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Andaza: A Memoir of Food, Flavour and Freedom in the Pakistani Kitchen

Andaza: A Memoir of Food, Flavour and Freedom in the Pakistani Kitchen

by Sumayya Usmani


“Andaza” translates as “estimation” in Urdu and is what Sumayya Usmani calls “the art of sensory cooking". This moving memoir packed with childhood recipes transports us to Pakistan with mouthwatering descriptions of the kitchens and the inspiring women who shaped her. From sea voyages to family traditions, discover how trusting your instincts can lead to self-discovery and deliciousness.

from the publisher

‘Sumayya Usmani is a brilliant storyteller. She transports us with her delicious descriptions of the smells and flavours of the kitchen.’ - Jay Rayner, award-winning writer and food critic

Award-winning food writer Sumayya Usmani’s stunning memoir conjures a story of what it was like growing up in Pakistan and how the women in her life inspired her to trust her instincts in the kitchen.

From a young age, food was Sumayya's portal to nurturing, love and self-expression. She spent the first eight years of her life at sea, with a father who captained merchant ships and a mother who preferred to cook for the family herself on a tiny electric stove in their cabin rather than eat in the officer's mess.

When the family moved to Karachi, Sumayya grew up torn between the social expectations of life as a young girl in Pakistan, and the inspiration she felt in the kitchen, watching her mother, and her Nani Mummy (maternal grandmother) and Dadi's (paternal grandmother) confidence, intuition and effortless ability to build complex, layered flavours in their cooking.

This evocative and moving food memoir – which includes the most meaningful recipes of Sumayya's childhood – tells the story of how Sumayya's self-belief grew throughout her young life, allowing her to trust her instincts and find her own path between the expectations of following in her father's footsteps as a lawyer and the pressures of a Pakistani woman's presumed place in the household. Gradually, through the warmth of her family life, the meaning of 'andaza' comes to her: that the flavour and meaning of a recipe is not a list of measured ingredients, but a feeling in your hands, as you let the elements of a meal come together through instinct and experience.

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Original Publisher
Murdoch Books
Date of publication

Features & Stories

Author Profile: Sumayya Usmani, author of Andaza

Author Profile: Sumayya Usmani, author of Andaza

Ramona Andrews caught up with Sumayya Usmani to discuss her new title, Andaza: A Memoir of Food, Flavour and Freedom in the Pakistani Kitchen, published today. Try her Chicken Boti Tikka, Bundoo Khan Style, and get a taste for her style of “andaza”, essentially “the art of sensory cooking”.