Life | All Things Spice!

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All Things Spice!
Text by Nisha Paul
Published: Volume 18, Issue 11, November, 2010

Anjum Anand, culinary expert and the author of the recently published cookbook, I Love Curries, chats with Nisha Paul over cups of steaming cappuccinos, in London

My parents taught me to be independent and self employed and yet emulate the simple values of life. They gave me the balance of working hard, living well and becoming a woman of substance, which can happen only through experiences and personal achievement. I broke free from my dad’s business and started on my own.

My work experience happened at a fast food place, a restaurant, a five-star hotel and a catering company in Hollywood. I loved the whole experience.

My writing began when I was travelling between Delhi and London with my dad. I decided to write down my recipes and carry them with me so that I could cook my favourite dishes without forgetting any ingredients. It was a light-bulb moment for me and I started compiling all my recipes.

My television programmes just happened. BBC2 knocked on my door after doing their research. They wanted a face for their Indian cookery show and were keen to do it with me. UKTV came to me after my first book was launched, when I was pregnant with my daughter, Mahi. During that phase, I was very relaxed and unconcerned about how I looked and thoroughly enjoyed myself doing the programme.

My marriage was a clichéd Indian style wedding in Udaipur. My husband Adarsh is my friend’s cousin. But we were both commitment phobic. He gave me the engagement ring 18 months after he had bought it.

My daughter Mahi is sensitive, opinionated and very grown up. She’s a five-year-old going on 15!

My new book I Love Curry came after much thought and realisation about what people want to eat and how much they love Indian curry in the UK. The recipes are quick, easy and for those with demanding lifestyles who look for authentic, good home-cooked Indian food.

My cooking secret is to cook with love and patience and try not to do anything in a hurry.

My favourite childhood recipe was making lamb kofta (meatballs) curry with my mother when I was seven. I loved putting the koftas in oil, frying them cautiously and watching the whole dish being put together.

My favourite restaurant in London is Locanda Locatelli as I love Italian cuisine.

My favourite holiday destinations are Australia and Mexico. I also love going to my parents’ home in Dubai to chill out. I’d love to visit Rio de Janeiro and Argentina as Latin culture and cuisine fascinate me.

I am looking forward to enlarging my family and will be busy with that for a while. I have spoken to my publisher for another new book and am hoping to launch my ready-to-cook authentic Indian sauces early next year under the brand, The Spice Tailor. It’ll be manufactured in Pune and made available in major supermarkets across the UK.

My wish is to meet Madhur Jaffrey, as we are both women in the same field and it would be interesting to chat with her. I would also like to train (if I ever get the time!) under Indian master chefs and learn about Kashmiri Wazwan cuisine.

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