My Masala Daba

Hello! or more appropriately Salams!

I am Zahra, from Canada. I am of Indian descent, born and brought up in Nairobi, Kenya. My parents and grandparents were also born in the region. I speak  Gujrati and Kutchi, both of which are Indian dialects. Some interesting Kiswahili – which is a widely spoken African language and obviously English too.

I am of the Muslim faith (hence the upcoming heavily meat based recipes), specifically, I am Khoja Shia Ithna-asheri. So if you know what I’m talking about, Hola! If not, doesn’t matter!

I moved to North America in my teens and have been moving about here for the last couple years. As fate would have it, I have finally settled in a very beautiful city with my amazing husband (and food tester) and my picky toddler.

So since I moved from E. Africa, I regret not writing down the recipes for the foods I ate growing up. Sometimes, I don’t even remember the names of the dishes, but I remember their look or how they tasted. Now that I cook on a daily basis I ambitiously buy ingredients at the stores and google fails me when I ask it, “Muthia recipe.” Like seriously, I want the “Coconut-Muthia!”  Like my mummy made it! To make matters interesting, when I do get a hold of aunty/sister/granny/mummy dearest, their ingredients keep changing (yes they do!) and then of course their recipes come as ” just a little salt, and some more or less of lemon, etc.” so you get the point, no specific measurements. They are all great cooks, no doubt, but that doesn’t help me when I’m thousands of miles away from them. So when I do come across a recipe, with measurements I am ecstatic.

So basically this blog is a tried and tested recipe book, if you are like me, a newbie cook and are looking for some traditional daily fare, you are in the right place. Sure, there are a gazillion recipes for biryanis and kormas, but seriously I don’t have the time or appetite to eat those on a daily basis.

If you are a seasoned cook, you are in the right place too, since I’d love your contribution to the recipe collection.

In terms of recipes, I am targeting those that are from East Africa and I guess have an Indian flair to them. Traditional Indian cooking is different from what I’m used-to (hing? asafoetida? never used those!). So in the end, I am hoping this blog becomes a collection for our traditional recipes to be accessible for all and when the newbie cook does indeed ‘Google’ any dish name-in our not so original Gujrati- you will have a recipe.

Not to say that the east-african-indian recipes are those that I will only share. I will also bore you with my attempts to conquer other yummy foods.

If you would like to contribute a recipe, please do so in by arranging the recipe in the following format:

  • Name of the dish
  • Any other names it goes by (e.g. Kuku paka, a.k.a kuku wa kupaka, chicken naryal waru etc.)
  • The source of your recipe (if you don’t want to be identified, that is ok, but don’t plagiarize!)
  • Number of servings the dish makes
  • Ingredients and quantities
  • Any special gadgets needed (e.g. vitumbua pan)
  • Instructions
  • Images of the dish in progress and final product (optional, but it’s really helpful if you provide the pics)

Send the recipe to contact information found in the aptly named ‘Contact’ page.

Tags: Khoja Shia-Ithnasheri Recipes


8 Comments Add yours

  1. almas says:

    Do you still need muthia recipe please advice
    me so I can e- mail to you.

  2. salim says:

    Thank you for your effort in creating this web site,,i tried couple of recopies ,,it brought back happy memories of my stay in east Africs.
    God bless.

    1. khojicook says:

      You are welcome. Trying to keep the cuisine alive

  3. Abidali Fazal says:

    Exellent website and efforts. A great resource. Thank you!

  4. Shehnaaz says:

    Masha-Allah. I for one cannot thank you enough for you have given me life back. Al-hamdu-Lillah. Being Shia-Ithnashari, from Tanzania, speaking English. Due to my brain injury, have forgotten Kachi, Swahili, Gujrati and most of my childhood but my wonderful husband remembers words which is how I found your website. So thank you so very much. May Allah give you tawfeek to continue and bless all your dreams. Ameen

    1. khojicook says:

      Thank you for your kind words and wishes. Sorry to hear about your injury. I hope you can continue to reminisce through recipes.

  5. Naznin Mawani Adams says:

    Salaams Zahra:
    I just happened to come upon your website for Muthiya recipe, and found out about you.
    I myself am from Kampala, Uganda, a khoja Shia and living in US. I love that you have some interesting recipes posted, reminds me of my Mom’s cooking.

    1. khojicook says:

      Glad you stopped by!

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