I am back with another fabulous homecook who is juggling many roles while serving delicious homecooked meals to her family. I have known Huma for more than a year now and must say her way of styling the food and photography skills doesn’t get unnoticed in every post she writes on Gheza-e-Shiriin, a name that is a mix of Urdu and Persian for Food and Sweet. Her recipes echoes from different states she has lived, weaving memories from Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra which are a melting pot of different cultures and cuisines. 

Join me as I know Huma and her journey more – 

celebrating-homecooks-huma-kalim

Please tell us who you are and where do you come from?
Huma Kalim.  I am an Indian coming from a beautiful city of Vadodara, Gujarat and blog at Gheza-e-Shiriin. A part time blogger and a full time assistant to my hubby in his business. When I am stressed with the overall business part, my blog comes to my rescue. Where I ramble my experiences  and tales associated with my recipes. I love to cook and share my cooking with everyone. Coming from a family of educators,teaching is in my blood. So this is my way of teaching and sharing whatever I have learnt. 

How did you develop your interest in cooking? 
You can say I was more inclined toward cooking. During winters my Nani used to stay with us as she could not tolerate harsh winters of Rajasthan. And she has been the reason behind my interest to cooking. Her dishes were full of flavor. And she taught me the basics of cooking.

Please tell us about your family background and culinary habits that has inspired your style of cooking.
Although I belong to Gujarat ( my father’s side) my cooking has more of influence of Rajasthan as my ammi was from there.  After I got married in Maharashtra, I had to adapt to their cooking style. My mother in law  and my hubby was my teacher here. Now  my cooking style is a mish  mash of all three. But whatever  regions dish I am making,  I like to keep originality of the dish completely  intact. We are completely gaurani ( desi ) people so our food is all about strong flavors and masalas.

I have grown up with tales from my mother describing how the plethora of dishes were present on dastarkhwan from starters to mains to sweets and fruits at my nani’s house. This fruit had to be eaten on a proper time so to get maximum benefit. My Ammi had carried on the tradition and it’s now in all of me and my sisters.  It was the similar case at my in laws. My mother in law and father in law come from a well known families of vidharbha region. So daily cooking and tradition to serve guest with multiple  variety of dishes was common. It was pretty easy for me to adapt to their culture and cuisine. 
Starting our food with bismillah (Starting with the name of allah )  and ending with shukr alhamdolilha ( thanking God for bestowing on us all wonderful delicacies) is a common practice.
I would like to share one such tale. While remembering olden days my father in law used to describe how my mother in laws nana would not start his lunch or dinner if there were no guests on dastarkhwan .He  used to be sad saying today my Allah is not happy with me as he has not sent any guest at my dastarkhwan. This guest can be rich poor anyone. All were welcome. 
Sometimes I wish I had a time machine to rewind and go back to that era to experience that all.
 
What are your top five must have ingredients in the pantry. And why?
Box of masalas, saffron, condensed milk, eggs and garlic.
 
Rapid five :unnamed
a. Have you ever had to work with a strangest ingredient in your kitchen? If yes, what was it?

– Dragon fruit. The flavor of this fruit was too bland for us. I tried it in smoothies, cakes and what not but still this is one fruit I am not able to adapt.
b. Your favorite chef and why?
– My Nani, Ammi and mother in law. I always turn to them if I am stuck in the mess. They have best solutions.
c. Your go-to week-night meal?
– Mostly it is very light. Vegetable and lentil   Chilla, soups , salad, sandwiches  and fruits.
d. Your soul-food?
– Chicken Tahri.

e. Your favorite kitchen appliance?
– Food processor  and pestle and mortar. When  I am in modern mode i use food processor for everything. But when I am in real mood to cook pestle and mortar are my best friends. Every thing  is fresh and fragrant.
What, in your opinion, is the most versatile food/ingredient to work with?
Saffron I would say. I have always been amazed how these tiny threads  enhances the flavor both in sweet and savory.
 
Have you ever made a mistake in the kitchen?

Many times. But I try to  overcome the disaster with solutions.
 
You have to be really proud of yourself. What is your secret to be an amazing home cook?
I am a very sensitive person and my feelings go very deep. That reflects in my cooking.
 
In an era of fast food and take aways, what advice would you like to give people regarding the importance of home-cooked meals?
Takeaways and fast food cannot beat love put in preparation of home cooked meals.  This fast paced life forces many to choose takeaways. But with little effort and planning one can always prepare home meals. 
 
If there is one dish that people should definitely try from your blog or site, what would that be? 

Saffron pistachios. We are hooked to it now. One more please – Chicken Tahri. You need to try it out. 
 
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