Tra­di­tional food is spice of life

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Food - With Kate Leaver

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.spice­

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d470663

Sha­heen Hughes and her mother Sultana Shamshi.

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