Anisa Karolia's The Ramadan Cookbook: Food blogger turned author chefs up familial delights for Suhoor and Iftar
Anisa Korolia is a food blogger who amassed over 200,000 followers online who follow her cooking blogs on YouTube and has now been signed up with Penguin Books to release her first Ramadan cookbook.
The book includes a wide variety of recipes from Middle Eastern dishes such as Shakshuka to South Asian Karahi curries and a hearty Chicken Chow Mein to cater for different tastes.
“There are comforting classics which are the recipes I’ve grown up with and childhood favourites. I’ve also put in some of my online fan favourites and new recipes in the book” Anisa told The New Arab.
"It’s a time when we should be good and kind and even though we should do that throughout the year there is a real focus on it in Ramadan as want to give more charity and share food with neighbours"
Anisa gave up her job after her third child to pursue her love of cooking and start her own business from home and initially started a cake-baking business. She then decided she wanted to help others with finding authentic recipes. Some of her unique recipes included in the book include things sweet desserts like Rose and Pistachio Milk Cake and savouries such as Jalapeno and Chicken Samosas.
“When I was about 9 years old I can remember always being around family members who loved to cook and loved food -especially my mum and grandmother. I learnt a lot from them and what was nice was that they let me get involved and learn what they were doing”
The smell of her mother’s home-cooked food nurtured her love of cooking and inspired her to try new dishes
“Growing up my mum used to ask me and my younger brother to try making things like pasta and give things a go and I still carry on that (tradition) with my children. I feel that’s one of the ways they will learn recipes of their own”.
Anisa first started sharing photos of the food that she cooked for her family online and was then encouraged by her friends to share her recipes on YouTube.
“At first I thought that YouTube might not be for me but my husband was very supportive and told me to go for it. I’m glad that we worked together on this as a team as he helped me with the editing and supported me throughout my journey”.
Ramadan played quite a focus in her videos so much so that she decided that would share her recipes via video format at a time when not many people were sharing their Ramadan recipes online. “I was wondering why no one wanted to share their own recipes. If you share it you can make others happy and they can feed their families and learn new things”
Becoming an author was one of the aspirations she was working towards throughout the years.
“I’ve always wanted to write a book but I didn’t know how to go about it so when the opportunity came up with Penguin Books I thought I have to grab this opportunity.”
After researching what was on the market Anisa found that there wasn’t a dedicated Ramadan cookbook but believes that as it is such a special time for Muslims and it was about time that a book was created.
“Ramadan is a special month. When I was young I used to think that Ramadan was a time when we had lots of nice food at the end of a fast. After growing up and understanding what it’s (Ramadan) is all about I learnt why we are fasting and the spiritual side of it as well as the food.”
“It’s a time when we should be good and kind and even though we should do that throughout the year there is a real focus on it in Ramadan as want to give more charity and share food with neighbours”.
The Ramadan Cookbook most definitely has recipes that would be great for sharing with neighbours, loved ones and even the wider community this Ramadan and can serve as inspiration for Muslims who are stuck on what to make during the holy month or for those who want to serve up something new on the table.
Tasnim Nazeer is an award-winning journalist, author, and Universal Peace Federation Ambassador. She has written for Al Jazeera, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Middle East Eye, CNN, BBC, and others. She was awarded the FIPP global network of Media Rising Stars in 2018.
Follow her on Twitter: @tasnimnazeer1