Q. Why did you decide to choose such a format for a book about food — where the storyline and recipes complement each other seamlessly?
A. I wanted readers to taste our culture as much as our food, besides wanting to have fun writing it. I am an architect and interior designer, and a very visual person. I see things in my mind pictorially; images in different medium, creating mental images all the time. Also, I wanted to trace the journey of Razia (the protagonist in the book) who somehow is a part of everyone. Or should be. She uses food inadvertently as a means of magic to cast spells on the people in her life. You simply must have magic! Life is much too dull without it.

Chicken Shashlik
Chicken Shashlik

Q. What were some of the immediate challenges that you encountered during this journey of chronicling your community’s food?
A. Challenges would be not to mention the names of some of the uncles and aunts who make their way as characters in the book. I wrote it with their names and then changed them a day before the manuscript was sent off. I decided I was too old to be scolded. Or worse still, left out of fabulous family dinners.

Q. Some recipes have curious names: Rangoon Curry (a delicate broth), Chor Puecy (pee-u-cee; a baked coconut dessert) — how did these originate?
A. Rangoon Curry is recipe from my in-laws. They lived in Rangoon during World War II. They call it Rangoon Curry, probably because it reminds them of home. Chor Puecy is what my grandmother and all her octogenarian friends call it because their mothers did. Quirky. I am pretty sure it has no profound meaning.

Husna Rahaman
Husna Rahaman

Q. Could you tell our readers about the Memon Survival Kit, and do the elements vary from families in one region to another?
A. If you are going to a foreign land and the elegant food makes you weep after the seventh day, carry small boxes of garlic and ginger paste, fried onions in a zip-lock bag and a handful of green chillies. Buy a protein of your choice. Make it lamb. Throw the onions in warm oil; add the pungent and the scintillating chillies. A touch of cumin and tomatoes and you’re home while being a million miles away. That’s survival at its best.

Q. Kutchi Memons come across as a meat-loving community. Which is your personal favourite: Fish, mutton, lamb, or chicken? Why?
A. My personal favourite is lamb. Why? It tastes like nirvana on a plate.