Indian Food, Spices & Recipes in the Foodiesphere
Indian cooking fans! Welcome to Lassi with Lavina’s brand new blog which flies you to quite another universe – Foodiesphere! The Internet has unleashed thousands and thousands of food blogs, all dedicated to good eats and good cooks. Each has a different agenda and different strengths so we thought we’d scout out the best ones for our readers and share some very special, personalized recipes with you. Each week a new blog – and a new passionate food blogger! Meet Alka Keswani of Sindhi Rasoi
Alka shares some very authentic, typical home recipes for vegetarian Sindhi food which have been made by grandmas and mothers for decades. Sindh is the lost homeland of hundreds of thousands of Hindu Sindhis who had to flee as refugees in the Partition of 1947, and their food, culture and language are the anchors they hold on to.
“My father was just a few years old when the partition happened, so he has very faint memories of that era,” says Alka. “Hence all I can say is that it was a traumatic period for Hindu Sindhis, and though we all have moved on, the nostalgic memories of the past still remain in the hearts of our elders, especially my husband’s grandparents. And we know how painful the memories are…their misty eyes say it all when they talk about the sweet, simple life of Sindh.”
Most of the recipes Alka shares are from her mother who made sure that all her children learned to cook food the correct way, guiding them every step of the way. The dishes we’ve selected are typical vegetarian Sindhi fare which you will not find in any other ethnic cuisine in India or in any restaurant. Do try out these recipes and visit Alka’s Sindhi Rasoi for very special dishes from appetizers to dessert. It will be like stepping into the kitchen of a Sindhi family and sharing an intimate meal.
For Alka, blogging has had an added bonus – it’s brought the family closer together. Her husband, Deepak, a technical architect, is savvy with computers and runs several websites dedicated to the Sindhi community on music, books, movie and even online Sindhi radio. She says, “It was Deepak who created the website for me, who taught me how to post and publish, how to click pictures…everything…everything I owe to my rock-solid supportive husband!”
Well, looks like the way to a man’s heart and technical wizardry is surely through his stomach!
On the Menu: Recipes For Mirchi Pakora Chaat, Seyal Bhee and Macaroni Phoolpatasha on pages 2, 3, 4.
7 Questions for Alka of Sindhi Rasoi
1. Why did you decide to start a food blog and how long has it been on?
Well to begin with, although I started cooking when I was still in school, managing a full fledged kitchen after marriage, cooking all the meals on my own was very intimidating. So while searching for fool-proof recipes online, one thing that bothered me was that there was no dedicated website to learn Sindhi cooking.
In the ocean of recipes on cuisines of the world, Sindhi recipes were nowhere in sight in the virtual world. That prompted me to come up with SindhiRasoi.com, a website dedicated to Sindhi Cuisine. It has been three and half years since then. After nearly 175 exclusively Sindhi recipes published, food blogging still remains a passion for me.
2. What’s the special something about your food blog?
The fact that it’s the only food blog that features typical, traditional, authentic and homestyle Sindhi recipes does make it special, at least for those who now have a home away from home. Their craving for Sindhi food can be satisfied by turning to my blog. I share fairly simple recipes, with no exotic ingredient list, simple to follow cooking instructions, helpful tips, and the food pictures to give an idea about the texture and look of the final dish.
3. What are the kind of recipes you feature?
The blog strictly features Vegetarian recipes from Sindhi cuisine, ranging from simple snacks like Dal sandwich to popular ones like Ragda Pattise; from the pride of Sindhi cuisine, the traditional Sindhi Kadhi, koki, Saibhaji, to the innovative Vegetarian fish (Made from Arbi). Be it authentic Aur Jo ras or Seyal bhee, or traditional sweet Varo and Khus khus jo seero, Sindhi Rasoi is the only website where you can find all Sindhi recipes at one place.
4. What have you gained from having this blog?
When I decided to start this blog, I never thought, even in my wildest dreams, that my passion will bring along so much of adulation, recognition and happiness! In the past three years or so, I have made so many friends in the blogging community, and found so many well-wishers.
There are people who send me mails with blessings. I’ve come across so many newly-weds as well as bachelors who are away from their families and who vouch for Sindhi Rasoi. Apart from petty financial gains through ads, the love, respect and appreciation from fellow Sindhis and the media recognition thrills me and my family.
5. Do you plan to take Sindhi Rasoi commercial?
Yes, in a way. Publishing a Sindhi cookbook is the next thing that’s on our minds. So we are looking around for a good publishing house and working on the minute details to come up with perfect Sindhi recipes for the Cookbook. Keeping our fingers crossed!
6. Any fun anecdote about the blogging and cooking life?
Yes, many small incidents that bring a smile to our faces, such as people asking where is our restaurant, and people assuming that I am a chef ! Then there are housewives seeking ‘admission’ to my ‘cooking classes’ which they assume I might be running.
People also call, hoping to ‘place orders’ for Sindhi Buffet/ lunch for their family get together or ceremonies. They even go to the extent of demanding that the food must look the way it is shown in pictures! Also, I once received an e-mail from a person in Geneva who was hell bent on opening a Sindhi restaurant there, in association with SindhiRasoi.
7. What you do in ‘real’ life, away from the foodiesphere?
Honestly speaking, I am a not a go-getter type. I like it when life moves on without deadlines. My family is my top most priority and I hardly socialize in person. Like a typical mother, my life revolves around my child. My mornings kick start with packing tiffin for my son, and sending him off to school, and the day ends with putting him to sleep.
In between, amidst the mundane daily chores, I love to blog about the food, rant about anything and everything on Facebook, hop around other food blogs and connect online with hundreds of dear readers of my blog, replying their queries, gaining knowledge about their homestyle food, sharing tips, and clearing doubts.
I am neither a party person, nor a travel freak, so among the few fun things that we as a family do, the best are cooking, baking and enjoying good food together. My son shows keen interest in baking, and happily joins me in the baking adventures. He can also bake a fairly decent chocolate cake, provided, I line up all the ingredients required!
Let me share some good old Sindhi Recipes here. I hope you all will like these. (Recipes on Pages 2, 3 and 4)