Food plays a huge role in Ramadan for Muslims around the world, abstaining from eating between sunrise and sunset with a pre-dawn meal of Suhoor and a family-cooked meal in the evening. It possibly bridges Anisa Karolia to her childhood memories of wandering into the kitchen to ask her mum what she was cooking. This love morphed into ‘Cook with Anisa’, a YouTube channel to share her favourite authentic family recipes and inspire viewers to learn how to make delicious home-cooked food, particularly during Ramadan. Now, Anisa has released her first book, The Ramadan Cookbook, in which she shares recipes that can be enjoyed throughout Ramadan. From the early morning meals for Suhoor and hearty meals for Iftar to celebratory dishes during Eid al-Fitr, The Ramadan Cookbook holds recipes for all the accompanying salads, chutneys, bread, drinks, and desserts you’ll need. And don’t worry, Anisa understands what it’s like to juggle cooking with a busy home life so her book includes many family-friendly, batch-cooking ideas you can make in advance and freeze until required, to help you prepare for Ramadan, Eid, or your every day cooking.
If you could add one more recipe to the book, what would it be?
Oh that’s so difficult but there are so many I would have wanted to add in, but because of the way we wanted to structure the book with sections and chapters, we had to leave some out. If I could add a recipe to the book, it would be Creamy Chicken and Vegetable half-moon, these are so delicious and so popular on my social media channels, everyone loves them.
While writing the book, you created, quite literally, a melting pot of culture, identity, and food. Did this process take you on a journey of your own? What was that like?
The recipe writing journey brought back many happy childhood memories of growing up in Leicester with all my family and friends of coming home from school to food prepared by my mother and of school holidays spent at my grandmother’s. Getting ready for Ramadan, especially looking forward to fun preparations for celebrating Eid was always the best time, together with our loved ones around the table.
If you had to define one recipe as ‘home’ which would it be?
The dish I would never say no to would be Khuri Khitchri, it’s a comforting classic meal, accompanied by Bombay Potatoes, Spinach, Peas, and Potato curry, which are all in my book, with a side of masala fish and poppadoms. It’s very traditional and instantly takes you back to our culture and food, properly hearty and comforting.
What’s next for Anisa Karolia?
I never imagined coming this far. I started this journey by sharing my home-cooked food on a humble Instagram blog and never would have imagined where it was going to take me. I just take each day as it comes, all the opportunities I’ve had supporting charities, working with supermarkets, and brand deals, I’ve been so grateful for. I would love to write up another recipe book, I’ve still got so many more recipes to share or maybe even a cookery show on TV.
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Make sure to grab a copy of The Ramadan Cookbook here!