StoryMirror interviewed food blogger and entrepreneur, Aliya Nada Saifi and asked about her journey. Here is what she has to say -
1. We have heard so much about you! Tell us about yourself and background.
I am a 27 Year Old Woman with a Graduate degree in Economics. I have lived all my life in Pune and call this city home. Never in the topper league but definitely a bright student who excelled in academics through perseverance and hard Work. I Was pursuing an ambitious career in Finance when Life happened. Due to a sudden onset of illness and underlying medical problems, I had to quit my career. It was more of a conscious decision owing to circumstances than a Choice. Since 2015, I have learnt to see and appreciate life in an all new light.
In the past few years, while I got disconnected with everything that existed previously in my life, I took up Food Blogging as a pastime. Food has and will always be my first love. The passion for exploring new cuisines runs in the family and Blogging soon opened new avenues for me. I recently won the Orange Flower Award powered by Women's Web in the Food Writing Category.
Blog URL - http://www.lobsterpastalady
2. What is your life’s greatest dream?
If there’s one thing that Life has taught me is to not plan anymore. We invest ourselves planning for the future while God has other things in store for us. While I don’t plan anymore but I do HOPE. A sense of independence and self fulfilment is all I desire and my Venture ROGHANDAAZ is an attempt in the said direction.
3. What's is your venture all about?
Roghandaaz is a Delivery Only Kitchen based out of NIBM Area in Pune. The venture is a brainchild of me and my mother. We started off as a humble beginning in September 2017 and there is no looking back ever since. Currently We have a remote kitchen setup with a staff strength of 5 people. Our menu is a 100% Non Vegetarian line up (Our USP) with dishes straight out of family cook books. The recipes are what my grandmother and generations before her have passed on as legacies. We deliver all over Pune via delivery channels such as Zomato, Swiggy and Dial A Meal. We accept Online and Offline Orders and cater to Large gatherings as well.
Over the period of 6 Months of Operations, we have received rave reviews and responses from customers as well as bloggers in the industry.
4. How do you see yourself in next 5 years?
As already mentioned, I do not Plan my course anymore but will always be hopeful. I wish Roghandaaz scales greater heights while gathering good customer response at all times. I hope we are recognized as a more established brand with multiple outlets in the coming years while we vouch that the quality remains uncompromised. I see myself as more happy and content than anything else.
5. You were mentioning that your USP is 100% non veg food with dishes straight out of family cook books. Can you tell us more about dishes and your family story behind them.
All the dishes run in our family. Earlier the ladies in the family were trained in culinary art (especially before they got married) by calling khansamas from erstwhile India (Now Pakistan). A lot of our family even migrated to Pakistan so we have a little influence of their spices and methods in our cooking. The sheer sewai (dessert) that is on our menu is very different from the sewai preparations served during Eid across the country.
5. What has the response been like?
Here are some of the best reviews we have recieved:
Sonal Zalkikar rated 4 stars
It's the right season for Roghandaaz kind of food. Food that's rich, delectable and warms you up. They are a delivery-only kitchen and food comes in neat packaging with a menu. Aliya Nada Saifi also sent me the details of delivery beforehand with a personal note on how to reheat the food. The Lahori Murgh is their speciality and rightly so. The cashew paste makes this dish creamy and smooth and the Kasuri methi gives it a heavenly aroma. The Kofta Qadeem is meatballs cooked in a peppery curry. The meatballs in itself was meaty and flavourful; however it didn't complement the curry. Not my kinda curry. Gosht Ishtew was the star dish for me. Super soft mutton chunks cooked in onion gravy without any additional water. The mutton melts in your mouth And the slow cooking makes the gravy finger licking good. The Roghandaaz Chicken Biryani has potatoes in it and that for me is love 😍. Their biryani is not delicate like the awadhi biryani nor is it unnecessarily spicy. A good balanced and delicious medley of rice and chicken.The only thing that didn't work well for me is the amount of oil in their preparations. However, this is something that I can overlook considering they don't really compromise on the quality and taste of food.
Pune Nightlife rated 5 stars
They say a picture says a thousand words. But in this case the picture created such beautiful cravings in the tummy that one could even imagine! All this started with seeing the name ‘Roghandaaz’ and it intrigued me. Then I came across an array of their food pictures – Oh My God! Such visual delight was the food pictures that the next thing we did, was to place the order! I remember picking up the phone and calling Aliya (the owner of Roghandaaz and one of my favorite food bloggers in the city), telling her that the menu and their pictures just made me drool and place an order NOW! We did not have the patience to even wait for a day. To top it all the entire team at Pune Nightlife is a bunch of meat lovers and food from Roghandaaz is PURE NON VEGETARIAN. The menu had names like Lahori Murgh, Murgh Shahi Korma, Gosht Ishtew, Kofta Qadeem, Qaliya, Haleem, Yakhni Pulao, Sheer Sewai and more! All the items on the menu were prepared from rare and lost recipes that have passed on from generations in the family. Now after knowing all this, who can hold themselves? Their legacy is inspired greatly by Urdu speaking lands including Pakistan and so is their brand name! Roghandaaz means ‘frying pan’ in Urdu. This term was commonly used at Aliya’s place especially by her Naani. Urdu culture is fading but Aliya’s family still has these terms in parlance at home at least. All these are the reasons why they don’t call their Haleem or Biryani as Hyderabadi or Awadhi. They are termed as nomadic! Love for food and cooking runs in Aliya’s family. The ladies in the earlier generation were practically trained under professional Khansamas or Chefs before they got married. That was a ritual which later translated to documenting each of these rare, also some lost recipes in notebooks etc and the script of this is Urdu. These recipes were taught to the following generations and have thus been passed on. Some are documented while others learnt by rote. Team Roghandaaz have tried to follow the authentic recipes and have self taught the cooks working in their team. The authenticity lies more in the method of preparation than the ingredients. We ordered a portion of the Lahori Murgh, Murgh Kababi and 2 portions of Sheer Sewai. It was really sweet of Aliya to send us Gosht Ishtew and another portion of Lahori Murgh from their end. This was one day where we eagerly waited for the food! The food arrived on time. The packaging was so perfect with no spillage. Each and every item was neatly labeled, with cutleries to go with it. A lot speaks about a product when good ideation and creativity has gone into the branding. It shows the passion of the people behind it. Each and every item that we ordered had a distinct flavor to it and we love such food. The most important thing here is a lot of love and patience has gone into making these dishes. They have a limited menu and there are no Indian breads or plain rice to go with it (that really doesn’t matter). The menu has a mix of Mughlai, East Indian and North West Frontier cuisine. Roghandaaz is inspired by the culinary culture and practices across the plains and over the mountains.
Getting down to what we tried. Read more at https://www.zomato.com/review/BqEzPX
Husein Upletawala rated 5 stars
The era in which one wasn't queasy about rich meaty preparations was an infinitely more delicious one. The food was slow cooked, wholesome and left you with a warm fuzzy feeling that only good food can. Then people started to get health conscious, may be rightly so, and even your grandma's recipes started getting weighed down by calorie counts and abominations like quinoa biryani. Hence I was pleasantly surprised by Roghandaaz, a new delivery kitchen based out of NIBM Rd., Kondhwa, serving dishes influenced by Mughlai and North West Frontier cuisines. The non vegetarian only menu is cooked with a generous amount of fat / oil and flavours transport you back to that bygone era. The food arrived packaged impressively, appropriately labelled and even small details like tucking in tissue papers and cutlery in a plastic envelope were taken care of. The dishes I received were Murgh Shahi Korma, Kofta Qadeem, Gosht Ishtew, Mutton Biryani and Sheer Sewai, each one of them on point with well cooked meat and gravies redolent with heady aromas. I'd expected the Ishtew to be a coconut milk based soup with meat and veggies but the one at Roghandaaz is a thick brown gravy coating the mutton pieces and can be had either as a starter or main with a crispy butter paratha. Quite easily the dish of the day. Admittedly, I was a little taken aback after uncapping the Kofta and Korma containers because the thick layer of oil drowning the curries but one bite of these dishes and I wouldn't have it any other way. The Kofta had 5 pieces of succulent meatballs, made with very fine mince, swimming in a black pepper based curry but the mellow Korma was the real surprise here because it tasted way better the next day; I would be very tempted to order a portion of the Korma only to devour it after a day or two. The Mutton Biryani was nice too - long grain rice, kewda scented masala and good chunks of mutton which I thought could be a tad softer to break through but this is not something that can't be fixed easily. If you're ordering a gravy or two, one portion of biryani could easily suffice two people. The Sheer Sewai with pleasant hints of coconut and nuts like pistachios and almonds is an apt way to end the decadent meal. The only drawback right now is the fact that they don't serve any breads to go with the curries but I believe that'll be sorted out soon.
Our target audience is basically anyone who loves good non vegetarian food and on the lookout for something different. We do not serve the regular names like butter chicken, chicken tikka masala kind of dishes. Our pricing is also fixed keeping in mind the affordability of all kinds of consumers. At the same time we source high quality raw materials and do not compromise on the quality being served. Because that is what matters in the long run.
Check them out:
Or contact them at 020 71967106 to place your order (Pune)