Recipes from My Kitchen
Growing up in a single-parent family, I have vivid memories as a child of watching my dad cook in the kitchen in the evenings after I had finished the school day and he had finished work. It was the time to catch up on the day’s happenings and I loved spending this time with him. I also loved watching him cook and found myself desperate to learn so my passion for cooking started very early on. I used to write every single detail down in my little notebook so as not to miss anything. I remember asking my dad out of awe and frustration in equal measure how he knew exactly how much to put in of the various spices and ingredients in the different dishes. I just couldn’t get my head round it as I would fastidiously jot down the exact measurement of each spice for each recipe. He would say to me that one day that will come naturally to me and I will be able to add them blindly. I would just stand there shaking my head, clutching my recipe book tightly and trying to memorise every single measurement of every single spice and every single ingredient for every single recipe I was learning from him.
My dad told me how he would watch his mother as a young boy cooking up feasts to feed the family and that is how he picked up how to cook and that is exactly how I learnt as well - watching my dad cook many years later. So, though my grandmother died long before I was born, her cooking legacy lives on - through my dad's love for her and then through my love for my dad!
By the time I was 13, I was cooking up a storm in the kitchen helping my dad throw his lavish dinner parties for his friends. It is from him that I also picked up my love for hosting dinners for my friends. From 15-dish buffet parties for up to 50 people to meticulously planned 9-course dinner evenings for up to 10 friends, cooking is my passion second only to my love of eating good food out. People eat to live; I live to eat. I also love to feed!
Through all those years, I actually got my confidence in cooking in my 20s as I started to realise that what my dad said was true. I could now blindly put stuff in just with my eye and with no need for precise measurement. It was such a good feeling to get to that stage.
Having lived in Brunei as a child and having travelled extensively, I find that as much as I love and crave and cook traditional Pakistani and Indian food, I also have a huge love for food I experience on my travels and I often come home and re-create those dishes that I fell in love with on my visits to various countries around the world. I have been greatly influenced by global food with a strong emphasis on street food which has led to my having a very open mind to fusion food and I try to throw things together that may not come across as though they will work in the first instance but somehow they always do. You just tend to get a knack for it.
Contrary to what most people believe, I don’t generally cook very hot and spicy food as I want my family and friends to enjoy the experience. When I was at University, I remember some occasions where I cooked killer hot curries for my friends and they still ate them even though they were super spicy but they loved the flavour. I have since toned down the heat content a lot when I cook for others.
Although I love cooking elaborate dishes that take a long time in prep and to execute for dinner parties, my day-to-day cooking generally revolves around very quick and simple dishes that take no time at all and require relatively low effort. I am always trying to come up with recipes that are speedy and easy without compromising on flavour. These are what I will mostly share here with you as I know time is of essence and so to be able to have great dishes that you can cook super quickly at home without them being labour-intensive is great and those are what I will focus on mainly. I also find it trying to read someone’s report of their whole week before you get to their actual recipe and so you will find that all my recipes will be concise; brief but comprehensive, and in an easy-to-follow and consistent format so you know what to expect. I will aim to release a new recipe every couple of weeks if not more frequently. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Happy cooking!