Cookery School Founder, Pop Up Restaurant Organiser, Spice Producer, and Private Chef
Safia is one half of the mother-daughter team that runs Pure Punjabi. They run cookery school workshops for adults & kids, produce artisan spice products & host bespoke food events & weddings. They focus on giving foodies from outside the Punjabi community access to the knowledge and culinary skills found inside the homes of Punjabi families.
Together with her mother, Surinder, their award-winning artisan spices and The Pure Punjabi Cookery School (both a physical school, and an online cookery school) aim to maintain and pass on the traditional North Indian culinary skills that are becoming a dying art.
Raised by her mother in the pure culinary traditions of the Punjabi kitchen, Safia loves to create fusion dishes from her Anglo-Indian heritage as well as her childhood spent in Europe and South Africa.
Through Pure Punjabi, Safia and Surinder are determined to get pulses to the forefront of home cooking. Many of their spice products involve using pulses, in fact, their 3-course meal gift pack uses pulses for the starter, the main and the dessert!
For 2016, the International Year of Pulses, Safia has written a free, online mini-course about pulses, which contains all the essential information that you need to know when cooking with pulses. It will allow people to really come to grips with pulses and learn how to use them.
In addition to their free course on pulses, The Pure Punjabi Online Cookery School also offers full video courses on various types of meal preparation.
On the Pulse Blog
More from Safia Hothi-Bellamy
Pumpkin & Chickpea Cheesecake
- 100 g sunflower oil
- 200 g gram flour (also known as chickpea flour)
- 200 g caster sugar
- 1 small squash or pumpkin
- 450 g tofu
- 1 1/2 tbsp gelatin powder (or 1 ½ tablespoons agar agar if vegan)
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1/4 tsp green cardamom, ground
- A handful of flaked almonds, crushed
- A handful of unsalted pistachios, crushed
- Start by making the base. Over a medium to low heat, put the sunflower oil in a saucepan and allow to gently heat for 2 – 3 minutes.
- Once the oil is warm, add the gram flour into the pan, and stir so that all of the oil and flour are incorporated.
- Cook the flour and oil mixture slowly over the course of 10 – 12 minutes, without letting the mixture brown. During this cooking time, make sure that you keep the mixture moving constantly in the pan. You will notice that as it cook, the texture will start out resembling crumble topping, and it will become glossy, resembling peanut butter, by the time it’s cooked.
- After the 12 minutes, take the pan off the heat and add in the sugar, making sure it’s completely incorporated. Taste the mixture and if there’s no bitter taste, it is ready to be pressed into a round cake tin. If there is a slightly bitter after taste, put the pan back onto a low heat setting and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Line the cake tin with a double layer of cling film, then, using the back of a metal spoon, press the base mixture into a cake tin. Put it into the fridge to firm up whilst you prepare the pumpkin layer.
- Peel the pumpkin/squash and cut it into bitesize pieces. Steam the pieces of pumpkin/squash till it’s completely soft.
- Once the pumpkin is cooked, put it into a food processor with the tofu, and blend till you have a smooth mixture. Add in the gelatin powder (or agar agar), icing sugar and green cardamom, and blitz again in the food processor for a minute (or until well blended).
- Pour the pumpkin mixture on top of the base layer, and put into the fridge to set overnight.
- Just before serving, sprinkle over the crushed flaked almonds and pistachios.
Tip: tofu is a great alternative to cream cheese for cheesecakes or any sweet recipes that require cream cheese. It will take on the flavour of whatever else you have in the recipe, it just take a few hours for it to absorb all of the flavours. So make sure that when using tofu in place of cream cheese, that you make the dish the day before you need it so that the flavours can develop overnight.