Pakistani Food & Grocery

Usually word of mouth, you will get to know different Pakistani / Indian grocery stores in your area however if you want immediate information you can visit the website www.zabihah.com where you will be able to find Muslim / Pakistani Grocery stores, Zabiha meat & restaurants.
While shopping for grocery you can find almost everything that we consume in Pakistan, thanks for international trade. Some of the grocery products are imported from Pakistan and most of them are imported from India. The Pakistani brands available are “Shan” and “National” mainly. You will find all Shan & national spices, Achaar, Chutniyan, Kheer mixes or almost everything offered in Pakistan by these brands, among other brands there are Ahmed, Maggi, Knor etc.

Understanding the nutritional facts is a must:

Every eatable in USA will be marked with nutrition’s facts. While recently moved to United States we overlook it easily. I never bothered to read those facts until I gained 5KG weight in just 3 months, the food I consumed was pure homemade Pakistani food plus some snacks from outside like biscuits, crackers, chips and snacks. We used to consume whole milk and whole milk products and never thought of buying skimmed milk or less fat products. We followed the concept that only whole milk has complete nutritional value however it might be true for children because in United States food is processed with lots of hormones and artificial.

In Pakistan items with labeled light, less sugar, fat free, low salt, reduced fat are mostly used by high sugar or blood pressure patients however in United States we need consider buying these items, like mostly people of ages above 20 should use 1% or 2% fat milk and low fat milk products, low fat mayonnaise etc. Before buying any products like chips, biscuits refer to the nutritional facts table to check how much fat and other nutrition it will adds to your diet.
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Pakistani Lentils in USA:

The lentil (Daal) names are different in USA however in “Desi” Stores you might able to find it with the correct name or you can recognize the lentils by their shape and color. Some lentils might be found in international grocery stores. Below mentioned table gives you information about basic lentils name in English and Hindi.


Daal


Lentil


Hindi Name if different

Daal Mash

Urad Beans (Sabat) split horse
beans (dhuli hoi)

Daal Urad

Daal Moong

Mung Beans (Sabat) Split green
gram (dhuli hui)

Daal Masoor

Red lentil

Sabat Masoor

Brown Lentil

Daal Channa

Yellow split peas

Safaid Channa

Chickpeas

Laal Lobiya

Red / Kidney Beans

Rajma

Safaid Lobiya

Black eyed peas

Kala Channa

Black Chickpeas

Pakistani Vegetables in USA:

You may find most of the Pakistani vegetables in United States grocery stores, some of them have different names, some of them have different shapes but the taste is almost same.

Below mentioned table contains complete information of vegetables with their name in English and some extra information to help you out recognizing the correct one because you will find huge variety of everything and it difficult to select one for us.

Sabzi

Vegetable

Other Vegetables in same category

Pyaaz

Yellow onions

You will find yellow, white & Red, mostly Pakistani use yellow or red onions as its taste matches closely to Pakistani onions

Hara Pyaaz

Leeks

Available in US grocery stores.

Tamatar

Roma Tomatoes

Roma Tomatoes are the type of tomatoes we eat in Pakistan. The tomatoes used mostly in US are big in size but same in flavor, you can use them as well. You can also find small salad tomatoes usually with name “cheery tomatoes” really small but taste like a tomato.

Aloo

Red Potatoes

You will find several types of potatoes like red, brown, baking potatoes however red potatoes taste closely as a Pakistani potato.

Adrak

Ginger

Easily available in US grocery stores in raw and minced form

Lehsan

Garlic

You will get mince garlic in US stores, for cloves or bulbs you can visit International (Pakistani / Indian) grocery store

Bengan

Egg Plant

Only one type big one is available in US stores, the long Egg Plant is available in Desi/International stores. “Bengan” is not knows as Brinjal in USA.

Bhindi

Okra

Only available in frozen section of US stores, cleaned, cut and packed. If you want whole okra you can visit international (Desi) grocery store. People does not call is Lady Finger in USA.

Muttor

Peas

You will find peas packed as sweet peas or only peas but both taste almost same that is bit sweeter than the Pakistani peas but  you will not need to peel it, you will get already peeled peas everywhere in frozen vegetable section or in canned form.

Kheera

Cucumber

Thank God – only one type of cucumber everywhere

Laal mooli

Radish

You will not find the plain white mooli (Radish) here. Just the red small mooli known as radish.

Shaljam

Turnip

You will find normal turnip (Pakistani type), yellow turnip and red turnip known as beetroot. You will also find turnip leaves if you like to eat them J

Tinda

N/A

Not available in USA – Hurray some of you will feel happy J

Band Godhi

Green Cabbage

Available with same name and shape + you can also buy red cabbage that tastes almost same as the green cabbage.

Phool Gobhi

Cauliflower

Available fresh, cut and frozen in packed form

Halwa kadoo

Pumpkin

Available in different shapes & forms in USA but I never cooked it in Pakistan and never here

Leemoo

Lemon

Yellow lemon, green lemon plus you can get the lemon juice packed in bottles for convenience on very low price.

Karela

Bitter ground

Not available in USA

Gajjar

Carrots

Available fresh carrots, baby carrots, shredded carrots also available in frozen and canned form. You will not find red color Pakistani carrots in USA, only orange color or pale red.

Ghiyaa kadoo

Squash

Look for the green squash as there are many forms and colors of squash available, green squash is not easily available in all US stores. You can also find it in Desi/International grocery
stores.

Ghiyaa tori

Zucchini squash

Its shape is completely different as it’s thicker than Pakistani Ghiyaa tori but when cooked taste same.

Shimla Mirch

Green pepper / Bell pepper

Not known as capsicum, bell peppers are red, green and yellow but the shimla mirch we use in Pakistan is the green pepper.

Hari Mirch

Chili Peppers

You will find variety of peppers in USA but none of them is like our Pakistani “Hari Mirch”. You can use different to match your taste. I buy jalapeno pepper as an alternative; peppers are also in international/Desi grocery stores you can check. Other peppers includes Anaheim pepper, habanera pepper, banana pepper etc.

Podina

Mint

Available in a small box with few leaves, very small quantity. You can get good quantity of mint on lower price from international/Desi grocery stores.

Dhaniya

Cilantro

Do not search for the word Parsley as its Italian type of “Dhaniya. What you exactly need is called cilantro

Salad Pata

Lettuce

Salad leaves are known as Lettuce in USA and used in high volumes in many things. Available as lettuce loose leafs (closest to Pakistani salad pata) iceberg another form of lettuce widely used by Pakistanis but not available in Pakistan and Romanian lettuce. Best for salad is Iceberg

Palak

Spinach

Spinach is mostly available in frozen / canned form but its quantity is very little for Pakistani spinach recipes. You can also find leaves in packed form that cost bit higher. I buy spinach rom international grocery with low price and good quantity.

Methi

Fenugreek

Not available in US grocery stores. Available only in international/Desi grocery stores.

Saag

Mustard leaves

Available in packed leaves form very little to cook as a Pakistani Saag Recipe. You can buy it from international/Desi grocery store.

Sitta / bhutta

Sweet corns

The corns available in US are sweet. You can get the corns in frozen and canned form as well widely available.

Shakar Kandi

Sweet potatoes

Easily available, do not confuse it with Yams, I never tried Yams but they look like sweet potatoes.

Zaitoon

Olives

You can easily buy olives; black and green whole cut and crushed in canned form / packed in bottles.

You might not find some more vegetables not mentioned above like Phaliyan, Moongray, Singharay, Arvi or Choliya (pulse seeds) in USA but find some vegetables like tomatillos, broccoli, avocados etc that you may not find in Pakistan.

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Pakistani Fruits in USA:

You will almost find every type of fruit you eat in Pakistan however there are some facts that I would like to share that would be helpful.

Aam (Mango) – relish yourself with lots of mangoes before coming to USA, you may find mangoes in USA exported from Mexico that are not even close to the mangoes you eat in Pakistan so for mango lovers it’s not a good news.

Oranges – The oranges you will find in USA are somewhat like “mosami” hard surface, somewhat soft inside, but you will not get the Malta and Santara that you will love to peel with hands and would love to eat its juicy and soft pulp.

Fruits you will not find in USA: There are some fruits that are not available anywhere in United States like Lokaat and Jaman. Some fruits are only available in cans like leechi and there are some fruits you can find in international markets only like “Guava” Amrood that is available in Spanish markets. I have never seen shehtoot, bair, falsa (My favorite) anywhere in United states and I miss eating these fruitsL

Note: All fruits like apple, banana, grapes that are easily available might not taste as good as you are use to, like I hated the first banana I have eaten, it seemed tasteless and I threw it half eaten in trash (My husband still doesn’t know about itJ) but l developed the taste with time pass and now I can easily eat banana in USA. Same goes with the Angoor (grapes) and almost all fruits. I went back to Pakistan for vacations and tasted grapes there and was astonished with its marvelous taste, I just said “I never enjoyed eating grapes like this before” I am not a fruit lover but I really miss Pakistani fruits.

Pakistani Dry fruits in USA:

Dry fruits Urdu

Dry fruits English

Details

Badaam

Almonds

Available in whole, peeled, roasted, sliced, salted, slivered

Moong Phali

Peanuts

Available in whole, salted, roasted with or without skin

Akhrot

Walnut

Available in chopped, whole, halved, diced, pieces and shells

Pista

Pistachio

Available in roasted, with or without shell.

Kajoo

Cashew nuts

Available in roasted, without roasted, halves and pieces

Chalghoza

Pine nuts

Different in shape

Khopra / Giri

Dry Coconut

Available is crushed and cut
form

Pakistani Spices in USA:

Pakistani spices are mostly available in international stores, Indian stores or Pakistani stores. You will find spices made by “Shan”, “National” e.g. red chili powder, biryani masala etc. along with these spices; you will find a huge variety of Indian spices by “Deep” “Lakhsmi” etc. I usually prefer to use Indian spices as they taste better than the National and Shan spices but for mix prepared spices I use Shan & national  for biryani, chappal kabab, achaar gosht, nihari and haleem. The English name of all spices are gives below for your convenience however the name mentioned on the packs are mostly in Indian English and you will understand it easily.

Urdu

English

Saunf Aniseed
Tezpat Bay leaf
Ialichi Cardomom
Choti ilaichi Green cardomom
Darchini Cinnamon
Zeera Cumin seeds
Rai Mustard seeds
Kalonji Onion seeds
Ajwain Carom seeds
Haldi Turmeric
Til Sesame

Basic Kitchen items in USA details:

There are few things we also needs to know about other grocery items as well as many items available in international or United States grocery stores may differ or have different names so find below the list of basic household items with purchase guidelines. There are thousands of products with alternatives, unlike in Pakistan so there are more chances for you to get confused.

Urdu

English

Details

Doodh

Vitamin D milk

Whole milk is called “vitamin D milk”, 1% and 2% milk is also available, and the % indicates the percentage of fats. Skimmed milk is also easily available on comparatively lower prices.

Makhan

Butter

You will find salted & unsalted butter + margarine of many kinds including the low fat margarine for almost $1 per pack.

Banaspati ghee

Clarified butter

Not available in US store, people use a product Crisco as ghee but it’s not ghee + you can only find Desi ghee in international stores that is approximately cost $10 per jar.

Paneer

Cheese

Available in so many varieties and names, I personally like to use partially skimmed mozzarella cheese & mild cheddar. You can try different cheese to match your taste.

Malai

Cream

You can find half n half; heavy whipped cream and whipped frozen cream. The cream close to the Haleeb or Milkpak cream is the heavy whipped cream still it’s not that thick. Whipped frozen cream is sweetened and can be used in desserts. Half n half is used in sweet dishes with milk to thicken milk like kheer.

Dahi

Yogurt

Available as whole, low fat & no fat + there are lots of flavored yogurts to try as well.

Kishmish

Raisins

Available in US stores in dark color, the Pakistani raisins can be found in international grocery stores.

Khajoor

Dates

Only international stores

Aata

Flour

You will only find Maida from baking section of US stores. The Aata for chapati can only be found in international stores

Maida

Flour

Can easily be found in different verities, we normally use “all purpose flour” but different type of flours are available for different needs like rising flour is used for baking cakes.

Sooji

Semolina

Called Rava in Hindi, Only available in international stores

Besan

Gram flour

Do not buy Ladoo Besan as its something else. You will find gram flour from Indian manufacturers from international stores only.

Shehad

Honey

Easily available in all US stores

Chawal

Rice

Rice available in US stores is American rice that does not taste as good as basmati rice, you can find basmati rice from any international store

Note: There are some wholesale stores that keeps the basmati rice like “BJ’s” & “The Sam’s Club” they offers basmati rice for cheapest price however you need to have their membership that currently cost around $50 per year.

Pakanay ka Tel

Cooking oil

Vegetable cooking oil, canola cooking oil, corn oil, olive oil and cooking sprays are available easily.

Sarson ka tel

Mustard Oil

Only international stores

Achaar

Pickles

In international grocery stores you may find pickles in jars that are dipped in vinegar only like the baby cucumbers, onion etc but the real Achaar we eat in Pakistan will be found in international stores. Mainly Shan & national and some Indian brands.

Anaar Dana

Pomegranate seeds

Easily available in all US stores

Arq-e-Ghulab

Rose Water

Not available in US stores, you can only find vanilla essence. Rose water is available in international grocery stores.

Cheeni

Sugar

Cane sugar is easily available in iced sugar form.

Imli

Tamarind

Only international stores

Khameer

Yeast

Easily available in all US stores

Sawiyaan

Vermicelli

Only international stores, available by Shan as well

Interesting fact: in Pakistan skimmed products are higher in price but in USA you will get skimmed milk on lower price. When you skim the milk you get the cream out of it so it should logically be cheap because the same cream is sold for higher price.

Halal meat in USA:

Easily available in most of the areas however if you live in a small city you may drive a couple of extra miles to get it still you will find it. You can find chicken, goat meat, lamb meat, beef meat, minced beef (The term ground beef is used here) etc. to find the closest Halal meat shop visitwww.zabihah.com

Interesting fact: If you are only buying the chicken leg + thigh cut piece it will cost you lesser than the whole chicken. I really found that interesting that mostly Pakistani usually like leg piece

In USA there are two concepts regarding eating
chicken from USA grocery stores or restaurants, outside places where it is not mentioned as Halal chicken (chicken American eats) and the Halal chicken that is also called the Zabiha. All Arab people eat chicken from US restaurants / buy chicken from local grocery store, keeping the logic in mind that the chicken blood drains well even if it cut by any way. According to Quran, blood is Haram so if the blood is drained well then they can eat chicken. There is a fatwa by some Moulana as well confirming it ok for Muslims to eat chicken from outside.

According to other concept chicken that is not Zabihah (Cut while pronouncing Allah’s name) is not Halal and we cannot eat it. Pakistanis follows both concepts depending upon their research and how they take things, I am not suggesting here anything because we as Muslim should research on our own to find answers for ourselves.

There are 8 comments left Go To Comment

  1. Desi Grocery Store /

    Very informative article…We are also doing are bit to serve the South Asian community in USA…we are an Online Grocery Store, delivering South Asian groceries, at doorstep to all 50 states in USA. Check us out at http://www.desigrocerystore.com

  2. amir jat /

    looking for wholesale suppliers of indian pakistani groceries for shop in little rock. thanks

  3. Nadeem /

    “Fruits you will not find in USA: There are some fruits you may never find in USA including guava (Amrood), Lokaat, leechi, shehtoot, bair, falsa (My favorite), jaman. I miss these fruits”

    Well … not true at all. I live in Florida and I have many Lokaat’s trees in one of my neighbor’s backyard.

    Leechi: You can even find it in american stores under “oriental food” section. It’s just that you will have to go with the canned one.

    Jaman: Absolutely not true … We have Jaman’s tree all over Miami (go to Miami-Dade College North Campus if you live in Miami and you will find tons of Jaman trees around). Believe it or not, I found Jamans here to be MUCH better than in Pakistan. Jaman here are bigger and sweeter.

    Amrood: Can easily be found in Spanish Markets.

    1. admin / Post Author

      Thank you for adding more info to it. It will be corrected according to your experience. We have developed this website with our experience to help everyone else in best possible manner. Info provided might not be 100% true. Lots of users share their experiences as well which makes this website more helpful and accurate. Thank you so much for contributing this valuable information.

  4. Nadeem /

    admin,
    I really appreciate the information found on your website. Just this page with translations of all the spices and daal is very informative and helpful. Keep up the good work.

    By the way, spring is Lokaat’s season and they are ripe and very tasty. I just got back from collecting Lokaats in my neighborhood. As Lokaat trees are not very tall, I was able to collect around 10 pounds from 2 trees in almost no time. There are many trees around my area (which I will be visiting next weekend as no one here knows anything about this fruit and no one eats them.).

    Summer is Mango and Jaman’s season and I already see flowers on the trees. There are dozens of Mango and Jaman tree in my area as well. Can’t wait for them to ripe.

    By the way, do you know the English of Jaman and Lokaat?

    1. admin / Post Author

      Thanks for appreciating, a word of appreciation is always motivating to do more. As far I know the English word for Jaman is Jambul and Lokaat has same pronunciation with spelling little different as “Loquat”

  5. Adil Maqbool /

    very informative site really gave me alot of information. the mango season is coming and there are alot of mangoes farms in my area exporting to different countries on special request to the grocery stores of different countries

    do you know the English of Chounsa, Anwar Ratol, Sindhri, dosehri

    1. admin / Post Author

      Most Pakistani Mango names are known as it is, I am not sure if they have any English names.

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