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Q and A with cookbook author Irene Dasari: Empowering others through cooking

This article first appeared in City Press.

by: Grethe Kemp | 05 Aug 2018

Irene Dasari has become a reader favourite with her easy-to-make, satisfying and crowd-pleasing recipes in City Press #Trending. She’s just released her self-published cookbook, Home Cooking with Confidence: Rustic Elegance, and we decided to delve into what makes this home cook tick.

What made you fall in love with cooking?

My journey with cooking began at a very young age because my mom, Esther Dasari, was a master chef in my eyes. Mom included my siblings and I in her food and baking preparations, and always lovingly encouraged us to try, and not be afraid of failing. That’s when my experimenting with bold flavours began and my passion for the art of cooking and the science of baking was ignited.

What are some of your most popular dishes?

I have several popular dishes, especially in my home, where each family member has a favourite.
My son, Cameron, loves spicy samp with beans and lamb. My other son, Caiden, loves crab curry and insists on having it on his birthday every year; my husband, Logan, will pick lamb curry with mealie rice any day.

What inspired you to put together a cookbook?

My journey to writing this book began with me posting my tried-and-tested family favourite recipes on several food groups on Facebook and Instagram. My recipes were also posted regularly in different newspapers. As I continued to post, requests from my friends and followers that I write a book became more frequent. That was just the fuel I needed to reignite my fire for writing a book, which is another passion I had from a young age.

What makes this book unique?

This is a book unlike any other because it’s aimed at empowering each person to feel like a master chef in their own home, be they working parents, newly married couples, singles or kids. The variety of the recipes such as sweet, spicy, meaty, eggless, vegetarian, healthy and others makes the book suitable for everyone. It is also packed with everyday helpful hints and tips.

You can purchase Home Cooking with Confidence: Rustic Elegance for R150 directly from Irene and get it delivered to your door. WhatsApp all book enquiries to 084 654 6181

Follow her on Instagram @irenedasar


Wash and dry 16 chicken pieces of your choice. I used thighs with the skin removed.


2 tbsp Aromat

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp steak ’n chops spice

1 tbsp chicken spice

1 tbsp rustic garlic and herb spice

2 tbsp chilli powder

Rub the spices on to the meat and then add one cup of buttermilk or two beaten eggs and mix well so that the chicken is coated properly. Refrigerate for an hour if using buttermilk.


1 and 1/2 cup self-raising flour

3 tbsp Maizena

1/2 tsp salt

Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour in oven trays. When ready, fry the chicken on each side for about two minutes each on high heat in shallow oil until lightly brown then bake in a preheated oven at 180°C until cooked through and crispy (this takes approximately 40 minutes).

Tip: Crumbed chops can be prepared using the same recipe.

Read more on: chicken recipes  |  food  |  recipe  |  cookbooks

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