Naqshab (photo: Shu Wei)

”When you surprise everyone — including yourself!”

It wasn’t always certain that Naqshab would be a star in the kitchen. Everyone was surprised, including herself. Naqshab spent her entire childhood in a boarding school where the students were banned from the kitchen and all free time was to be spent on homework or sports.

Cinnamon stick, cardamom and clove. Add sweet almonds and raisins and you can almost see the steaming Swedish glögg (mulled wine) in front of you. But these spices are very common in the Pakistani cuisine as well. Cinnamon, cardamon and clove, together with chopped almonds, and yellow raisins are the foundation of Naqshab Imran’s kitchen Daisi Cooking.

Naqshab’s cooking prospects didn’t improve when she started her career as a teacher. She lived with her parents and her mom ran the kitchen. Everything changed the day she got married. Naqshab moved to Stockholm, in 2014, with her husband and son. They have been living in Upplands Väsby ever since.

“I didn’t know how to cook before I got married. I had seen others do it but I hadn’t cooked by myself. It was just after marriage that I started cooking so when I came to Sweden I had to learn everything from scratch. You can say that I’ve learned through ”trial and error”. I never follow a recipe!” says Naqshab, laughing.

Achari Gosht (Pickle Mutton) by Naqshab

During the whole interview we laughed a lot and you could tell that Naqshab enjoys speaking about life, her country, and her food.

“I come from the north part of Pakistan where the food is influenced by both India and Afghanistan. So I’m not surprised that my best selling dishes are Chicken Biryani and Kabuli Pulao (named after Kabul — the capital of Afghanistan). This last dish also being very popular among people with roots from Iran.”

It was only after her dinner-guests started to compliment her cooking that the idea of starting a catering business took root. Just three months later Naqshab was cooking for real, mainly for other Pakistani families who would order her food for holidays and parties. After Naqshab came in contact with Gastronaut her food was accessible to more people than just the Pakistani community. There is an ongoing debate among Pakistanis in Stockholm about whether Naqshab makes the best Pakistani food in Stockholm or the second best. The debate still goes on.

“First I was a little bit unsure if someone not from my region would like to eat my food but after just one week with Gastronaut the orders started to come in. I think that regardless which country you come from, people appreciate good home-cooked food,” concludes Naqshab with a big smile.

Authenticity is very important for Naqshab — which she finds is lacking in the Pakistani and Indian restaurants in Stockholm.

“During my years in Sweden I’ve eaten at almost all the Indian and Pakistan restaurants in Stockholm but the food tastes far from what it is supposed to be. It is all too sweet! We prefer to eat unsweetened food and not so much yoghurt and cream in our sauces. I don’t think that is authentic food, it is food adjusted for a European palate. When I ask them why, they say that Swedes love the sweet taste,” says Naqshab, looking truly surprised.

The life as a homechef suits Naqshab perfectly. In Pakistan she used to work as an English teacher and here in Sweden she just finished her SFI-studies.

“Before I used to get up at ten o’clock but now I get up at six-thirty in order to start cooking. My son is three years old and I work when he sleeps. It is so good to be your own boss since I can take time off whenever I want. If I would have a nine-to-five job I wouldn’t have this freedom.”

The future Naqshab describes is positive and she wants to gain more experience and establish her business. Naqshab feels it is of great benefit to her that Gastronaut offers homechefs training as well as access to customers outside of her community.

“If I need Gastronaut’s help they will help me. I didn’t have much experience contacting customers before I started using their app. And if I had gone as a private person people might have felt a little bit unsure, but through this app I can do my selling smoothly. It is a professional tool and I can reach my customers in a professional way,” Naqshabs concludes with a big and warm smile.

To find Naqshab’s amazing food click here or search for Daisi Cooking on the Gastronaut app.

If you live in Sweden and want to become a Gastronaut homechef, you can easily start your kitchen directly on the app (iPhone and Android).

For questions, comments, feedback just shoot us an email at contact@gastronaut.me