Who is Najma?
Very simply, Najma was my mother’s name. Najma means ‘Star’, ‘Precious’, exactly what my mother was to me. So after she passed away, Najma’s seemed the most appropriate name for my venture, given that the single item which launched the business, Najma’s Meatballs, was a ‘secret’ recipe passed down to me by Mum. My now retired father was also a successful caterer and I imagine it was only a matter of time till the catering ‘bug’ took over my life.
Conceived from a passion for cooking and hosting, Najma’s Catering & Events took off in the Summer of 2012 with a simple food tasting at a local event celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee. What has since followed has been a string of festivals and regular artisan markets where Najma’s Indian Cuisine stall has slowly but surely gained a loyal following. Our signature dishes, ‘Fusion Chicken Curry’ and ‘Najma’s Meatballs’ have now become the hot-selling stall favourites!
Indian cookery is immensely diverse. From North Indian biriyanis, kebabs and meatballs to South Indian dosas, sambar and various vegetable and egg curries, the variety is endless.
Not a trained cook by profession, I never really took an interest in cookery until I was introduced to my then ‘to be’ mother-in-law at the age of 19! A women who strongly believed that every young woman must know her way around the kitchen, it was most ironic that her future daughter-in-law simply didn’t have clue in that particular department! Having been brought up on Bengali cuisine, my mum-in-law’s Pakistani dishes were a real treat and I instantly took to discreetly noting down every ingredient she used in her cooking.
This inevitably led to a renewed interest in my Bengali roots which I was, in turn, keen to share with my in-laws. I was determined to master the recipes my Mum had been cooking for years. So together with my mum’s guidance and many innovative ideas from my father – Masterchef of his own Indian restaurants – my repertoire of recipes gradually expanded to comprise an immensely diverse range of traditional Indian, Pakistani and Bengali dishes.
What I have today is an intense passion for cookery and a compulsive desire to share the knowledge I have acquired over the many years. My Indian Cookery Classes were launched in Summer 2013, just a year after I started trading as Najma’s. I also teach at other external educational sites, run demo workshops, as well as present talks on traditional Indian Cookery within the local community. More details on my classes and workshops can be found here.