Sumayya Usmani

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Latest articles from Sumayya Usmani

Sumayya Usmani: Spiced rhubarb topped with lemon, cardamom cream and toasted almonds

AS spring approaches, I suddenly have the desire to eat desserts. One of my favourtes is a dessert is inspired by a Pakistani/Hyderabadi one called khubani ka meetha, which is traditionally made with dried Hunza apricots, topped with fresh buffalo cream and apricot kernels. The simplicity of this dessert has always been what makes it so moreish. I am always trying to find way to replicate its simplicity using other fruits, especially ones I never grew up with such as rhubarb. This version of min

Sumayya Usmani recipe: Homemade rosemary and bramble jammy dodgers

I grew up cooking with the women in my family, and so I learnt to cook by osmosis. Decades later when I wrote my cookbooks, and started teaching cookery, my mother always joked how she didn’t even think I could cook, since she never taught me. As a result of this childhood, I don’t think there has ever been a time I didn’t know what to do with an ingredients or fresh produce – it just came naturally to me, to pick it up, and make it into something edible.

Recipe with Sumayya Usmani: Khichri

As of late the work related travel, constant moving about leaves me in a place where I crave something comforting to eat. As a writer I sometimes do have periods of writers block, and nothing helps more that something heart warming to eat. For me it is not a big hearty stew, or a hot spice curry, but rather something that is restorative and nurturing – that takes me home to a place when life was simple, effortless and padded with the cotton wool of home cooking. This is when I know its time fo

Sumayya’s vegetarian kofta curry

Recently I have been delving deep into my family reportoie of vegetatiran recipes as, hailing from a family where meat dishes were always the hero, it was tough to find many vegetarian winners. However, there was place for one unassuming vegetarian dish on our dining table – the loki (bottle gourd) kofta.

Sumayya Usmani: The art of an autumnal biryani

Biryani is both the ultimate comfort food as well as the most celebratory dish. As I cook it now, I am reminded of warm, fragrant, beautiful Pakistani houses with marble verandas and airy rooms with the singular ceiling fan which brought a cool breeze to a stifling humid afternoon – all so far removed from the cold autumn days of Scotland, huddled before the log fire. But the satisfaction is not any different.

Recipe: Sumayya’s beetroot and dried mint borani

I abhorred beetroot as a child. There was something rather sinister about a vegetable that was so unrealistically vibrant. You would think that a colour that vivacious would entice a young person, but I think it was its health attributes and partial force feeding of it that outweighed such relevance to a 10-year-old. My memories of beetroot were of usually three things. Beetroot juice my dad would drink, chukandar gosht (a slow-cooked beetroot and beef stew that was a little too earthy for a child) and raw beetroot salad. None of these ever appealed.

Sumayya Usmani's recipe: late-summer comfort food from Karachi via Afghanistan

THE weather has turned, and as most of us yearn to soak in the warmth of the sun, we need to brave the cooler breeze. This was a time of year I loved in Southern Pakistan. Autumnal winds bought with them the aromas of smoky, spiced comfort food. This recipe – which originates in Afghani kitchens – reminds me most of my hometown, Karachi, a city that celebrates its multi-ethnicity through its cuisine. Wholesome and fragrant, this unusual chicken dish steams away in your kitchen, enveloping your home with the delectable aroma of whole garam masala and the soothing and nurturing earthy smell of rice, while the sweet yet sour crunchy carrots and tangy black currants will add a unique flavour to this dish. This recipe is one of my mum's, and for me it conjures up relaxing summery lunches on the patio under the big parasol, sipping iced nimbu pani (fresh Pakistani lemonade).