Cooking and food are my passions. I read a lot about food and recipes. The best part is that as a family, we enjoy a lot of experimentation in our food. The food cooked at home is predominantly North Indian, but I do cook South Indian stuff, Chinese, Thai, Italian and Mexican too. The reason I enjoy cooking so much is because my husband and kids love eating. I try to make most chats at home because I dislike eating the roadside stuff. Most of my cooking is done in very little oil. And, I use mostly sunflower or rice bran oil. I also use mustard and peanut oils in winter. I use olive oil for the Italian foods.
The emphasis is on making balanced meals of proteins, carbs, vitamins at every meal. The only thing I am finicky about is the authenticity of food. For those who are aware of Indian cooking would know that in each region of India, the tempering for dals (lentils) and the method of cooking of vegetables is unique and different. That gives the unique taste to food of that region. You do not find mustard seeds and curry leaves in North Indian dals, which are tempered with heeng and jeera (asafoetida and cumin predominantly). The Maharahtrians, Gujaratis and South Indians use curry leaves and mustard seeds in everything.
In Bangalore, when we eat a North Indian thali, it hardly has anything North Indian in it. The veggies and dal all have different tempering along with generous dollops of coconut. Imagine rajma and chhole being cooked this way. Also some of the rich curries overflowing with cream and butter are not how North Indian food is cooked. The difference in taste is in the garam masala prepared in every home. I don’t remember my mother using cream even in koftas. The max extent she went to was using cashews or almonds to make the gravy rich for very rare curries.
I feel, no matter what one cooks or eats, maintain the authenticity of the dish. Imagine using Indian spices in a Thai curry! So, when I look around for a good North Indian restaurant in Bangalore, I can’t think of any authentic ones, or maybe they are not in my area. And, they use excessive food color, which is a big put off. I wish those having their own restaurants would pay attention to these details too along with maintaining good hygiene.
Anyway, these days I am trying my hand at pickles. I recently pickled green chillies and am waiting for them to mature to eat them. My mother made great pickles; most of the recipes are gone with her. But, I do use the internet to cull out similar recipes, which are close to the familiar taste of my mom’s cooking, and then make adjustments in the ingredients.
I think making something delicious and nutritious for one’s family is so fulfilling.