EDIT: The Clueless Pakistani Cook is NOW AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE. Click here to be redirected to the purchasing page.
Last week on my Instagram I posted a blurred out, dim picture and asked my followers ‘can anyone guess what I’m up to?’. Some guessed right – I’m writing and launching my very first ebook and it’s being released in just 4 days! This is an incredibly exciting time for me!
So here’s a lowdown on exactly what this cookbook is about for those of you who want to know a bit more about the book and gauge whether this book is good for them!
‘The Clueless Pakistani Cook’ was inspired by all the emails and private messages I received from people who wanted to get started in the kitchen but didn’t know quite where to begin. Some of the messages were from beginner cooks who had dived straight into some advanced recipes such as biryani or ladus and they didn’t understand where they went wrong. Some of the messages were from people who just didn’t understand how I had learnt how to cook so quickly and want to know how I balanced it with University (and now work) life. All of these messages, each and every single one of them, remind me of… well, me! Me in the early days of my marriage and cooking days…
My culinary adventures really started after I got married. I entered my new home with a track record of 0 successful Pakistani dishes to my name. A few weeks after my wedding, I unsuccessfully tried a string of Pakistani recipes, including Palak Murgh, Chicken Pilau, Aloo Gosht and Biryani. My botched attempts really damaged my confidence, yes, but I was adamant I would become the best cook in the family and I would become it A S A P. It was after another failed attempt at a curry, as I was polishing the last soupy scoops of my overly soupy prawn curry, I told my husband ‘I want to cook a fish biryani tomorrow’. He looked at me, puzzled and shocked, and said ‘Fatima, first learn how to cook white rice, then talk about cooking fish biryani.’ I believe it was at that moment I had my breakthrough moment. I realised the most obvious thing I had so conveniently been ignoring. I had to learn the basics first.
When I began with the basics, everything else began to fall into place. I experimented with the basic spices; salt, turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander and cumin and then I understood where, how and when to use them – then I went onto other spices. I learnt how to perfect my white rice before I went onto cooking well received pilaus and biryanis. I understood how to cook a masala till jammy, thick and smooth before my curries began to receive praises and people began to ask for recipes. It all began to make so much sense to me. I couldn’t become the family’s best cook if I didn’t know the basics.
This is the book I wish someone had given to me in my early days, to teach me those basics.
This book aims to spell out Pakistani cooking from where it starts – from the spices to the masala to the desserts, I have tried to cover everything one needs to know in order to build a good foundation for Pakistani cooking. The following is a snip from the contents page – an elaboration is below.
‘The Clueless Pakistani Cook’ contains information on the essential ingredients you need to begin cooking, the spices you need and the spices that are non-essential, cooking the masala alongside a recipe for the masala, cooking rice, cooking desserts, garnishing and presentation, 5 beginner recipes to get you going, Q&As touching on topics such as what to do if you’ve added too much salt and tips, advice and words of encouragement scattered throughout the book. The book totals 37 pages, contains colour pictures and is very easy to read.
The book aims to explain what you do in Pakistani cooking and why we do it. I believe that if we understand exactly why we’re doing the things we do, it helps us take the initiative when we’re cooking, allows us to really get behind the science of Pakistani cuisine. Also, once you understand how one thing effects the other (action/reaction) it allows us to get a bit more creative with our dishes! Here is a little screenshot from Chapter 2, in which I am explaining exactly why we fry onions at beginning of almost every recipe:
I am positive that this book will be very helpful for those who want to understand the ABCs of Pakistani cooking and want to build a solid foundation. Once you have understood how to cook a good masala and have mastered the basic recipes, you will find the recipes I have posted on my blog very easy to follow.
Insha Allah, ‘The Clueless Pakistani Cook’ will be launched on Saturday the 16th of Janurary 2016 and will be available on Amazon for £6.99 for the paperback and £4.99 for the Kindle version. I will be posting on my blog, my Instagram page and my Facebook page when the books are live.
Edit: The Clueless Pakistani Cook is available to purchase NOW. Click here to be redirected to the purchasing page.
If you have any questions about my book, please feel free to leave me a comment or email me at email@example.com. I will try to respond to you as soon as possible! Until then, remember me in your prayers!