Cooking Culture and Chaos: Episode 3—Tanzanian Fried Shrimp with Natasha Sidi

Interview by: Fatima Lee Garsi
Videography & Recipe Cards by: Vicky Tan

In this episode, we meet a vibrant, gentle spirit—Natasha Sidi!

Almost two years ago, I received a phone call from Natasha Sidi. She wanted to do some personal strength training and boxing coaching with me. I was really captured by her vulnerability and desire to strengthen herself physically and spiritually. I also got to know more about her background as an Ismaili Muslim. I’ve always found the Ismaili faith intriguing and a little mysterious. I learned a lot about Natasha during our episode together—her talent, her vibrancy, her depth, and her passion for pursuing goals that align with her values.


For our episode together, Natasha shared a very simple Tanzanian recipe with me: fried shrimp and cassava with kuchumber salad.

I was most surprised that we tossed the shrimp into the oil with the skin on and then ate the shrimp with the skin still intact. I had my doubts, but believe me, the skin crisps up and tastes delicious. It’s also a time saver because who likes peeling shrimp? If there’s one thing I hate, it’s peeling shrimp after it’s been cooked and getting my hands soiled. I’m already a bit of a messy eater, y’know?

The fried cassava was a hit! With its nutty flavour and satisfying texture, it’s mouth-wateringly good. In terms of cooking time, the cassava requires a little bit of extra boiling time in comparison to a potato. It needs to be boiled for a while to ensure it’s fully cooked. You then need to let the cassava cool down completely before frying so it gets nice and crispy on the outside. Don’t forget the tamarind sauce!


Born and raised in Tanzania, Natasha spent her childhood going on safari trips, and has survived an elephant charge twice! As an Ismaili Muslim, she strongly believes in leading her life rooted in her values and faith. Her plans for the future include leveling up her prank game, learning to make pizza from scratch, learning new languages, and traveling the world!


What are some early childhood memories you have from living in Tanzania?

My childhood in Tanzania was absolutely thrilling! Living in Tanzania meant being part of nature. I remember going on family safari trips at least every 6 months. At that time, there was a lot more wildlife and fewer tourists. We would fold up the seats in the car and put a mattress in the back. We’d drive through the savannah while on a mattress in our Land Cruiser, having snacks, listening to music, and watching the wildlife while breathing in fresh air.

How important is your faith to you?

Faith to me is life. These two things are not separate. I try to live very intentionally and authentically with my values and by the ethics of my faith. I’m more spiritual than religious. I believe that everything I do in life is a form of prayer. For example, when I’m boxing, I’m completely surrendering to the flow and energy of life and accessing my innermost powerful and higher self. It releases me from my ego and brings me so much joy!

How often do you visit Jamatkhana (Ismaili mosque) and what is it like?

I try to go at least once a week. It’s a very peaceful environment and the energy is so light and fresh. It’s like any other prayer space where people come in congregation to pray together. On Fridays, there are especially a lot more people. When we recite prayers together, it feels so empowering and you feel as though you’re part of something much, much bigger.


Natasha is the Operations and UX Lead at Accelerate Her Future, and is the Founder of Chasepixel. At Accelerate Her Future, Natasha co-creates programs that center the voices of Black, Indigenous, and racialized women in business and STEM across Canada. As the Founder of Chasepixel, she provides design expertise to value-aligned organizations that make a social impact.


As an advocate for gender and racial equity, Natasha began her career as an educator and further pursued her advocacy work in the non-profit, for-profit, tech, and social enterprise sectors. Her entrepreneurial spirit comes from her ancestors; she draws inspiration from her grandmothers to bring compassion, joy, and creativity in her leadership.

Enjoy Episode 3 with Natasha Sidi below!

View our previous episodes of Cooking, Culture & Chaos here: Episode 1 & Episode 2.