She’s a mum, a seamstress, a volunteer, a school principal, and now Jubaida Juthi has turned from being a home cook to a stallholder at the local Lakemba markets in Sydney selling her homemade Bangladeshi chutneys and pickles.
Juthi said the pickles and chutneys made from ingredients including tomatoes, apples, and mangoes are what she’d often serve to family and friends when they come over for a visit. But now with her three children who are now teenagers, she has a bit more time on her hands to do things for herself.
“Normally I would make these for my guests, and everyone loves my pickles and chutney, so I thought I would try making them and selling it at this market,” she said.
The recipes used to make the chutney and pickles are Juthi’s mum’s, who she tries to emulate when in the kitchen.
“When my mum made them I was always very curious and so I learnt from her just watching her; she never really taught me,” she said.
Growing up in Bangladesh, Juthi said she would often eat the chutneys and pickles as accompaniments to traditional Bangladeshi dishes such as fish, and a rice and lentil dish known as khichuri.
These days she tries to recreate her early experiences with food at home, making dishes such as biryani and chatpati.
Another specialisation of Juthi’s is a family recipe of a winter cake known as pitha.
“They were special cakes mum and grandma made in winter, and it would always help mark the start of the winter festival,” she said.
Since moving to Australia in 1994 after marrying her husband, who at the time was already living in Sydney, Juthi said she also favours eating food from other cultures.
“My three kids love Bangladeshi and Aussie food. I love cooking so I really enjoy making different types of food, and because we live in Lakemba it’s very multicultural and there are so many different types of restaurants so we’re never short of food here,” she said.
For the last six years, Juthi has also been volunteering at the local community centre, running a language school teaching Bangla, which she says is particularly important for first generation children who grow up in Australia.
“It’s because there are lots of first generation kids here, but they often speak English, and so every Sunday my time is for them: to teach them how to read and write. My kids can read and write, and it’s mainly because I spent time teaching them,” she said.
When she’s neither in the kitchen or teaching, Juthi gets creative with her hands, designing and sewing Bangladeshi, Pakistani, and Indian garments for women.