My Chefling Tale

As a 10-year-old girl, I used to do mock TV cooking shows. I would place all the ingredients in front of me in small bowls, just like on TV. I would then talk to myself and an imaginary audience.“Aaj hum app ko do andoon ka omelette banana sikhayen gae.” (Today we’ll be showing you how to make an omelette using two eggs)

I’d go on. “Aik anda lain, is ko torae, aur issay achi tareeqay sae phaintain. Ab iss mein aik tamatar ko bareek kat kar dallian and mix it well.” And so the descriptions went on, down to the tiniest detail.

For some it’s pressing clothes, for others it’s reading books – but for me, it has always been cooking good food. It lowers my daily stress levels and makes me happy. My cooking style is all about quick and simple recipes. I believe in tasting the food while cooking and adjusting it to my palate. I believe a good palate is the real key to making great food!

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I did my degree in business studies with a specialization in marketing and started working with a digital agency in 2008. I worked with clients in the US on digital products with multi-million dollar exits. I love all things digital! During this time, I felt that down the road I wanted to do something I was passionate about in the digital space. By this time I was also married, and began to miss all those special dishes my mom cooked for me; marble cake prepared in a pressure cooker, or chicken jalfrezi, which we called chicken ‘jalsazee’ (fraud), since there was very little chicken in it and was my mother’s way of getting us to eat vegetables. I married into a Kashmiri family, and quickly realized that the next generation of Kashmiri families in Pakistan are not cooking traditional Kashmiri food. As a Punjabi, I had no clue how flavorful this cuisine was. During the same time, I got the chance to live in Thailand for a while, and realized that the taste and flavor of Pakistani food available overseas was not true to its origins. I felt that home-cooked Pakistani cuisine needed to be documented and presented to the world in its true form: as prepared by a Pakistani.

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With these thoughts and a food crazy life partner, Shahab, (who has an excellent palate and has tasted cuisines across the globe) I started a personal food blog where I began to document all the flavors of Pakistan I knew of. Initially, I wanted the blog to become an online version of the secret recipe diaries our moms and us kept in drawers. (Your mom has one too right?!)

I chose the name Chefling Tales. If you want to know what a chefling means, Google it 🙂 . I wanted this website not to be just another recipe blog, but one that brings forward the unique and treasured stories behind each recipe. Just like every person we meet in our lives, every recipe has a story. Over two years, myself and 20 other food enthusiasts documented over 100 recipes. These included Pakistani specialties as well as experimental dishes made by our ‘cheflings’. When it comes to international cuisine, our focus has always been on documenting authentic recipes.

Today, with the encouragement and love shown by our readers, Chefling Tales has grown into a complete food website for cheflings in Pakistan and around the world. We are now a team of food bloggers, travel bloggers, comic artists, developers and designers, working from across Pakistan. We want to give a platform to home cooks, showcase regional cuisines, document traditional recipes, promote food entrepreneurs, capture the culinary beauty of Pakistan and give our readers a flavor of international cuisine through travel tales. We are also teach kitchen gardening, so you can grow your own organic produce and play your part in food sustainability.

Can’t decide what to cook today? We want to help you decide with our What Should I Cook Today? section. You’ll get the right ideas based on the ingredients you have in your kitchen. You can also look through our menus for special dinners. We want you to know your food, and for that we also have a Food Facts. We love it when you laugh, and that’s why we are working with top comic artists from Pakistan to bring together our Chefling Humor.

We believe in creating a social impact through our products. Cheflings On The Fringe is working to give underprivileged women in remote areas of the country an opportunity to earn a livelihood using their cooking skills, all from the comfort of their homes.

Each section holds a unique value. It’s all been put together with great love and with our cheflings in mind. Our categories include Cook, Dine, Travel and Grow. Cook features home cooks from around Pakistan showcasing the unique flavors cooked at their homes, including Pashtun, Baloch, Punjabi and Sindhi cuisines. Dine promotes food entrepreneurs from the country and features the latest dining experiences. We are also Pakistan’s first travel food blog, with coverage travel destinations and the unique food experiences they offer. You can also stay in touch with all food and travel related events through our Events section.

Our food blogging journey has been amazing. I can’t thank my friends and family enough for their love, support and for contributing in any way possible. (Special thanks to Sophia Mustafa Photography for the awesome food clicks)

We invite all those who love cooking and talking about food to share their story, document the recipes, talk about their food culture, and promote their culinary business.

Here’s to the love of food, sharing tales, being a Pakistani and making difference!

Best,

Madiha, Shahab and the Chefling Tales team