In the bustling city of Karachi, a Palestinian woman is making waves with her delectable sweet treats, bringing a slice of Palestinian culture to the vibrant culinary scene.
Meet Iman Al Haj Ali, a resilient “mompreneur” who, alongside her daughters Laila and Israh, who has been running a Palestinian bakery from her home in Karachi.
Iman’s journey into the culinary world of Karachi began when she followed her Pakistani husband to the city. Not content with idleness, she decided to embark on a new venture that would not only fill her time but also allow her to share the rich flavors of Palestinian cuisine with the people of Karachi.
In an interview with local media, Iman expressed that her motivation goes beyond merely providing delicious sweets; it’s about offering a cultural experience. Her small online bakery, launched a year ago, has become a meaningful project that brings the family closer together.
A seasoned IT engineer and teacher, Iman’s decision to delve into the world of baking was not only a personal passion but also an opportunity to leverage her daughters’ business degrees. “What better way to put those business degrees to good use?” she remarked, emphasizing the joy of learning and creating together.
Adding a Middle Eastern flair to Karachi’s culinary landscape, Iman’s bakery features Palestinian delights such as Kunafa, Qatayef, and Basbousa.
Qatayef, a sweet treat popular in Palestine, holds a special place on the menu, especially during Ramadan. Iman shared that the decision to include these treats was influenced by Karachiites’ strong liking for Kunafa, a renowned dish in Arab cuisines worldwide.
Iman’s roots in Palestine are deep, woven through the stories of her parents and siblings. Despite not being born on Palestinian soil, her connection to the land is profound. She lamented the challenges her family faced after the events of the second Nakba in 1967, leaving them unable to return to their homeland.
Expressing gratitude for the support from the people of Pakistan, Iman highlighted the distressing situation in Palestine. “Being a guest in your own country is a profound sorrow,” she said, emphasizing the significance of the solidarity shown by Pakistanis.
In the sweet dish squad, Iman’s daughters, Laila and Israh, contribute their culinary skills, joined by a trained employee in the kitchen. Laila emphasized the importance of educating people about Palestinian culture, countering false claims made by Israel about certain dishes.
“Israel’s claims that dishes like ‘shakshouka‘ and ‘dates’ belong to them are nothing but lies,” Laila asserted, expressing gratitude for the unwavering support from the people of Karachi.
Check out the full interview here: