Traditional food is spice of life
FOR Shaheen Hughes traditional Indian food is medicine and means holding on to family history and tradition.
Hughes left her corporate communications career in 2015 to pursue her passion for cooking her grandmother’s traditional recipes from Mumbai through her business Spicemama.
“Spicemama came into being within the last five years when both my grandmothers died and we wanted to keep their memories and recipes alive,” she said.
“I found my grandmothers’ old recipe books and they are a culinary history through food; you can go back through them and learn so much about family.
“The masala I make; my dad’s mum and her mum would have made 100 years ago.”
Hughes grounds, roasts and bottles these traditional spice mixtures.
“I remember being very little and having curries made from those spices,” she said.
“I don’t use any fillers or anticaking agents or preservatives; it is all pure flavour because I want my kids to know what pure flavour is. Healthy eating is about really tasty unprocessed, nutritious food.”
Hughes said she is proud her products allow people to cook Indian food in a traditional way.
“People think Indian food is quite unhealthy when they eat out, but it is actually one of the oldest cooking styles in the world. You can trace back 5000 years people were eating turmeric with pepper and ginger; all the unrefined and fermented foods. I think there are so many benefits to traditional diets,” she said.
“Your spice box is your medicine chest in Indian cooking.”
Her best seller is Bombay Bottle Masala, a recipe from her East Indian ancestors from old Bombay, a small Catholic community whose cultural and culinary traditions were an eclectic blend of Goan, Portuguese, Indian and British influences.
Spicemama is stocked at The Herdsman (Churchlands), My Healthy Place (Karrinyup) and other specialty stores, or visit www.spicemama.com.au.
Shaheen Hughes and her mother Sultana Shamshi.