I created Spice Mama to share my passion for the cooking traditions of my ancestors, to learn from generations of culinary wisdom and history and to tell the story of my family and my culture through my great love, food.

I come from a long line of wonderful women that cooked, women who nourished the people they loved with the most delicious food imaginable, and passed their secrets on to their daughters in the warm, fragrant kitchens that continue to exist only in my imagination. 

When I cook the food of my past, following the old recipes of my great grandmothers, grandmothers and mother, I feel like I am home again in old Bombay, the city where I was born.  I travel to an enchanted place, where the hottest food was cooked in cool kitchens, in high ceilinged houses tiled with stone, and afternoons were spent on shady verandas hung with slow fans, swinging on day beds gossiping and drinking chai.

I cook to remember the past, and with inherited knowledge of the medicinal and nutritional use of spices, the healthy cooking and eating practices traditionally passed down through generations from mother to daughter, in the family kitchen.

I cook Indian food because it is one of the oldest and healthiest cooking styles in the world.  From the moment thousands of years ago that man first realised the importance of using food as medicine, our families have used spices when we cook.

Spice Mama honours the memory of the great women cooks in my family, the cooking and eating traditions that make Indian food so special, and aims to share these important traditions with new generations of cooks.

Through my recipes and spice blends, I want to show people how different spices add delicious natural flavours to food, helping to reduce the use of sugar, salt and artificial ingredients in cooking.  I want to teach people that spices are full of anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial compounds, they are the original ‘super’ foods. 

Cooking good food at home for your family, following a traditional, non-western diet rich in anti-inflammatory ingredients, can reduce exposure to some of the chronic diseases of the western world.  And much more than that, cooking and sharing good food at home, with your family, is a way to restore meaning, and the ability to connect and show love, in our otherwise frantic lives.

I want to pass on some of the huge repository of wisdom in Indian home cooking and eating practices, a traditional way of eating that remains a guide to how we can eat sustainably today and into the future.  

I want to inspire people with the beauty of home cooked food, made from scratch, the stories that food tells you and the emotional wellbeing that comes from eating a simple meal made with love.

I hope you enjoy my stories, spices and recipes, and I hope that they inspire you, in the kitchen and beyond.

Shaheen x

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