Rylands author and cook Nujmoonnisa Parker has published her third Kokni Delights cookbook, bringing flavours from the west coast of India into South African homes.
Ms Parker, who is also the author of Kokni Delights one and two, released her book on Tuesday May 18. The book is filled with traditional Indian recipes, from starters to main meals, to desserts, biscuits, and Indian delicacies.
Kokni food derives from Konkan, a narrow strip of land on the coast of the Indian state of Maharashtra, and, according to Ms Parker, it is characterised by its many vegetarian dishes, including legumes, with basic spices and accompanied by rice.
Ms Parker traces her passion for cooking back to her childhood when she helped her mother in the kitchen. She feels it is important to record recipes from previous generations, as many fine cooks die without writing down the secrets of their most successful dishes.
While the recipes in her book are not necessarily her own, she has added her own twist to them. She says the vegetarian dishes in her books are her favourite, especially the vegetable curry.
“My family loves my breyani, and the women in the family are also passionate about cooking – something that transfers from generation to generation. I’ve come across many cookbooks but never a traditional Kokni cookbook so that motivated me to write these books.”
Ms Parker encourages those who buy her book to not just give up if the dish flops the first time, as she herself doesn’t always get it right the first time.
“You continue learning, you tweak the recipes, you learn new methods and new ingredients. My first book attracted many young girls, especially the brinjal curry. A lot of the dishes are vegetarian as many of the elderly couldn’t afford to have chicken and meat dishes every day. The recipes are simple and easy to follow. Kokni cooking is very simple: spices are basic like cumin, fennel, coriander chilli and tumeric powder, garlic and ginger, which you use to make any curry.”
She says that after her first two cookbooks proved very popular, readers requested starters, desserts, and puddings, which she has included in her latest book.
“Cooking will only be successful if you put love and passion into it,” she says. “Set your goals, put your love into your cooking and it will come out even better than expected. Enjoy the book and the cooking.”
The book is available at Spice City Athlone Industria, Datar, Sawants Creations Athlone, and other stores. To buy the book or for any questions, call Nujmoonnisa Parker at 084 240 9635.