Lella Umedaly was born in Pretoria, South Africa in 1930 to parents with ancestry in India. When Lella told her father as a young girl that she wanted to be a pilot, her father told her that she would be piloting her pots and pans in the kitchen. Indeed she did.
Eventually Lella moved to Uganda in East Africa where she married, had five children, became a Montessori school teacher and a businesswoman. She and her family were expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin in 1972 and they came to Canada as refugees. This cookbook was born as her children and grandchildren, missing her special brand of fresh and quick Indian cooking, would call with questions like, "How do you make curries brown?"
Mamajee's Kitchen is a fusion of the tastes and influences of three continents. The foundation was laid in India with elements added in Africa and final touches that came from Canada. Each continent influenced the ingredients, taste, appearance, aroma and texture of the dishes. The recipes in Mamajee's Kitchen are often variations on the traditional, taking advantage of shortcuts in preparation, low-fat alternative ingredients and shorter cooking times in the interest of providing healthy and tasty alternatives.
The book begins with Mamajee's Spice Cupboard, which sets out the list of necessary spices, where to find them, and how to prepare them so they are easy to access when cooking. Additional sections include Appetizers, Meat/Poultry Dishes, Seafood/Fish Dishes, Vegetable Dishes, Rice, Breads, Pickles, Chutney, Desserts and Drinks, with a glossary and index.