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Monday, 15 August 2011

My Food Roots

THE THOUGHT BEHIND THIS BLOG:

Hi guys - my name is SJ and it's pretty simple, I adore cooking - I think I am pretty much obsessed with anything to do with food and I don't think there is any recipe book of any value that I don't own. I grew up in Pakistan ( i now live in the UK) - well, since I was 8 anyway and I think I had a very different experience with food as compared to most Pakistanis. As is usual in the sub-continental culture, most people had hired help who would cook for them. But thiswas never the case in my family. Right from from my grandmothers to my own mom and my aunts, every single woman I knew in my family cooked themselves - and were very 'food-proud'. Hence we never grew up with the concept of 'khansama's - house-hold cooks! I think thats why I never really related to my friends who would always complain that their cook wasnt around hence mom was getting take away or producing some unedible dish - that's because, without being biased, I have to say the women in my family - (namely my mom of course) produced dishes that were delicious, nutritious and actually healthy, enough though that's not always the case with sub-continental food....

I guess I was lucky. My paternal gran (Dadi) was from the Utter Pardesh (UP) province in India and my maternal gran (Nani Mummy) was from Punjab in India. The culinery delights from both provinces are so very different. UP cuisine is very 'royal' - thats because its very influenced by the Mughlai cuisine. It has both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Heavy on exotic spices such as saffron, cardamom and the likes as well as meat such as mutton and lamb - the technique of cooking is also different from Punjabi cooking. In the UP the 'bhuna' technique is used a lot, whereby spices and meat/veg are fried in plenty of oil to bring out their flavour and allow the masala to cook well leaving the finished dish where the oil rises up to the surface, which is a sign of it's done-ness. The result is full deep flavours where the food is cooked is cooked in it's own juices. Punjabi cuisine incorporates a lot of ghee, milk - tons of fattening stuff. I think being a rural province they probably burned most the calories in the fields! Most tandoori food which the West is accustomed to, such as naan, tandoori chicken and pakoras, paneer - all originate from the Punjab. I always used to make fun of my Nani Mummy's food by saying hers was always watery and my Dadi's food was solid! But without a doubt the best food I've ever had. Luckily my mom loved to cook and learned everything from both of them - I have hence inherited a lot of recipes!

So you see I grew up with gran's who cooked and my mom who cooked not only Pakistani food but thanks to our travels for 10 years of my mom's early married life (and 8 of mine) picked up tricks and recipes from every continent she travelled to with my father. That coupled with her passion for cooking and reinventing recipes I have been truly blessed. Though, she'll hate me for saying this, but my mother is lazy and completely computer illiterate and never would do this, and hence I have taken it upon myself (after much insistence of friends and my hubby) to write this blog. I hope to share some of my mom's excellent improvised quick paki recipes great for modern western life, my grandmom's recipes as well as other recipes I have learnt along the way and share them with you with the hope that you will be as inspired as I am by food, flavour, texture and smell! So here goes! (please bear with me as I try to assimilate recipes and put them in order!)

4 comments:

  1. Congrats on the new blog. Looking forward to the recipes!

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  2. about time somi! maybe you'll get me cooking some edible 'real' food also...omer will sure be glad!

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  3. Alrite joined...done! :) Mum had a look at your blog last nite...

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  4. I remember coming over to play at your place as a kid and I still cant forget the snacks your mom used to prepare.She used to make the most delicious cakes and those sandwiches(which had some sort of relish in the filling)were to die for!I am sure you have inherited her talent of being a great homemaker and cook.Thank you for being so generous and sharing your recipes with everyone.God bless!

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