Remembering Anwer Sultana with some Baisani roti and Afghani chuttney

Published: February 25, 2015

Nani loved getting baisani (gram/chickpea floured) roti made at the tandoor situated close by. PHOTO: AMBREEN MALIK

Dill always reminds me of my Nani (maternal grandmother), Anwer Sultana. A couple of decades earlier, during winter vacations, all of us cousins would come down to Rawalpindi to spend winter breaks with our grandparents.

Nani had a huge herb and vegetable garden at the back of the house. The garden always had one particular herb every winter – soy/dill. The shrub always grew taller than me, an eight-year-old back then, making me disappear in the dill patch while trying to catch ladybirds. The ladybirds too loved the perfumed dill as much as I did.

Nani loved getting baisani (gram/chickpea floured) roti made at the tandoor (cylindrical clay oven) situated close by. She would supervise and instruct our cook, named Rasheed aka Sheeda, as to how to make the dough. It always had plenty of fresh dill from her garden. Once the dough was prepared, Sheeda would take it to the nearest wood-fired tandoor and get the baisani roti made. The tandoor guy always knew how Begum Sahiba (my Nani) liked the rotis. We loved having it with home-churned butter while soaking in the winter sun, followed by a kino (orange) eating marathon.

On the death anniversary of my Nani, who now rests at Emanabad, a small city situated 30kilometres from Lahore, I found myself strolling down memory lane, catching ladybirds while buying some dill at a local vegetable shop. I have not known a woman as kind and as beautiful as Anwer Sultana. I do wish she was still alive so we could have the conversations we never had a chance to have! Now they only happen in my head.

To relive the memory of having baisani roti with Afghani chutney, I would like to share this recipe with you.

Ingredients for baisani roti:

Chickpea flour – 1 cup

Whole wheat flour – ½ cup

Butter – 50 grams (melted)

Dill – handful (fresh and chopped)

Coriander – handful (fresh and chopped)

Red chillies – ½ tsp (crushed)

Green chilli – 1 thinly (chopped)

Roasted cumin seeds – 1 tsp (lightly crushed)

Roasted coriander seeds – 1 tsp (crushed)

Water – for kneading

This recipe will need a griddle and food processor.

Photo: Ambreen Malik

Method for baisani roti:

1. Add everything, except water, in to the food processor and pulse it for 10 seconds.

2. Now switch on the machine and slowly add the ¼ cup of water till everything comes together and forms a dough.

Photo: Ambreen Malik

3. Take the dough out and knead it for two to three minutes. Put it in a bowl with a tablespoon of oil in it. Cover it and let it sit for 30 minutes.

4. Then make small balls of the dough, roll them out and cook them, on both sides, on a hot griddle.

5. Now, remove them from the griddle and cut in triangles. You can serve these hot with salsa or chutney.

Photo: Ambreen Malik

Ingredients for Afghani chutney:

Mint – 1 cup

Fresh coriander leaves – 2 cups (chopped)

Garlic – 2 cloves

Tomato – 1 large (try finding a green one)

Fresh green chilies – 4 whole

Lemon juice – of 4 to 5 lemons (medium sized)

White vinegar – ¼ cup

Salt – to taste

Photo: Ambreen Malik

Method for Afghani chutney:

Add all the ingredients in a liquidiser and make a smooth paste. In case you feel that more liquid is needed, you can increase the amount of vinegar.

Photo: Ambreen Malik

This simple dish can easily replace your Doritos and salsa snack any given afternoon! Enjoy!

This post originally appeared here.

Ambreen Malik

Ambreen Malik

The author is a Microfinance Banker, food blogger, LSE Alum and a dragon in training. She tweets as @ambreen_malik (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Fareed Khan Afridi.

    The dish was made as per author’s recipe. Delicious !
    Also had a chutney made with red chiis, garlic, tamarind paste.
    Good. [On the side.] Pretty good.Recommend

  • arzooatpostdotcom

    Thank you for sharing the recipe and for tagging us along with you on your journey on memory lane. Very beautifully written. It will touch hearts of many, I am certain.Recommend


    I just had lunch but after seeing this picture above, I am hungry again.

    Ali Khan
    DIgital Engagement Team, USCENTCOMRecommend

  • Gp65

    The Baisani roti seems quite similar to Thepla which we have in Gujarat. Though we do not end up cutting it in triangles. It is eaten with garlic and red chilly chutney.Recommend

  • Gp65

    Kino is tangerine not orange. Orange is santra. Kino is a hubrid of orange (santra) and sweetlime (mausambi). The skin is thick like sweet lime and so is the fibre. The color is much brighter orange than santra or orange. Recommend

  • Sami

    Pudainay ki chutney have various variations and the recipe of this chutney that is shown here is just another variant of Pudainay ki chutni that is eaten across Punjab, Sindh and in North Indian regions. It has nothing to do with Afghanistan.
    The agriculture based economies should be proud of their produce and their dishes. They should stop falling prey to those people who are hijacking local dishes and then try to name them on their own.Recommend

  • Ambreen Malik

    …and you think podinay ki chutney or something similar to a salsa is only made in this region and no where else? Please read up on cross cultural foods and hybrids/fusion foods first then write! Afghans have lived with us for more than 30 years as refugees and IDPs. Their food has influenced us in many ways. This chutney is served at the fries stands all over Islamabad run by afghanis and thats what they call it. Please do your homework before embarrassing yourself. Thank you.Recommend

  • Ambreen Malik

    Thank you for wasting every ones time! I will let the ET editing team know about their unforgivable mistake of calling a kino an orange.Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    Reading this at twelve noon. Why dost thou stoke the fires of my hunger. Need burger or Samosa urgently.Recommend

  • Kiran

    Its quite a rude reply Ambreen, It not waste of time it was just a clarification. It doesn’t hurt to take comments with open mind.Recommend

  • Gul Bahadur Marri.

    Thank you for straightening that out.
    Which brings up the point that in Quetta the food is very heavily
    influenced by Persian AND Afghan cuisines. [i.e. Balochistan.]
    Not to mention, that in the former British Raj North West Frontier
    Region [ in the very distance peaceful good old days ] you could
    not tell whether you were eating in Peshawar or Mazar e Sharif or
    Kohat or Parachinar. The cuisine was simply Regional. And very
    very delicious! Still is. This is before the words fusion/hybrid existed.
    And the breads ! Mouth watering varieties. Some 2 feet long !
    Baked in the Mediterranean type ovens. Beside tandoors.
    And who can argue with Chapli Kababs. Now they are a national dish.Recommend

  • Supriya Arcot

    Finally some way of using dill. I have always wondered how , where and when to use it .Recommend

  • Ambreen Malik

    It just surprises me how people can actually waste time writing irrelevant things and criticise for the sake of criticising. ET tried translating kino in to an orange for international readers, why write a thesis about it. Get over it! Why are we so negative all the time?Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    turned out to me a little tame so I had to bring out my secret weapon the uber hot chaat masala. The other members of the household liked it as given in the recipie.Recommend

  • Sami

    . Also you claimed that Afghans are living as IDPs for 30 years so they influenced our culture. In what world you are living ?.
    I have a Book on Indian recipes and that book was written before the creation of Pakistan. I have read about this chutney there. So who comes first. That 80 year old recipe book or IDPs.?
    Kindly do some research on North Indian cuisine and then lay claim on the Indian food and name it Afghan food. I could understand that it is a shame to Associate with Indian names as obviously you are all Arab race and association with India is a shame.
    So keep on giving all foods to Afghans.
    Recently I visited Karachi and you know Afghans are selling Parathas by naming them as Afghan Parathas. Similarly now Dood Patti is available in Karachi as Afghani chai. Even Afghans in UK are claiming that Basmati rice is Afghan. So the people like you will give them the room and they will keep on hijacking your dishes and cuisine.
    Last but not least you said that i am embarrassing yourself. No i am not. But you think that they know everything.Recommend

  • Nandita.

    Gp65’s comment was not irrelevant at all Nor was it criticism. Your rude reply is really appalling. People who write on public forums need to have an open mind.
    You should have actually thanked or appreciated Gp65’s comment Recommend

  • Nandita.

    The only one who was negative here was You.Recommend

  • Gul Zaman Ghorgasht

    Who gives a doozy
    what you read in an 80 year old book. It has no relevance. Same dishes are called by different names in different
    regions OR countries. You seem to have an agenda
    against Afghans. This blog has nothing to do with any
    country. It was just about a simple dish. But YOU turned
    it into a ethnic diatribe. Normally you are beating your ethnic drum about Mohajjirs. Now that includes Afghans. Punjabis did not copyright or trademarked dood-patti or chutneys or parathas, biryani.

  • RFD

    Not at all. Facts matter. Gp65 has a history of making
    cursory unflattering remarks. On just about any subject.
    What was the point of correcting a blog in a dismissive way?
    That’s how it came across. Maybe Gp65 should restrict
    comments to more volatile subjects,..Modi, RSS/BJP, Amit.
    And open minds? You should read the pure vitriol dispensed
    by your co citizens on this website.Recommend

  • Nandita.

    I don’t think gp65 was dismissive of the blog and I don’t think gp65 has a habit of making unflattering remarks. Her comment here was not unflattering at all. Whatever gp says – she backs it up with facts. She doesn’t make up stories.
    I agree with you on one point-facts matter. And as far I know gp always sticks to facts.
    This author needs to stop overreacting and she needs a lesson in politeness. Recommend

  • RFD

    You have a right to your opinions. Certainly you are entitled.
    It would be pointless to carry this exercise further. However…
    And here is a stark reference in blog etiquette:- ‘…she
    needs a lesson…’ See the point?Recommend

  • Nandita.

    No, I don’t see your point. Rude people need to be tayght how to be polite. That’s what I feel.Recommend

  • ather khan

    it seems anti-afghan feelings are brewing among some people. very much appreciate your comment mam. i am a big fan of your recipes. thanks for the recipes and comment.Recommend

  • ather khan

    so much racist hatred.Recommend