Nuzrath Shazeen Nazimudeen likes to call herself just another regular mother who is inspired to inspire. Even with five kids, she managed to find the time to pursue her passion: cooking.
In conversation with Nuzrath, she told us that after a long day of never-ending errands and school runs, she finds cooking to be therapeutic, adding that the kitchen is her happy place. If you take a look at her blog or Instagram page @my_lankan_food_journal, your eyes are sure to feast at the aesthetic-looking food she cooks up. She commented that although most of her meals may look super fancy, they are made with simple ingredients in a short span of time.
Nuzrath can make a wide variety of dishes, but she specialises in seafood. As the owner of a seafood company, she guarantees that her ingredients are fresh and of the highest quality. She started off just selling seafood, but eventually, during lockdown, she was motivated to begin selling her dishes as well. Talking to us about her journey, she said: “I’m a person who has always loved to entertain people, so many people encouraged me to start up my own food business.” Looking at the hundreds of food pages online, she wondered how she could ever compare. Eventually, after experimenting with recipes and trying new things, she gathered up the courage to start selling her food. “I’m very grateful to my friends, family, and husband for motivating me to pursue this career choice.”
We asked her why she chose to focus on Sri Lankan cuisine exclusively, to which she proudly stated: “I’m Sri Lankan. I’m open to trying all kinds of food from around the world, but I enjoy Sri Lankan food more than anything else. At the end of the day, I’m the happiest with a simple pol sambol.” She also added that the only cuisine she is averse to is Japanese food, as she is a bit wary of raw meat.
Describing her art of cooking, Nuzrath stressed that throwing in a lot of ingredients doesn’t make food extra special. “There are a few techniques that require only a few ingredients that will give you a perfect dish.”
After trying some of her signature dishes like the Sri Lankan-style chillie crab curry and the garlic prawns, we can assure you that she has indeed mastered the art of cooking. Giving us some insight on how these dishes came to be, she said: “I tried making the garlic prawns a few times at home. My husband suggested that we start selling them, so after sending out samples for our friends to try, we put it on the menu.” She added that since the prawns are a dry dish, many people requested for a curry, so she added a few more ingredients using the same base and made it a gravy. Having tried these garlic prawns, we can say that they were incredibly fresh and flavourful; the prawns were not only jumbo-sized, but there were clear bite-sized pieces of garlic that didn’t overpower the flavour of the prawns, but simply complimented them.
The chillie crab is one of her most popular dishes and we had the pleasure of trying it. It is not an exaggeration to say that our taste buds were rejoicing; the flavour notes of the spices she had used were very evident, and the spicy kick made the dish complete. We had the curries with roast paan and pol sambol she sent, and it was truly a gastronomical experience. Another factor was her presentation; the crab curry was delivered in a large clay pot with a banana leaf to ensure that it retains all its flavours, and the top was sprinkled with moringa leaves, which is definitely what gives a crab curry its unique flavour. When asked what her secret to such rich, authentic food is, Nuzrath promised us that the secret ingredient is just lots of love and patience.
Just to complete the meal, she had also sent us a biscoff pudding for dessert. The pudding has the texture of cheesecake, except slightly runny. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to refrigerate it, which we think would have enhanced its flavour, but having it as it was served, was still a treat! We particularly enjoyed the contrast between the soft, mushy pudding and the crunchy biscuit base.
Seafood is an absolute favourite of mine, so I may be biased when I say this, but do give her dishes a try; we can promise you won’t regret it!