• Kajal

My Kitchen Pantry Story

Spices are magical ingredients that have the ability to transform a dish from ordinary into extraordinary. Spices are big, bold and making you feel alive.

Pimping up the pantry is something I learnt from a very young age. It was job delegated to me- It was mums way of teaching patience by demanding shining jars! She would say every jar must shine until you can see your reflection! I used to dread such jobs but I wouldn’t dare let my mum down ❤️

Such memories bring back love from my mummy and memories of my childhood.

I was lucky 🍀 enough to experience this and understand the value of spices, and how a single ingredient can create a delicious results. I was lucky enough to eat freshly cooked meals every day prepared by my mother. We were lucky enough to have come from a generation with a tradition of staying in, and eating together rather the eating out. The experimental recipes created by my elder sisters to impress my mother was a joy to see. As a child, food cooked by my mum was what I regarded as a norm 😃

I got married at 17, so the early years of my cooking lessons from my mum and sisters helped a lot. Marrying in a family with all foodies, raised demand of my cooking skills and I continued to learn and better myself. I remember the first thing my sisters helped me do when I moved into my new home was create a pantry 😆 They argued between them on what jars they should buy, to create space in my store room and make sure everything was labelled so it was easy for me to learn and progress quicker with my cooking skills. I must say, my confidence grew in culinary and using spices after my marriage, as I had to start cooking for bigger number of people and I was lucky enough to have been surrounded by amazing people who always appreciated my trial and error in the kitchen 😅

I still remember cooking meals to serve half the estate and having to then distribute it amongst neighbours because my young mind couldn't believe a cup of lentil when cooking Dhal was enough to feed five people.

I had my first child at the age of 18 and there after I had three more, so life got busy between everyone growing up, including mine and I got busy brushing up my skills as a young mother. I enchanted myself to all that was advised to me, be it from my mother, sisters, ex-husband, aunty's or my mother in-law. I took on board everyone's recipes, advice or guidance as I wanted to bring the best of the diet into my home. I created dishes that were uplifting and full of nourishment for my family. As a wife, as a mother, as daughter and a daughter in-law, I felt it was duty to bring the best of nourishment to the dinner table making sure everyone received the world of goodness through their belly into their minds. That is how we were trained to believe from young age.

My house was full on. Be it a weekend or a weekday. There was never a dull moment in my kitchen. I got well trained cooking for tonnes of people as it became a ritual of "Psychic Cooking" estimating the uninvited guest that would walk through every lunch time or for afternoon tea or be it dinner. This was the time when mummy's or mother in-laws years of experienced recipes like making a quick instant dhokra's (steamed savoury cakes made out of chickpea flour) making use of left over rice in making muthia (steamed dumplings made out of left over rice, any root grated vegetable with mixed flours and added green spices), rasawara muthia (dumplings cooked in yougurt sauce), pudla's (chickpea pancakes) or the best of all Khichi (a spicy dough/mash cooked with rice and lentil flour) all came handy!

My cooking changed as I grew confident in my own cooking. I started experimenting my traditional taught skills to adopting modern skills and blending them to making my own version of food. After my mother cancer diagnoses, I think everything changed in my kitchen and that off my other family member's. Traditional experiences with the nutritional knowledge and been given the opportunity by my mother to help us find the possible zen between living a life with cancer and how to be able to survive with a quality was a blessing.

Twenty eight years in my own kitchen experimenting food for health and wellbeing has taught me many things besides believing in cooking with pleasure and being adventures. The reason I teach Indian cooking with a healthy twist and making it exciting by bringing flavours in my food from around the world and introducing the "so called" super foods has been a real game changer. I have had clients coming to learn food in my kitchen from across the globe choosing to take several classes for a one to one sessions to get the best out of my life's experience in the kitchen.

I kept one thing in mind through the years of self teaching. Words from my mother “The best recipes only taste the best because they are filled with the most important ingredients called emotions. Emotions filled with Love, precious food memories and happy meal time stories.”

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