A Spicy Touch

Family Favourites from Noorbanu Nimji’s Kitchen

Photographs by: Pauli-Ann Carriere
ISBN 9781771513333
Hardcover | Publication Date: June 9, 2020
Book Dimensions: 7.75 in. x 9.75 in.
328 Pages

About the Book

Mouth-watering Indo–East African dishes that will become instant classics for home cooks.

A Spicy Touch is Noorbanu Nimji’s celebration of her North Indian Ismaili Muslim ancestry and the East African cuisine from her homeland in Kenya. Noorbanu collaborates with food writer and tour operator Karen Anderson to present more than 200 time-tested family favourites and new recipes.

With beautiful photographs, the book takes the home cook step by step through soups and snacks, samosa-wrapping, three chapters of main dishes (including Noorbanu’s famous Butter Chicken and Beef Nihari), a dedicated chapter on Indian tandoori grilling, vegetables, daal, Indian breads and rice dishes, chutneys and specialty Indian sweets. Learn how to make:

  • Bhajias – chickpea flour vegetable pakoras
  • Kuka Paka – chicken, eggs and potatoes in a subtly spiced coconut cream
  • Chana wagharia – chickpeas and eggplant in a spicy tamarind sauce
  • Bharazi and mandazi – pigeon pea curry with East African coconut donuts
  • Badam Pak – a creamy cardamom and almond fudge
  • And many more

Many recipes are vegetarian and/or gluten-free and all original recipes have been re-tested and rewritten to reflect the increased availability of ingredients today. With an extended section on pantry items, and tips and techniques that can only come from a master, readers will feel the authors at their side while they prepare the 200+ recipes. Welcome Noorbanu into your kitchen and find out for yourself why she’s considered the expert in her field by people all over the world.

About the Author(s)

Karen Anderson is a Taste Canada, IPPY, and World Gourmand award-winning writer for A Spicy Touch and Food Artisans of Alberta. She founded Alberta Food Tours in 2006 after a 21-year nursing career. She lives in Calgary with her husband. Find her at savouritall.com or albertafoodtours.ca.

Noorbanu Nimji is an East African Ismaili Muslim with ancestral roots in Northern India. Her family moved to Canada in 1974. Soon after her arrival in Calgary, Noorbanu was asked to teach cooking to youth in the local Ismaili community. She taught for a decade before beginning to publish her recipes. She self-published three cookbooks prior to beginning the manuscript for A Spicy Touch, with sales of over 250,000 copies.

Pauli-Ann Carriere is a photographer and entrepreneur who lives in Vancouver, B.C. Her photographic art captures transitory encounters of people, places, colours, texture and light. Pauli-Ann is a featured artist at Provide Home in Vancouver.


“I grew up in India with my family cooking and me learning just by being there. I am in awe of my mother, aunties and grandmothers and am blessed that they made me who I am today. I realize how fortunate I am since learning to cook from close family members is increasingly rare. That is why I have tremendous respect for Noorbanu Nimji. Noorbanu’s voice as a teacher and cookbook author is just like that of an Indian mother lovingly sharing family favourites with her children.” —Vikram Vij, bestselling cookbook author and renowned restaurateur

“The brief time I’ve spent in the kitchen with Noorbanu and Karen generated memories that will last a lifetime. Watching Noorbanu cook was exceptional. Her food creates comfort and intrigue in a perfectly delicious package.” —Globe and Mail

A Spicy Touch is the most beautiful, interesting, easy to follow, historical and inviting cookbook I have ever seen. What joy it will bring to so many people. I am so excited for Noorbanu and Karen to have completed this amazing journey and project together. There’s so much love in this cookbook. I can’t wait to own a copy and get started cooking the delicious Indian dishes right here in my own kitchen. Bravo!” —Shelley Adams, author of Whitewater Cooks

“It’s like Noorbanu and Karen are right here in my kitchen, teaching me to taste and to cook. I’ve always wanted to understand more about East Indian flavours, and this book has opened the spice box up to me. Thank you.” —Jennifer Cockrall-King, author of Food Artisans of the Okanagan

“I have collected hundreds of cookbooks over my career and the wealth of knowledge Noorbanu shares in this book should inspire anyone to try every recipe.” —Chef Andrew Hewson, CCC

“I love Indian food but its preparation has largely been a mystery to me. Typically I leave that part of it to the professionals. But in this book, Noorbanu Nimji breaks the dishes down into simple approachable recipes even I can handle. So I see carrot pickle, chana dal and chicken tikka in my near future.” —John Gilchrist, Calgary food and restaurant writer

“When A Spicy Touch first hit the shelves at The Cookbook Co. Cooks over 25 years ago, it was an instant success. Noorbanu’s recipes are tried and true and her Kuku Paka recipe is one of my all-time favourites. Dish after dish, this collection of family favourites is sure to delight.” —Gail Norton, co-owner of The Cookbook Co. Cooks, Calgary, Alberta