Asalaamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu,


About Me

I am Mona, a homesick Hyderabadi foodie muslimah, a home cook, mother, writer and blogger, currently enjoying life in Toronto, attempting to make an insight into the method of cooking in the Hyderabadi households, a modern take on authentic recipes that remind me of my hometown.

As a young girl, I became obsessed with collecting recipes, cooking and photography. Food and everything relating to it has always pleased me and cooking good food has for ever so been therapeutic to me. It was when I landed in the field of Nutrition, or actually after I had to leave the comforts of my parents house and had a kitchen to run on my own, when I really started to develop an interest in cooking and collecting recipes. And that is when I decided to document my recipes in an effort to avoid constant calls back home to my Ammi for recipes. I hope to one day publish my own cookbook.

I love beautiful fabrics and I also have a passion for sewing. I love to use what little free time I have to create things. I make and sell one of a kind accessories for mothers and their baby on my etsy shop: ‘Omee’s Boutique‘.

About the Blog

I started this blog on a whim in the summer of 2007. This is my journal and creative outlet, a platform to showcase and document all that I am cooking and the stories that go with them. Why the name Zaiqa you ask. ‘Zaiqa’ is a word from the poetic Urdu language ~ my mother tongue, which means ‘Taste’.

I have fond memories of growing up eating traditional Hyderabadi food that is famous for two iconic dishes –Biryani and Haleem. The princely city of Hyderabad, which is the capital of the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, was once ruled by the powerful and wealthy Nizams. The royal Hyderabadi cuisine is an amalgamation of the Moghul cuisine and the fiery spicy cuisine of Andhra Pradesh. I have seen that there are very few cookbooks and resources that write about Hyderabadi cuisine and showcase the recipes. The rare and outstanding nizami cuisine of Hyderabad seems to be fading away.

Through my blog, I intend to inspire all Hyderabadis to share their tried and tested recipes with the world. I am no expert in Hyderabadi cuisine and its methods, rather a home cook trying to document my recipes. My blog is my obsession and is very much filled with nostalgia, all my recipes and stories, a labor of love, with abundant amounts of patience and effort, a journal of my recipes, both traditional and the trial-and-error ones.

I also rant, and blog about my other interests and passions and updates on my handmade goods that I am selling on my etsy shop: Omee’s Boutique.

Thank you for visiting. I am available for freelance work as a food writer. If you have any questions you can contact me here.

I hope you enjoy your visit and I would love any and all feedback.

Happy feasting!


All writing, photography and illustration on Zaiqa is copyright to Mona (© 2007-2012). If you want to use any of the photographs, please contact me first.

32 thoughts on “About

  1. Mona,

    Great Blog….I love hyderabadi food and your blog has a great collection of hyderabadi recipes…this is one of the best food blogs i have come across the web …Good luck !

    Mashallah love your collection of recipes and i request you to add more hadith sharif on the site inshallah.
    i would like you to upload maraag recipe i had many times in marriages but not prepared at home so plz help me by posting this recipe and all the best mona

    WaAlaiKuMAsSalaam Naaz. JazakAllah Khair. There is a recipe for Marag on my blog. You can go through it from the Recipe Index on my blog, or you can also use the search button.

  3. Great blog! You make us Hyderabadis proud Mona! I wanted to try a katli recipe,and didn’t know where to look. Half-heartedly I googled for it, and was amazed to arrive at your blog! What a breathtaking array of Hyderabadi dishes you have listed there! Mashallah! I wish you success!
    This blog is a keeper, saved it to my favorites right away!

  4. Asalam Mona
    I really appreciate your blog n you for the hardwork , I would like you to upload how to make roti n saugar roti

  5. Mona…A thousand salams to you..If it were not for you..My family and I would have starved out here in America. You are my teacher …and often I find myself wondering about people who have be able to help others and I would say you and other food bloggers are the best of the lot..for what is more important that teaching others to survive, build, create, and master the art of pleasing our husbands and families! You have chosen to share your legacy of cooking and for that we are grateful…May Allah increase you in Iman and success. Often your photography has moved me…and inspired me to learn!
    Keep on!

  6. Dear Mona, Assalamwaliakum!

    Chanced by your blog and totally fell in love!

    Thanks to my grandfather’s job he was posted all over AP and so my mom and therefore me and my siblings grew up on hyderabadi cuisine! But I cook nothing like my mom and am really looking forward to try out some of your recipes!!!

    Love and best wishes to you,

  7. Salams Mona,
    Mashallah love your collection of blogs, it’s under my favorites. Thanks for all the posts. Hyderabadi cuisine is amazing and needs to not fade!!
    take care 🙂

  8. Salamualykum Mona. This blog is wonderful.
    Keep it up.
    It would be more good if we have some more receipes in drinks\juice section…as very hot summer has started here in India.
    Thank q.


  9. Salam mona.. Am highly impressed.. U’ve such a wonderful collection of recipes n explained so elaborately, easy for any novice to cook.. I wanna try out every recipe on ur blog.. Inshallah, keep going..

  10. Dear Mona,
    I happened on your blog accidentally, trying to find a way to use yogurt that did not set… and I spent the next two hours perusing the wonderful recipies in it.
    Like you I am away from a world of lavors, though not my native one. I am Italian and though we have good food I find the pallette boring day after day. Having lived in san Francisco for many years I miss all other foods: Indian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican…. As there are no restaurants here for Indian food I got all the spices I could find in the store for the local Bangladeshi community, a few books and iI have tried to make a few dishes. So your blog is so very welcome and I sincerely hope you will be able to publish a book someday. BTW there is a site called Blurb.com where you can design, publish and sell your own books, you should check it out!
    keep up the good work!

  11. Dear mona

    Assalmualikum!!!your website is best friend of my. im also from hyderabad. i have no words to tell how how much i love you:) your my best friend you always help me to cook. Allah bless you & may allah always fulfill your all wishes….

  12. Hat’s Off To You Lady & Your Service, life in foriegn is quite difficult withour our parents. But your blog really inspired & active me in lighting my cookstove. Thanks! A personal message to you please accept; “Woh kiya malum, pakate waqat maza ajara bahar ka khana nakko boldiya nai samjhe”.

  13. Dear Mona
    I tried ur pickles really it is very nice .I prepared it and my family loves it so much thank you very much for keeping my family closer to me . Pls send me the receipe of vegetable pickle without kachi imlee.

  14. Assalamualaikum Mona, was just reading your about page and was wondering… why don’t you self-publish your recipes as a kindle e-book on amazon.com? I was searching for indian recipes on the site recently and there really isn’t anything I’d pay for. Yours on the other hand, are amazing, comprehensive and would be a must-have for a Hyderabadi like me. I would love to buy your book… do give it a thought 🙂

  15. Assalamualaikum Mona,
    a neat and an excellent blog.
    I really have a passion on hyderabadi recepies.
    So i think i’ve got a good site to try these hyderabadi recepies.
    happy blogging

  16. Salaam Mona,
    Thank you for such a nice blog. I am a homesick hyderabadi staying in UK right now. I miss hyderabad so much, particularly during Ramadan. On Eid on called my friends over and made your mirchi ka saalan along with my biryani and other recipes. Your mirchi ka salan was an instant hit. it came out so perfect, made me remember the hyderabadi marriages i attended.
    Thanks again for your efforts and time.Happy blogging.


  17. excellent work masterpeice
    please send me reciepe for dum ka kheema and lukmi if u can thnx
    love your passion for hyderabad and food
    as my brother says we hyderabadi spent most of our tme either eating ,preparing our taking about food

  18. mona i am so happy to fine ur blog… i loved ur recipes n the way u tell each n every thing ….n the photos r too gud…..plz plz contact me on my e-mail id i am waiting for ur reply

  19. I found your site by accident, I was looking for a recipe for black salt and discovered this site of yours. I find it very helpful and you have some great recipes which you have taken time to present well and with care so that beginners can enjoy cooking. Thanks

  20. Assalaamualaikum,

    I just came across your site today and I love it. I’m always looking for good recipes to try out. Your blog is neat and clearly laid out with specific instructions and pictures. I love it even more cuz you’ve got some authentic Hyderabadi dishes that my family makes too. I’m gonna try some of these out. Thanks for making your blog and keep the recipes coming! 🙂

  21. Great blogging-you should be posting/uploading on http://www.iFood.TV

    the fastest growing foodie site on the web, free, no advertising. 11 million hits a month-I’d love to see you there with some of the best pro-chefs and home cooks.


  22. Hi,

    Nice blogging going on here..this is the first time I am visiting and there are many intersting recipes. Thanks for visiting my blog and adding to ur blog roll.

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