Experiments in the kitchen

Experiments in the kitchen

I had a brief brush with cooking when I was in school; I would try out simple recipes like sandwiches. However, it was only during college that cooking stirred up a passion in me.

Then, I couldn’t resist staying away from the choir of cutlery, sniffing the aroma of ingredients as they all came together, listening to the crackling oil and of course, feeding my loved ones. Like most girls, I started experimenting with food when helping my mother in the kitchen. I remember that I would learn just by looking at her in the kitchen. It was a pleasure to see my father and brother enjoy the food I served. When it came to cooking, my mother was my only teacher, apart from the cookery books, TV channels and glitzy YouTube videos. I am also a huge fan of celebrity chef Nita Mehta and used to follow her culinary journey.

My passion took another route when I started a food blog around two years ago called ‘Nithya’s Kitchen’. It is filled with my favourite, home-cooked recipes and there are about 296 of them! These are recipes that I learnt from my mother and mother-in-law. A few were also passed down through generations. I am a sucker for traditional recipes and feel the need to preserve them as they are the healthiest ones we have today.

My main motive of the blog was to share my knowledge with people interested in food but after a while, Google sanctioned a few advertisements as they saw the viewership, writing, photographs and responses. Now, I am a full-time blogger. I also post my recipes on Facebook.

Along with this, I write about recipes and have traced the journey of various
dishes — from its existence to the evolution. I also learn international cuisines like Italian sauces. My husband, who is a foodie, encourages me to try a variety of cuisines that  I try at home. My daughter is a great critic of my food. I love to see the smile on other people’s faces when I feed them.  

I love South Indian cuisines. My favourite dishes are coconut gravy based like ‘avial’. ‘Soya idli’ is another dish close to my heart because it’s a healthy option. I have made many soya-based recipes. The source of the recipe was from the internet and I was pleased with the outcome.

Surprisingly, it was liked by everyone at home. Soya has many health benefits. Apart from being a protein supplement, it also prevents osteoporosis. It is a great heart-friendly product and is known to combat cancer. And I don’t keep the batter bland; I add a few vegetables, thereby making it more colourful, tasty and healthy. I believe that there is still a lot to learn and everyday is a new day for me in my kitchen.

n Boiled rice/Idli rice -
2 cups
n Urad dal - 1/2 cup
n Soya - 1/4 cup
n Salt to taste
n Corn kernels - a few
n Green peas - a few
n Carrot (grated) - 1
n Oil - 1 tsp

n Soak rice, urad dal and soya separately for four hours.
    Grind the urad dal and take aside.
n Put rice in the blender and grind. Add soya to the blender.
n Grind soya. Mix the three batters well and add salt. Allow it to ferment. By the next day it would have fermented well.
n Grease the idli mould with a bit of oil and add green peas, grated carrot and corn kernels.  Pour batter on the moulds. Steam for
15 minutes. Take out.
n Enjoy with any chutney. I served with tomato onion chutney.
n You can add chopped green chillies to the batter, if you want it to be spicy.
n You can add any
vegetable of your choice.
n You can also temper
with mustard and channa dal to the batter and make idlis.

Nithya, Food blogger (As told to Anushka Sivakumar)

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