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Experiment with food with three inspiring recipes that will ensure a perfect start to the Diwali season
A deliciously savoury vegetarian snack, a richly textured non-vegetarian entrée and an innovative mouth-watering dessert—three chefs with three distinct styles have your feasting options covered this festive season. So watch—and learn—about celebrating in the best way possible!
Under the online alias as Masterchefmom, Uma Raghuraman started on her cooking journey with the end goal of feeding her two kids healthy yet tasty food. It garnered her a huge following, among them moms looking to make healthy food that was also exciting and palatable for kids. Currently there are close to 1,000 recipes on her blog, Masterchefmom.
The beginnings: “In 2014, when I quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom, I started sharing the dishes I created in my kitchen to the world through Facebook. It was a huge hit and many wanted me to share detailed recipes, the process and stories behind the dishes. This culminated in me starting my blog where I would share recipes of everyday Indian dishes with easy steps to cook them from scratch accompanied by pictures for every step.”
A landmark moment: “Launching my YouTube channel during Diwali last year and publishing my cookbook, My Genius Lunchbox, with Penguin India this year.”
The cuisine that’s most enjoyable to cook—and to eat: “I love to cook south Indian recipes and love to eat north Indian dishes and street food, and chaat.”
A personal favourite: “I love to experiment; one such recipe is the Strawberry Chutney. It was chosen as the most creative dish cooked and presented and I was chosen as the winner of the Netflix Chef’s Table Contest, through which I got the opportunity to visit Los Angeles.”
A must-have dish for festive occasions: “Indian festivals are incomplete without sweets and savouries. Any type of kheer or halwa often features in my menu.”
Gramming and blogging outreach: “My journey has been entirely through the digital space, starting with Facebook, building my blog, sharing pictures on Instagram and now showing them live on YouTube. I never realised how impactful it is, until my book was launched over the internet.”
Cooking mantra: “Being real, simple and original. The dishes I cook should be simple and tasty at the same time wholesome and that can be easily replicated by my followers.”
Find out how she makes a delicious festive appetiser to set the tone for your festivities.
Preparation time: 5–7 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Special vessel: Iron kadai, murukku press, sieve
(1 cup = 250 ml)
1. 1 cup (250 ml) gram flour/besan
2. 1.5 tbsp rice flour
3. 1 tsp unsalted butter (room temperature)
4. 1 tsp carom seeds/ajwain (lightly roast and powder finely)
5. A pinch of asafoetida powder
6. Salt to taste
7. Oil for frying
1. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl, add butter and mix well.
2. Pour water little by little and make a loose dough. (Tip: The water quantity approximately ¼ cup).
3. Grease the murukku press with butter.
4. Fill it with the omapodi batter.
5. Heat oil, and wait for it to heat up to the right temperature. (Tip: Drop a small piece of batter in oil and if it sizzles and
comes up instantly, reduce flame and start to fry the omapodi)
6. Press the murukku press over the oil and move your hand in a circular motion in the clockwise direction. (Tip: Two circular
movements would be ideal so that the batter cooks through easily)
7. Once the sizzle stops, drain the omapodi on a kitchen towel.
8. Repeat the process for the rest of the batter.
Follow Masterchefmom for more delicious and healthy recipes:
You can get your copy of Uma Raghuraman’s first cookbook, My Genius Lunch Box, at the nearest bookstore or order online from Amazon or Flipkart.
Dental surgeon turned food blogger with an enviable fan following, Neha Mathur has nurtured her blog WhiskAffair for the last eight years with a vision to help people experience food in the best possible way, provide an opportunity to get into, and enjoy, cooking, and use the best ingredients to help you fall in love with food.
The beginnings: “I’ve had a passion for cooking since my childhood but I got into seriously blogging about it in 2012. Over the years, I’ve perfected many recipes to help my readers truly experience food.”
A landmark moment: “Many people have been cooking at home lately and my blog WhiskAffair clocked in 3.5 million people in April this year. It was an awesome experience to be able to reach out to so many people.”
The dish that’s most widely appreciated: “My Tilapia recipe is liked by thousands of people each month.”
The cuisine that’s most enjoyable to cook—and to eat: “All kinds, including Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian, American and continental. I also cook both vegetarian, non-vegetarian recipes, healthy and indulgent recipes and recipes for various dietary needs.”
Gramming and blogging outreach: “The internet has helped me reach viewers and readers in every city and country of the world. I get so much feedback about how WhiskAffair helped them get a perfect recipe. This is what makes my journey so interesting and successful.”
Cooking mantra: “I try and taste every recipe on WhiskAffair before sharing it on the blog. I want to make cooking easy so I design step-by-step recipes using easily available ingredients and equipment.”
We offer you a chance to incorporate Chef Neha Mathur’s perfectly sumptuous Malai Chicken Masala into your festive menu this Diwali. So get cooking!
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
1. 1 kg chicken (curry cut)
2. 2 tbsp hung yoghurt
3. 1 tbsp lemon juice
4. 2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
5. 2 tsp salt
6. 1 tsp garam masala powder (for the curry)
7. 2 tbsp oil
8. 2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
9. 3–4 cloves
10 5-6 black peppercorns
11. 1 and ½ cups onion (chopped)
12. 2 green chillies (slit into half)
13. 100 ml fresh cream
14. ½ cup milk
15 1 pinch saffron strands
16. ½ tsp cardamom powder
17. ½ tsp white pepper powder
18. 2 tbsp kasuri methi (crushed)
19. 2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
20. ½ tsp garam masala (for the marinate)
21. ½ cup fried onion
1. Mix hung curd, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, salt and
the ½ tsp garam masala powder in a bowl.
2. Add in the chicken pieces and mix well.
3. Cover the bowl with a cling film and refrigerate for up to
4. Heat oil and ghee in a pan.
5. When the oil is hot, add the cloves and black peppercorns.
6. Add onion and the green chillies and fry till the onion
7. Now add the marinated chicken along with the marinade and cook on high heat for 5–6 minutes till the chicken is slightly
browned and the raw smell is gone.
8. Add 1 cup water and cover and cook until chicken is done.
9. Add cream, milk, saffron strands, cardamom powder, white pepper powder, red chilli powder, garam masala powder and
fenugreek leaves and cook for another 2 minutes.
10. Garnish with crushed fried onions and serve hot.
A passion for cooking was all the impetus that Karishma Sakhrani needed to give up her career in business development. In 2015, she ventured into uncharted territory by jumping into the deep end of cooking—as one of the contestants on the fourth season of MasterChef India in 2015. That set her on her current journey as food influencer, consultant to restaurants and travel and wellness enthusiast.
The beginnings: “My quest for living healthier got me into the kitchen so that I could ensure what I was eating was clean yet delicious.”
A landmark moment: “Everything changed for me in 2015 after I finished as a finalist on MasterChef India. That’s when I took to cooking full-time and started consulting with restaurants in addition to sharing recipes and food stories on Instagram.”
The dish that’s most widely appreciated: “My latest hit has been my vegan rendition of a poké bowl, which I created for my menu at Atom Box, a Mumbai-based delivery kitchen. The exciting element here is the ‘watermelon toon-a’—I’ve created by slowly dehydrating watermelon to mimic the texture and look of tuna.”
The cuisine that’s most enjoyable to cook—and to eat: “Anything healthy but mostly I enjoy working with Middle Eastern and Asian flavours. I have a long-standing love affair with pizza. And wine!”
Inspirations: Chef Vikas Khanna is a true inspiration in every way—his food, his journey, his personality. I’m also a huge Yotam Ottolenghi fan. My cooking style is so much like his.”
A personal favourite: “My vegan hazelnut mousse! It’s so creamy, so delicious and so very healthy.”
A must-have dish for festive occasions: “You can never go wrong with a classic phirni.”
Gramming and blogging outreach: “I love the internet for how it has made so much more possible. There’s so much inspiration to gather. There are so many platforms for creatives to express themselves. And lastly, it’s such a beautiful way to connect with like-minded people from around the world.”
Cooking mantra: “Creative, fresh, fun—and beautiful to look at!”
With Diwali just around the corner, this unusual dessert prepared by Sakhrani is sure to add some innovation to your flavourful feast!
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
1. 200 gm white chocolate
2. ¼ tsp sea salt
3. ¼ tsp cardamom powder
4. ½ cup desiccated coconut
5. ½ cup toasted and crushed almonds
6. 2 tbsp butter
7. Toasted flaked coconut, for rolling
1. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler.
2. Add the sea salt and cardamom and combine.
3. Next, add the desiccated coconut and almonds. Mix thoroughly.
4. Add the butter and roll in to equal-sized balls.
5. Roll the balls in toasted coconut flakes.
6. Finally, remember to share it with someone you love.
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