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My day on a plate: Naqiyah Mayat

We get to know Naqiyah Mayat, author of The Beginning: Indian Recipes From My Home

by: Ilse Kleinsmidt | 10 Mar 2020
Naqiyah Mayat

World traveller, mum of four, creative entrepreneur and cookbook author, Naqiyah Mayat gave us a glimpse into her day, from one meal to the next. 


''Our bodies take cue from the weather. However, there is one thing that remains consistent through the changing weather – the drink we like to have daily which is treated with such reverence in my home. Masala tea is a narrative of bonds getting stronger, and as Indians, we are bound by this common elixir. I like to begin my day by putting on a pot of masala tea while I’m preparing breakfast and lunch for my children. This sets the rhythm for my day. It is customary (in my kitchen) to serve masala tea in mugs, sweetened with condensed milk.''

Naqiyah Mayat


''I need an easy food-fix for a midmorning mood especially because my mornings are hurried and high-strung. I often reach for something that can be eaten in a bowl while I work. I slice a chunk of mielie bread and spread butter over each slice before toasting it in a non-stick pan. There is a wonderful contrast between the slightly salted, crusty outer layer and the fiery heat from the chilli inside. Simply wrap up the balance of the mielie bread and store it in the fridge until you’re ready for tomorrow’s midmorning snack.''

Naqiyah Mayat


''Lunch time is when my children arrive home from school. We sit down to a light meal together, which is often interrupted by one of them having to rush off for religious studies (madressa). I try to keep lunch light, easy to eat and on-the go. I’ve learnt by trial and error on how to maximise time. For me, planning helps me execute my week. I always have one freezer-suitable item that can be baked or fried, and this helps me to be present and structure a busy work week. Prawn Moons require some effort to prepare but can be fried from frozen.''

Naqiyah Mayat


''Many of the recipes that I cook from have associative memories attached to them. These memories formed the inspiration for my culinary journey. With this, comes the warmth and comfort of sitting down to a meal at the end of the day with your family and lifting the lid off of a pot of just-cooked mutton biryani. In that moment, you draw your nose closer to the pot, and inhale the fragrance that has been trapped during cooking. I am practical about the time taken to prepare a pot of biryani and marinate the meat a day before to save time and to allow the flavours to develop. I serve biryani alongside Dhai (a cooling yogurt salad) and Carrot Atchar. The leftovers are usually kept for lunch for the next day.''

Naqiyah Mayat


''Vegetables, arguably, have no place in a dessert menu – but maybe this is an opportunity to eat more dessert! For us, settling down into the evening with a cup of Masala Tea and popping a spiced, calypso-orange pumpkin goolgoola (fritter) into your mouth is sacrosanct. Package up the balance and share them with friends and neighbours.''

Naqiyah Mayat

Follow Naqiyah Mayat's journey via her websiteFacebookInstagram and YouTube.


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