When she first tried making chapatis, Fareeha Sheraz failed miserably. But these days the cooking instructor boldly claims to be a master of the famous flat bread, as she tells Sumeyya Ilanbey.
What’s your connection to the area?I moved to Caroline Springs about 11 years ago. After three years, I wanted to participate with the community services, so I contacted council. And then I started teaching at the Stevenson House – I wanted to teach the flavours of my country, Pakistan. Before that I lived in Thornbury for one and a half years. I moved to Australia in 2004.
What’s your favourite thing about living in Caroline Springs?
It is a good area for the kids, especially with the parks, libraries and the community houses. It’s a nice and quiet area.
What would you change about the area if you could?
Maybe some new areas for the kids, more activities for the kids and maybe a bigger shopping centre. There are some pretty good children’s activities, but maybe some more courses, like computer courses and more outdoor activities. I’d also like to see some more multicultural activities, more festivals with different communities coming together.
Where’s your favourite place to hang out in Caroline Springs?
The library, because I like reading and it has a good selection of books. I also like the parks – the kids can play with all the different people at the park, and we can walk on the tracks around the lake, which are really nice.
Where did your love for cooking come from?
I come from Lahore, in Pakistan, which is a city famous for its food – the people love food. We love chickens and goats – we’re basically the meat lovers. I also have a degree in food nutrition and my mum is a wonderful cook.
How has Australian culture and cuisine influenced your cooking?
When I first moved here, I tasted all these different cuisines, so I just started mixing and matching and inventing things. Before I moved to Australia, I hadn’t tasted avocado. Now I love it – I make salads and chutneys with it.
What’s the secret to a good curry?
Make it from scratch. The best thing to do when making a curry is having it on medium to low heat and use fresh ingredients. The biggest mistake people make is using ready-made paste. And I always cook chicken without the skin – when people make a chicken curry with the skin on, it makes it more smelly and oily.
What’s your favourite dish to make?
I love to make goat curries. I just love the taste and you can mix and match with vegetables or eat it with lentils. So there’s a big scope for the goat.
Ms Sheraz teaches Indian and Pakistani cooking at Caroline Springs Stevenson House, 10 Stevenson Crescent, in Caroline Springs every Wednesday from 11.30am-1.30pm.