Southsea family’s lost Indian and Pakistani cookery book finds new life 30 years later as mother and daughter pen The Road From Karachi

A SOUTHSEA woman has re-created her mother’s cookbook as an original copy was found decades after it was thought lost.

By Emily Jessica Turner
Friday, 18th June 2021, 12:30 pm

Nadia Arab has co-authored The Road From Karachi: Indian and Pakistani Cookery Made Easy with her mother Khalida.

Couple Khalida and Riaz Arab came to the UK in 1972 from India and Pakistan, and after settling in Portsmouth which they had visited on their honeymoon, they decided to establish an Indian cookery school in Buckland in 1984.

The pair were overwhelmed with the response from the public after featuring in The News, and on the first day of the school, there were queues of people wanting to learn about Khalida’s cooking.

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Khalida and Riaz Arab decided to run an Indian cookery school in Portsmouth. They made a cookery book in 1987 that was lost over the years but now has been brought back to life by her daughter, Nadia Arab. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Following this success, in 1987 they decided to create a Indian Cookery Made Easy, a recipe book sold to students and in WH Smiths.

The course continued for a few years but closed when Khalida and Riaz moved from the area.

Khalida lost her copy of the book, and spent many years searching for a replacement.

It was not until 30 years later that her daughter, Nadia, found a copy through a work colleague.

The book, The Road From Karachi. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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The mum and daughter began to work on a new version of the book in 2017.

Nadia works full-time at Havant and South Downs College, and part-time as a fitness trainer at Roko gym, so it was a challenge to fit in work on the book.

She said: ‘Trying to fit in a book and cook every single dish was a true mission. My mum is elderly and I wanted her to cook the dishes and be authentic.

Khalida Arab with her new book in Southsea. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘It really has been a journey – I’ve learned my mum’s authentic cooking techniques. Even little Indian words that I didn’t know.’

The book took four years to create, including the design, recipes, and embedded QR codes.

Nadia worked with graphic designer Paul Parsons to create the book.

She said: ‘Paul took the photographs and helped design the book. He’s amazing, very patient and understanding - this project has been a massive challenge.’

Khalida Arab and her daughter Nadia Arab at their home in Southsea. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Paul said: ‘All the food used in the cookbook is the real food with no Photoshop trickery. Just the raw ingredients photographed on my kitchen table!

‘All of the artwork layouts and typography is more conventional to the types of projects that I would expect to be involved in.

‘It’s been a joy to work on this project and bring this book back to life after more than 30 years. The book is packed full of Indian and Pakistani meals.

‘This is a lovely book designed to help you create the most amazing dishes and flavours in the comfort of your own home!

‘You will understand how to use the most fragrant spices fusing them with some beautiful ingredients to make many tasty dishes like Karahi curry, keema samosa, chicken jalfrezi, and much more including breads, chutneys drinks, puddings, and much more.’

Nadia says that she had help from a number of people, including Claire Perry, who did proofreading, and South Downs College students Kieran Quick, who did the QR codes for the book, and Josh Wells, who helped with social media.

Nadia said: ‘I decided to get students at the college some work experience. I wanted to get other people involved to make it homely.

‘The students have loved doing the work experience.’

Nadia priced the book at £19.87 to reflect the year her parents published their first book.

Some proceeds will go to water pumps in India, Africa, and Pakistan.

The book is available to pre order from the website, and will also be available from Waterstones, Blackwells, Brown Books, and Amazon.

Nadia said: ‘It’s just absolutely amazing, it’s so surreal that it’s actually finally happened. It’s taken ages to create.

‘It’s such a stunning book - my mum looked at it and cried.’

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