“When I was in Pakistan towards the end of last year, it was just so nice to go round the village to see everyone - not just my family but everyone in my small village,” says Teresa. “People are so kind, everyone invites you round for dinner or a drink of tea, a tradition still very much alive . If you’re a guest for one family, you then have to visit most of the neighbours houses too, either for a drink of tea or a meal. And, if you refuse, people think you have no manners and are being rude.
“During my stay, I was invited to my niece’s house for lunch, she cooked some beautiful and delicious dishes, and I had an amazing time with her. On our way back I travelled with my nieces in a rickshaw, it was great fun until our rickshaw broke down, luckily we were not far from home so my nephew, Danish, came to rescue us on his motorbike - I still can’t believe that we all manage to fit on one motorbike.”
Teresa explained in most cities in Pakistan, only two people at a time are allowed to travel on motorbikes, but in the villages, people get away with travelling as many as they can fit on the bike.
Farming, she explains, is very different to farming in England.
“Farmers in Pakistan still use very basic and traditional tools to farm.
“Farming in small villages is not as advanced as in England,” she explains. “My brother has a small farm in Punjab where he grows two main crops, wheat and cotton - he grows wheat around November and December.”
The wheat is used to make chapatis - a type of flatbread, and harvesting takes place in March and April.
“To harvest wheat, my brother has to hire people from the village to help him cut the wheat by hand using small blade cutters,” says Teresa.
In April and May, farmers start growing cotton. It is an expensive crop, and sells well - but it has to be brought in by hand.
“To harvest cotton farmers don’t have machines, family and friends go out to help them to pick cotton by hand.”
Farmers in Punjab also grow rice, maize, and green beans, and some fruit during the year.
“The main fruit farmers grow in Punjab is oranges in winter and mangoes in summer, they also like to have some animals on the farm, and when they are not busy with the crops they look after their animals. Most farmers will have cows and buffaloes - buffaloes are one of the most expensive animals in Pakistan, and if you have a couple on your farm in a small village, your neighbours will think you’ve got bit of money,” says Teresa.
One of the things people like about buffalo is their milk, which is more expensive than cow milk. “People prefer to use buffalo milk than cow’s because it is creamier and richer,” explains Teresa.
Although life in the cities of Pakistan is changing fast with people increasingly using modern technology, those in rural villages are still keeping to the old ways and are proud to keep traditions alive, says Teresa.
“Most villagers still use wood fire to cook, live in joint families, grow their own vegetables, hospitality and travel round in rickshaws, bicycles and small motorbikes.”
This recipe, for roasted, spicy chicken legs, was cooked up for her by her niece during her stay.
Six chicken legs
Some yoghurt to marinate the chicken
2tsp chilli powder
2tsp whole cumin seeds
Salt to taste
Quarter teaspoon turmeric
Quarter teaspoon ground gram masala
3tbls cooking oil
Four medium chopped tomatoes or one tin chopped tomatoes
1cm fresh ginger
Three cloves fresh garlic
Handful fresh coriander.
One medium onion diced
One mug hot water
1 Marinate the chicken legs in yoghurt, three quarters of the chilli powder, cumin seeds and salt and roast them in the oven until chicken legs are golden brown.
2 Brown the onion in the cooking oil.
3 Make a paste by adding ginger, garlic and tomatoes in a blender.
4When onion is brown add the paste, remaining chilli powder, salt, turmeric and ground gram masala and cook for couple of minutes.
5 Add the chicken legs and hot water and cook on low heat for five minutes.
6 Add fresh coriander mix well and enjoy with fresh chapati, rice or Naan bread.
Teresa runs classes in traditional Asian cooking, to find out more, visit her website yousafsasiancookery.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org