“Mine is an immigrant’s cuisine of sorts, blending old traditions with new ones, creating food that spans generations, geography, and ethnicity.”
—From Ashia’s Table
The Memon Muslim community of ancient northwestern India and the Sindh region of modern southeastern Pakistan traces its ancestry to 15th-century Hindu merchants who converted to Islam. (Memon comes from
, Arabic for "believer.") Trafficking in spices originated in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, as these men journeyed from their homelands to trade in Africa, the Middle East and beyond, where their
with those of other cultures. This collection of recipes by Ashia Ismail-Singer, a Memon mother and home cook, reflects that rich diversity. While featuring Indian standards such as mango chutney and paratha (fried bread), the inclusion of lamb kebabs in pita, kofta (meatballs) with eggs. or carrot halva with mascarpone (pudding similar to Italian panna cotta) brings Middle Eastern, Central Asian and European elements to the table. The single-page recipes provide an accessible introduction to an otherwise exotic cuisine.