I was born in India, and have since lived in Mozambique (as a teenager), as well as in Mexico and the UK. Shall be moving to Singapore next year. I am a food columnist and am working on a cookbook. By profession, I am a social worker and specialise in Disability and Reproductive Health issues. I am married to an Economist, and am the mother of a 3 year old baby girl. While I was always fascinated by food and cooking, it was'nt until I got married that I really started cooking regularly. And before that, I had never cooked any meat, chicken or fish, as I grew up in a vegetarian family. The love of my husband, and the absolute impossibility of him living on vegetarian fare made me start, and today I feel my meat and chicken dishes and better than the vegetarian ones. Also my love of food was promoted and nurtured by my husband, who is an avid foodie and loves to try new things all the time!
My favorite things to cook
Simple coffee cakes and quick breads. Also complicated India and South East Asian curries, and desserts.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Growing up, we tended to mostly have either our maid cook for us, with expert inputs from mother - there was very little participation from my father, myself or my sister. There was one thing though - on very special occasions, my father would make a 'choorma' a very rustic and utterly addictive haryanavi (meaning from the province of Haryana in India to which I belong) dessert that involves tearing freshly made chapattis (unleavened Indian flatbread), adding copious amounts of fresh melted ghee and powdered gur (jaggary, a kind of solid mollases)and then working it into the consistancy of a cruble topping. All the ingredients would be set out in front of him on the dining table at the end of a meal and we would watch, salivating, as he set to work. Absolutely divine!!
My cooking triumphs
The first time I cooked meat and chicken was when I invited the inlaws (and in India this means uncles, aunts and cousins, apart from the immediate family of one's spouse)to dinner as a new bride. It was really gratifying to see them lap it up!
My cooking tragedies
I once tried to make rasgullas (very soft textured Indian sweet made of paneer and immersed in syrup that is totally absored into the paneer balls making them squishy and very soft that turned out rock hard without a drop of syrup penetrating. But not one to be outdone, I washed them in hot water and made a curry - mattar paneer - out of them!