The relationship between Pakistani Weddings & Food

The relationship between Pakistani Weddings & Food

We Pakistani’s love eating! Halwa puri for breakfast followed by samosa’s with chai at 12 pm, then some chicken karhai with aloo ki sabzi for lunch. Need to have biscuits or cake rusk with shaam ki chai and then maybe some qeema with aloo palak for dinner. Qahwa to wash it all down, of course!
So whenever there’s an occasion, food is what we use to celebrate.
Promotion at work? ‘Bhai, samosay to mangwao’
Got a new car? ‘Chai biscuit zaroori hay’
Got engaged? ‘Gulab jamun kahan hain?’
Got married? ‘Ispe to dawaat honi chahiye aur khana to bhabi kay haath ka hoga’
Just got a client contract? ‘Aaj to Okra chalte hain, woh bhi company expense per’
So when it comes to a wedding, which is the biggest celebration that can be, the amount of food based traditions is literally crazy at times. From the mithai to say yes to the kheer which is the first thing the bahu makes when she goes to her new home.
Here’s a list of some of the most common ones – which rasam’s are done in your family?                 
Not really a custom in itself but a box of mithai is the Pakistani andaaz of saying yes. A box of gulab jamun bought over to a girl’s house is a way of saying yes and confirming the rishta. The tokra of mithai, dry fruits and fruits bought over later is a formal baat pakki. The mithai is later distributed among friends & family to celebrate the rishta.

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Wedding favors
How many of you remember being kids and waiting for the nikah ceremony to be completed so you can eat the sweets & chuwaray from the nikah batwa’s? I know I did, and with food being served SO late it was a welcome snack!
Known as bidh or nikah favors, these batwa’s or boxes are distributed by the groom’s side of the family after the nikah. This is another way of saying Mubarak / congrats. Though we now have a lot of crafters and wedding planners making intricate versions of these favors, I still fondly remember sitting with family and filling these batwa’s with hand with a pile of sweets & nuts around me.

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Doodh Pilai
Doodh Pilai is a custom where the bride’s sisters, cousins or friends bring milk for the groom. After he drinks the milk, he is supposed to give them money or gifts. The milk can be plain, flavored with red sherbet and if the friends want to play a prank they even flavor it with spice or salt to surprise the groom. Yes, apparently we LOVE to play pranks at weddings!
Mehndi ki Rasam
We know, it’s all about the shadi and the valima but honestly the mehndi is THE best part of the wedding celebration. The colors, the singing, the dancing AND no one cries at the mehndi! Plus let’s not forget the food. Traditional mehndi food was usually gola kebabs, paratha’s and kachori’s but nowadays there’s a full array of street food! Shawarma’s, kebab rolls, bun kebab, chaat etc.
We also have the mehndi ki rasam. Once the bride is brought forward to the stage by her cousins and siblings, she is made to sit with her face veiled. After this, a number of close family relatives apply mehndi to her hands (on a paan ka patta) and then feed her sweets. The customary sweet is mithai (mostly mini gulab jamuns or chum chum for easier eating) but these days candies & M&M’s are a popular choice as well. Let’s not forget the phoopi or phoopa who will make the groom eat an entire motichoor ka laddu!

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The Wedding Breakfast
So this is another popular custom which consists of the ‘larki walay’ bringing breakfast for the ‘larkay walay’ the day after the rukhsati. It’s usually an elaborate breakfast which can include both Desi & continental items. Bread & butter, halwa puri, stuffed paratha’s, omelets, qeema even nihari are some of the things that are brought over. Some people make the breakfast themselves, pick it up from a dhaba or even order from a home caterer like Urban Kitchen.
Once breakfast is over, the larki walay take the girl with them to their place to spend a few hours with her family and relax unless of course the valima is in the evening.

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Aptly named, chauthi is the fourth day after the wedding where the bride’s parents host a dinner for the immediate family members of the groom. It is usually marked by a lavish dinner and includes fun traditions like joota chupai. Though it’s supposed to be held on the 4th day after the wedding, nowadays, it is held on the most convenient day.
Valima Feast
A traditional Islamic wedding has two necessary elements. One is the nikah and the second is the valima or the wedding feast. The Arabic word Walima (marriage banquet) is derived from the root word Walam, which literally means to gather and assemble. It is also a Sunnah and an expression of gratitude and publicising the marriage.  

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Kheer Chatai
The kheer chatai is another custom held right after the rukhsati when the bride arrives at the groom’s house. The bride and groom are seated face to face or next to each other and some kheer is put in a plate / spoon and sometimes even the bride’s hand. One of the groom’s family members holds her hand while the groom tries to eat the kheer.
It does sound strange, but it is considered a playful way to break the ice between the couple who may not even have gotten the chance to talk to each other before the wedding.
Kheer Pakai
So as a way to ease her into her new home the bride is not supposed to cook anything at her new place till her ‘kheer pakai’. In this rasam the first thing the bride cooks for her in-laws is a dessert with kheer being the preferred due to how easy it is to make. In some cases, all the bride needs to do is stir a spoon known as ‘chamcha chalao’.
If you really really want to impress your in-laws (basically your husband) there are a lot of absolutely scrumptious Desi & continental dessert recipes available on Desi Appetite for you to try!
The Shahi Tukray and the Chocolate Éclair are fan favorites. 

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