When I recently met Naqiyah Mayat, it was for a podcast interview to chat about her first cookbook, “The Beginning: Indian Recipes from my Home”.
Imagine my surprise when her friendly hug was accompanied by a special homemade treat of freshly-fried puris with ginger halwa.
I scoffed them down later in the day (yes, I shared with others in the office). Delicious, would be an understatement. It felt like gymnastics in my mouth as my taste buds went into overdrive.
Mayat has a very Nigella Lawson-esque vibe. She makes the idea of being in a kitchen, cooking up a storm, all the more enticing.
Naqiyah Mayat's first cookbook, “The Beginning: Indian Recipes from my Home”, releases this week.
As a Hindu married into a Muslim home, she got to learn two different ways of preparing Indian cuisine.
She explained: “The Beginning… tells the story of the food I grew up with and the food I would like to bring into your home. It’s a combination of twelve years of me learning how to cook, sharing my food on an online community platform via social media. It is where I gained not only the trust but the support of a community of women, who inspired me to put this book together.”
Mayat added: “The food that I grew up with was vastly different from the food I have now learned to cook after being married. The food that my husband grew up with was very different from what I learned to cook once we got married. And I’ve taken a combination of everything I’ve learned from my mum and things I’ve learned by myself and created the style of food I can call the Naqiyah way.”
And the mother of four (her little ones are under 11 years old) is confident about getting people cooking with this book as she takes them through the essentials needed.
“You have got to start with the basics,” she pointed out. “And then slowly build yourself up to feel confident enough to cook a biryani or try to attempt making a dhal puri. So this book is not just for the starter wife or starter cook. If you need some inspiration in the kitchen. If you’ve been cooking for ages and just want to take a new spin on things, there’s a recipe for every level of proficiency.”
Before delving more into the book, Mayat explained: “The starting point is not the recipes but the spices. In chapter one of the book, we detail spices that are required for Indian cooking and once you have all the ingredients on hand, it is easy to master the recipes that follow.”
Mayat has a Marie Kondo-approach to getting organised, too.
“The Beginning: Indian Recipes from my Home” is an invitation to join Mayat “at her table”, where love, experimentation, sophistication and confidence are the key ingredients to a great meal.
The launch of “The Beginning: Indian Recipes from my Home” is at Crystal Court at Mall of Africa at 7pm on Thursday, March 12. Mayat also has several book activations leading into the weekend.
Listen to the podcast here:
“Beyond the Spotlight” is an Independent Media Lifestyle podcast, where we enjoy a no-holds-barred chat with industry heavyweights, newcomers and trailblazers in the entertainment and lifestyle space.
The podcast was produced and edited by Masabata Mkwananzi.