A Farmer's Palette: Flavors from Mirpur Khas

Heritage dishes from Lower Sindh

A woman milking a goat in Mirpurkhas (2023)SOCH Outreach Foundation

Mirpur Khas

Mirpur Khas is the sixth-largest city in Sindh that dates back to the reign of the Mughal Empire. A sizeable population of the district consists of members of the Hindu community. Lakshmi is a resident of Padam Ji Meghwar Village in Mirpur Khas.

Two women sitting in an outdoor kitchen preparing a meal in Mirpurkhas (2023)SOCH Outreach Foundation

Local communities in Mirpur Khas are currently recovering from devastating floods. However, in contrast to surrounding districts, the locals of Padam Ji Meghwar Village have developed a thorough irrigation system with ample water resources.

A woman stitching a quilt in Mirpurkhas (2023)SOCH Outreach Foundation

The women of the village play an integral role in managing agriculture and household responsibilities. They also spend their time crafting beautiful handicrafts. Mirpur Khas is also well known for the cultivation of different varieties of mangoes.

A woman cooking in a village in Mirpurkhas (2023)SOCH Outreach Foundation

In Mirpur Khas, the dominant culinary influence revolves around vegetarian food, which is preferred by the locals over meat-based options. Additionally, the region offers a diverse array of dishes to cater to varied palates.

Laxmi smiling for a portrait in Mirpurkhas (2023)SOCH Outreach Foundation

From Farm to Table: A Culinary Experience with Lakshmi

Meet Lakshmi, a devoted mother of two from Padamji Meghwar village! Alongside running a grocery shop, Lakshmi balances her time between crafting rallis (patchwork quilts) and cooking simple meals for her family using seasonal produce sourced directly from local growers. 


Saag close up plating shot in Mirpurkhas (2023)SOCH Outreach Foundation

Spinach & Mustard Greens (Saag)

Saag is a rich, earthy vegetarian dish consisting of spinach leaves and other greens. Sarson ka saag (Mustard greens spinach) is a variant of this made with mustard greens and spices. These greens are found in abundance in winter across Sindh and Punjab.

Watch our film on local food in Mirpur Khas.

A Farmer's Palette Flavours from Mirpur Khas Spinach & Mustard Greens Saag (2023)SOCH Outreach Foundation

Mustard flower in a field in Mirpurkhas (2023)SOCH Outreach Foundation

Originally, saag was a staple in most villages but its nutritious and organic content has become a regular component of every Pakistani’s diet. It is eaten for its warm, rustic flavor in the winter months. Ripe mustard flowers are seen in this image.

The women of Mirpurkhas prepare Sarson ka Saag meticulously by hand. First, they soak the spinach leaves and mustard greens in water and boil them. The water is then drained from the leaves. After this, the greens are kept in a pot and pounded rigorously till the leaves are broken down. Ghee (oil) is heated in a pot, and mixed with chopped tomatoes, green chillies, chili powder, tumeric, and cilantro leaves. The pounded spinach leaves and mustard greens are added to the pot.

Saag being held in a spoon over a pot of boiling water in Mirpurkhas, 2023, From the collection of: SOCH Outreach Foundation
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A woman further grinding spinach in Mirpurkhas, 2023, From the collection of: SOCH Outreach Foundation
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Saag being cooked in a pot in Mirpurkhas, 2023, From the collection of: SOCH Outreach Foundation
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Saag and chawal ki roti plating shot in Mirpurkhas (2023)SOCH Outreach Foundation

All the ingredients are then left to cook on low heat, after which Sarson ka Saag (mustard greens spinach) is then plated and ready to serve.

Turai Ka Salan being plated in Mirpurkhas (2023)SOCH Outreach Foundation

Ridge Gourd Stew (Tori Ka Salan)

Tori (Ridge Gourd) is a widely used vegetable in Sindhi cuisine since it is simple to grow and easily accessible. Its slightly crunchy texture and mild flavor make it the perfect ingredient for soups, stews, and traditional savory dishes.

A Farmer's Palette Flavours from Mirpur Khas - Ridge Gourd Stew (Turai Ka Salan) (2023)SOCH Outreach Foundation

Gourd being added to a pot in Mirpurkhas, 2023, From the collection of: SOCH Outreach Foundation
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Tomatoes and Gourd being cooked in a pot together in Mirpurkhas, 2023, From the collection of: SOCH Outreach Foundation
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Tori (Ridge Gourd) is added to a pot of heated oil, followed by onions, tomatoes, and cilantro leaves.

Turai Ka Salan prepared in a pot in Mirpurkhas (2023)SOCH Outreach Foundation

Once all the ingredients are mixed and cooked on heat, the Tori ka Salan (Ridge Gourd Stew) is ready to serve.

A girl picking bananas in a village in Mirpurkhas (2023)SOCH Outreach Foundation

A Banana Grove in Mirpur Khas

Lakshmi's daughter collects raw bananas for a meal. Raw bananas, peeled, chopped or mashed, are treated as a staple ingredient in most Sindhi villages in place of potatoes. They are abundantly grown in the village fields.

A final plating shot of the kachay kelay ka salan in Mirpurkhas (2023)SOCH Outreach Foundation

Raw Banana Stew (Kachey Kelay Ka Salan)

This is a delicious savory meal prepared with raw bananas, freshly picked from the fields of Mirpurkhas.

A Farmer's Palette Flavours from Mirpur Khas Raw Banana Stew Kelay Ka Salan (2023)SOCH Outreach Foundation

Bananas being peeled and sliced for the salan in Mirpurkhas, 2023, From the collection of: SOCH Outreach Foundation
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Bananas are added to a pot in Mirpurkhas, 2023, From the collection of: SOCH Outreach Foundation
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Kachay Kelay ka Salan being prepared in a pot in Mirpurkhas, 2023, From the collection of: SOCH Outreach Foundation
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After the local women have collected raw bananas, they begin to slice the fruit. The banana slices are added with water to a pot of heated oil. The ingredients are then seasoned with masala and cilantro leaves and mixed well to cook.

A woman grinding flour in Mirpurkhas, 2023, From the collection of: SOCH Outreach Foundation
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A woman shaping the dough of the flatbread in Mirpurkhas, 2023, From the collection of: SOCH Outreach Foundation
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A woman placing the fladbread on a stove so it can cook in Mirpurkhas, 2023, From the collection of: SOCH Outreach Foundation
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Rice Flatbread (Chawal ki Roti) is also prepared on the side with rice flour kneaded into dough, flattened into shape, and heated on a griddle.

Chawal ki Roti, Saag, Kachay Kelay ka Salan, and Turai ka Salan plating shot in Mirpurkhas (2023)SOCH Outreach Foundation

A simple meal cooked by Lakshmi at Padamji Meghwar village.

Credits: Story

SOC Films Team

Creative Director: Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
Producer: Sameer Khan, Huma Shah
Associate Producer: Sara Sharif
Research Associate: Sara Sharif
Project Manager: Quratulain Khalid
DOP: Murtaza Ali
Photography: Faizan Ali
Photography Editor: Faizan Ali
First Camera: Murtaza Ali
Second Camera: Soha Anwar
Exhibit Writers: Samar Ather, Sameer Khan
Exhibits: Hamza Asad
Video Editor: Jason Liao, Azeem Charania
Colour Grade: Jason Liao, Azeem Charania
Assistant Video Editor: Misrah Nizami
Sound Design: Sameer Khan

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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