My Culinary Journey

There are two types of people – people who eat to live and people who live to eat. I obviously belong to the second category. For me cooking is therapy. It gives me as much pleasure as reading and writing. Give me a good kitchen and a well stocked library, I will be the happiest. Family barbecue nights are my idea of spending quality time with family. I bond with my friends over food (ALL my friends will vouch for this). I cook when I am happy, I cook and eat more when I am sad. Being appreciated for a dish I experimented with lifts my mood instantly.

With so much love for good vegetarian food, I was not born with this love for cooking. My love for cooking was limited to helping my grandmother make Diwali sweets, chopping vegetables for my mom or aunt, or cooking for my self and my siblings when we did not like food at home. I never liked cooking normal dal chawal. It was always something different; Pizza with a noodles topping (I know its weird), sandwich with a aalu tikki filling, or the most famous pav bhaji sandwich.

Real cooking started when I went to Cardiff for my studies. It is extremely difficult to find pure veg food outside India (esp on a student budget). Finally love for food and a wonderful kitchen, took over the boredom for cooking dal chawal. I decided to reinvent the daily food. There has been no looking back since then. I had four wonderful friends who were more than happy to eat and appreciate whatever I made.

I also met a couple of lovely people who taught me how wonderful Mediterranean and Continental vegetarian food can taste.

Be it my dad and brother eating and appreciating the burnt cakes I baked as a school kid, or my friends eating the disaster jalebis I made, each one of them have encouraged and inspired me to cook and try out new things always.

They say Moms are the best cooks in the world and I have been fortunate to have learnt from lot of moms. My mom, grandmom, mom-in-law, my friends’ moms and my aunt. They are all wonderful cooks who have been cooking for more than 40 years now.

This is the story of my culinary journey – I am Monika Sharma. I am a Marwadi, born and brought up in Hyderabad, studied in the UK, married to a Gujarati, worked in Bangalore and now living in Singapore and sharing all the recipes I have loved throughout this journey.