Growing up as a first-generation Pakistani in Karachi, I have been blessed with the experience of watching a young cuisine evolve with the flavours of an ancient culinary heritage. To me the food I grew up eating was only ever defined as Pakistani, and it is this distinct flavour that inspires me to write and teach.
My childhood was spent learning recipes from the women of my family, be it through watching, tasting or helping in the kitchen. The most memorable part of this for me, and perhaps the most significant, was learning through using my senses when cooking. My mother, grandmothers and aunts cooked by ‘andaza’, which means estimation. They taught me the importance of breathing in aromas, feeling the flavour, sensing when it needs an added touch of something – I was always encouraged never to be a slave to a recipe, but use it as your guide to create authentic flavour.
This sensory style of cooking is the foundation of my cuisine and my cooking philosophy. It has given me the freedom to experiment with the distinct flavours of Pakistani cuisine and driven my passion for sharing the spirit, traditions and culinary heritage of my homeland.
In my debut cook book, ‘Summers under the Tamarind Tree’, you will find more than 100 recipes which I hope will encourage you to discover the haunting, unique and authentic flavour of Pakistan; a country that will always be my home.