A traditional Indian thali (plate). Photo by Shahoo

Matador intern Neha Puntambekar shares a few kitchen stories and her favorite Indian food blogs.


Most of my life, I hated the kitchen.

Indian kitchens are for women. Cooking, along with assorted kitchen activities, is what women do. Women cook, set up the table, clean up and make chai, while men eat, chat and watch TV.

The kitchen was a cage that I had to stomach just because I was a girl. I decided I’d rather not.

The Hungry Husband Argument

“How will you find a husband if you can’t cook?” concerned aunts asked. When this shattering question didn’t move me, they insisted I (at least) learn how to make soft chapattis and hot curried vegetables. When I did get married there was much exclamation and astonishment in the family. They then made it a priority to pull me aside and offer advice: learn how to make things he likes; don’t let him go hungry; get your act right.

A New Kitchen

Cooking turned from chore to a creative exercise, adventure, a stress buster, a thing we do together. The food may not be as good as that of my mom’s kitchen, but it is full of possibilities and much laughter.

We moved to Croatia soon after. Away from home and other Indian kitchens, my kitchen suddenly turned gender neutral. I no longer had a reason to hate it, but I (we) didn’t know what to do with it either.

The first few weeks we ate out or we ordered in. Then we got bored. Then, there was no other option but to give the kitchen a shot. Of course since we didn’t know how, our first few attempts consisted of boiled vegetable in tomato puree with lots of garam masala, and rice. It tasted awful. We loved it.

Inspired, we decided to figure it out how the damn thing worked.

Six Indian Food Blogs That Taught Me To Cook

That first year, we cooked with the help of anonymous bloggers plus additional help from YouTube and God-bless-Skype. Through them, we stumbled on hidden flavor, finally understood cumin and coriander and uncovered what it meant to ‘salt to taste.’

Cooking turned from chore to a creative exercise, adventure, a stress buster, a thing we do together. The food may not be as good as that of my mom’s kitchen, but it is full of possibilities and much laughter.

I’d like to share with you six of my favorite blogs. They are simple, rich and absolutely yum. If something is cooking in my kitchen it probably started off as a post here:

Awesome Cuisine – This is my go-to Indian food blog. It has everything from food recipes and videos to how-to articles, and I credit it for taking my cooking from atrocious to edible.

Dosa. Photo by InfoMofo

365 days of Pure Vegetarian – I grew up in a vegetarian household, so trust me when I say being vegetarian isn’t all salads, tofu and unhappiness. It so isn’t.

A Mad Tea Party – You know how some food blogs just scream delicious? Anita’s blog is one of them.

Aayi’s Recipes – No matter how much you love Indian food, you can’t eat Tikka Masala every day (seriously kids, don’t try this at home). What you need is simple homemade food like ‘Aayi’s Recipes’ (Mother’s Recipes).

Eat and Dust – When I grow up, I want to live Pamela’s life. Her ‘Eat and Dust’ is more than just a food blog; it’s a space for food adventures, and about the people you meet along the way.

Malabar Spices – I dare you to walk away from this blog.

Right, so my kadhai is making all sorts of the-food-is-cooked noises, I have to run before my lunch spills over. Be sure to let me know what you think of these blogs and the recipes you try out.

COMMUNITY CONNECTION

For more food fun, stop by Matador’s Cooking and Recipes collection.

No time for browsing? Try these recipes to celebrate Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors.