Markings publishing are proud to present their sixth title, bringing together the rich flavours of the subcontinent with ‘Zaiqay Frontier Ke – Dera Ismail Khan Kae Bhulay Bisray Pakwan’, translated as ‘Flavours of the Frontier – Forgotten Recipes from Dera Ismail Khan’. Written by the late Pushpa Kumari Bagai, the book is a collection of Bagai’s coveted recipes with an introduction by her daughter Dr. Anjali Malik, a Professor of History at the Delhi University.
Indeed Bagai was the custodian and exponent of a very special culinary tradition; the vegetarian cuisine of the Hindu Pathans of Dera Ismail Khan – a tradition which survived the horrors and rigours of the Indo-Pak Partition, when families such as Bagai’s were uprooted overnight from DI Khan to Delhi, forced to leave behind a life of privilege and pleasure. It was through Bagai’s preservation of the dietary customs of DI Khan’s Hindu Pathans in Delhi, that many families within her community were provided with a nostalgic comfort through cuisine that helped preserve their sense of identity.
‘Zaiqay Frontier Ke – Dera Ismail Khan Ke Bhulay Bisray Pakwan’ is in essence a cross-border and cross-cultural initiative, being jointly printed in Lahore and Lucknow, with its Hindi-Urdu translation undertaken by Abbas Sial, a Derawal currently residing in Sydney, Australia. It is being released in both India and Pakistan simultaneously this February 2014. Further, in India, the book is being introduced by iconic media personality Vinod Dua whose family also hails from Dera Ismail Khan.
‘Flavours of the Frontier: forgotten recipes from Dera Ismail Khan’ includes a diversity of 80 recipes, ranging from culinary delights such as ‘doli wali roti’, ‘daal ke samosay’, ‘chane ki daal ka halwa’ and ‘boondi ki subzi’ where each recipe is original and reflects the history and culture of the Hindu Pathan community of DI Khan. Within the book, the introduction encompasses a brief history, providing the cultural and social context to the recipes along with imagery of key ingredients throughout the book, a description of the cooking process and images of the final presentation of each prepared dish.
Speaking about cookbook, CEO Markings Publishing, Kiran Aman said; “Our history and culture stands distinguished in all forms, perhaps more specifically in language and cuisine. The concept behind the collaboration for this book was to explore and present unique recipes, reviving them for the Pak-India palate and sensibility. It is about the preservation of flavours, tastes and traditions that have been passed down from one generation to the next.”
“My mother-in-law was a fantastic cook. Her cooking became the bond that kept the family connected with their roots in distant Dera Ismail Khan, in North West Pakistan, near the Afghan border. My mother in law learnt how to cook from her own mother in law, who shared with her the unique and special recipes and dietary customs from the region and for the ensuing half century and more, till her passing away in March 2012, she was a worthy bearer of the tradition of that distinctive cuisine of the Hindu community of DI Khan.
A couple of years ago we persuaded her to record these distinctive recipes so that they could be accessible to all those who loved her cooking in India and in Pakistan, and she embarked enthusiastically on this project. She had cooked intuitively and was not used to specific measures for the various ingredients that went into the different dishes hence in order to accurately document the recipes she actually tried out each of them before pinning them down.
Sadly, she did not live to see her recipes published as a cookery book. She had so wanted them to be disseminated and distributed, to share the joy she herself derived from food.” said Dipa Singh Bagai.
Published by Markings with Recipes by Pushpa Kumari Bagai, Edited by Shanaz Ramzi, Cover Illustration by Ayesha Durrani, Photography by Adeela Badshah, Kohi Marri, Nakul Malik and Atul Bagai, ‘Zaiqay Frontier Ke – Dera Ismail Khan Ke Bholay Bisray Pakwan’ is currently available to purchase for PKR 1,500 at leading book stores across Pakistan.