I love everything about food…eating (obviously!), cooking, writing about food and watching cooking show videos! Cooking is something I enjoy, it’s more like therapy to me…I started cooking regularly when I got married and came to Philadelphia…I had watched my mom and my sister cook all the time but I never really cooked when I was in India… maybe one or two times…my role used to be more of a helper who cuts the vegetables, cleans rice and lentils…so I was called a preparation girl! I used to love cooking videos by Sanjeev Kapoor on Zee TV and used to arrange all the vegetables in small bowls like cooking videos. My mom used to say no one cuts cilantro like ammu!
So…when I came to Philadelphia, I knew the concept of cooking but you know the difference between knowing theory and applying it practically…No my first attempts were not as dramatic as films where heroine tries to cook for the first time and ends up with flour in her hair and mess everywhere! Ok I lied! I had my share of stupidities! I was not bad at regular stuff like making rice, daal and vegetables but I did not know how to make fancy dishes! My first disaster was making Dhokla…Ah!
We were visiting our friends and Neeraj thought it would be good idea if we take something with us and I thought why not I will make Dhokla (I am not talking about store bought readymade mix…which became my favorite afterwards!!!) and from scratch… 🙂 I googled the recipe and found out 100 versions, selected one with good pictures (thinking that my Dhokla will become good) and prepared everything related to it… made tadka and put it in the cooker and let it whistled for 3 times!!! I was so happy that it’s done but when I opened the cooker it was total disaster! You are not supposed to put whistle when you are making dhokla! After that for a while I did not plan ‘new experiments’ when we were inviting people at our place or visiting them. I did all my experiments on Neeraj who supported me happily. He was investing for his better future! 🙂
I miss authentic Indian food here…I hate Indian restaurants in Philly. All of them sell same type of food and it is taste less! I used to ask my mom and my mother in law but some things you cannot explain… So I had no option but learn how to make different dishes…and my search for guru began! I was trying to find my Dronacharya whom I will follow diligently like Eklavya! Google was my first guru but I can’t trust all the recipes posted on it.
I was looking for chakali recipe and found chakali blog spot by Vaidehi (http://chakali.blogspot.com/)…she is a maharashtriyan (same state as mine in India) so her recipes were similar to what my mom makes. I love her style she posts her recipes in Marathi and English with step by step pictures and responds to all your queries! Sometimes I had to find substitute for some of the ingredients which we use back in India and Vaidehi who is from US therefore her blog helped me immensely in my early cooking days.
Watching cooking videos is one of my favorite things… Now a days there are several self-declared experts who post videos on Youtube, You can find hundreds of DIY (Do it yourself) videos on anything from cutting your hair to make your own cosmetic. But I have my favorites among them such as Manjula Aunt (I know I am calling her Aunt but she is such a sweetheart! http://www.manjulaskitchen.com/about-manjula/), Madhura’s recipe (http://www.madhurasrecipe.com/ she is also a maharastriyan!) and Show me the curry (http://showmethecurry.com/ ) All of them have huge fan following. I really admire their efforts to put a new video every week and for every occasion. I don’t exactly know how but one day I stumbled upon show me the curry videos…I love Anuja and Hetal… Anuja is Punjabi and married to a Tamilian and Hetal is Gujarathi…I love them because they are more versatile when it comes to different recipes…
I learned many quick sweets, Mexican, Thai, Italian recipes from them. One day I was watching some songs and was getting irritated by Youtube adds…but thanks to them I came to know about the Sorted food (http://sortedfood.com/#!/about/) group. It is a group of 4 British boys. Two of them cook a recipe every time and then they talk about it. Their tag line is ‘We talk food at the table’ 🙂 I am a vegetarian but I don’t have issues about watching non veg dishes… I love their videos and for a week or so I watched only their videos. I am not sure whether it is because of their sexy Brit accent or food!!! Hmmm
I want to thank all of you for helping me to develop a new taste by adding a pinch of spice in my life!!!