal days that needed to be checked by the district administration.
Besides Chappli Kabab, Arif said takeaway service of traditional cuisines including Peshawari rice polao, paye, dampokh, namak mandi karahi, lamb chops, BBQ and others traditional foods have also shined in Ramazan.
Arif said people also dispatch it to UAE, Saudi Arabi and other countries for their friends, relatives and loved ones besides used in walima, engagements and haqeeqa of the newborn.
Abdul Sattar, Director Technical Food and Scientific Affairs, Food Services and Halal Authority, Govt of KP told APP that countering of adulteration in spices products mostly used in traditional cuisines including chappli kabab, paye, dampkoh and mutton karahi was a big challenge.
Sattar said three foods training schools at Mardan, Peshawar and Abbottabad have almost been completed. He underscored the need for establishment of nutritional wings, food screening laboratories and halal food research wings in all districts besides inclusion of food subjects in curriculum and constant awareness campaign by media and religious scholars necessary to win fight against menace of adulteration in milks and food products.
Qaiser Khan, Assistant Director and Spokesman of the KP Food Authority said that crackdown against adulteration in food cuisines and milk shops were underway in the province where 48,058KG/liter adulteration goods including spices, ice cream, beverages were disposed off during April 1-15, 2022. He said it was mandatory for hotels and food restaurants to ensure hygiene of kitchens and eatery halls while chefs should have a license of having no communicable disease.