1. Were you a foodie since childhood?
A big time foodie. Cannot deny that anyway, my childhood pictures make it very clearly apparently. I learnt cooking basic things quite early on partly to help my mom since her work usually involved morning work shifts. So, I started handling cooking equipment and ingredients quite early on. And since 90s childhood in India did not have happening cookery shows like today, I would read a lot of books. I am sure a young teen sitting in a public library with a Good House Keeping propped up on the table would be a very amusing scene, but well, extreme curiosity for food started to show up in me pretty early. I would look up a lot of weird sounding cooking terminology in the dictionary. My first practical cooking experiment was making Maggi with a lot of random stuff added to it, which I fed my mom and my extremely patient neighbors and friends. I don’t remember exactly what went into it but I am sure it was a mess because I added all the sauces I had in the fridge into one pot of Maggi from tomato ketchup to soy chili sauce! Also, people were pretty encouraging and sporting to kids in those days, so thankfully nobody really complained.
2. There should be some specialty for each & every state. If I say Tamilnadu we have different region/district specific foods, we love to eat spicy foods. Likewise what is that special quality of Gujarati food?
Gujaratis live to eat, no kidding! Our festivals more centered around feasting than fasting. And while that is a very common trait, we Gujaratis are unapologetically fond of a lot of variety on the plate. A Gujarati Thali would be as wide ranged in terms of variety as the traditional Onam Sadya, but we won’t be satisfied. “Aur dekhao, aur dekhao!” like that recent Amazon advertisement!
We use jaggery and sugar in a lot of vegetables curries and savories and so people have a misconception that Gujarati food is sweet. While sugar does make its presence felt, it’s more to balance out the salty and sour tastes. So, Gujarati food is more rainbow like in terms of the 6 tastes.
3. Who is your inspiration in your family when it comes to cooking?
Like probably every Indian girl, it was mostly my mom who influenced my cooking style. While I did not really pick up nuances of cooking while growing up, I started to appreciate her cooking style more and more after I started cooking. Before I got married it was mostly about being her helping hand, working with a completely stocked pantry and meals planned before.
4. In a fast moving day to day life people are not focusing on healthy breakfasts. I like the way you make scrumptious breakfast most of the days. Tell us something about how & when did you get the idea of #100HappyBreakfasts ?
Until March 2015, I wasn’t aware of the wonders of Instagram since I used a Windows Phone with a pretty primitive OS that did not support the app. It was more like a fantasy land. Then, I moved to Android platform and like a kid let loose in Disneyland, I was overwhelmed by the sheer awesomeness of it. I saw a lot of people doing 100-day or 365-day photo projects on all sorts of a theme. Also, while I was in high school, my mom would not let me step out of the house without eating a hot, freshly prepared breakfast and that would mean having sprouts, Dhoklas or Theplas made from different vegetables everyday at 5:30 in the morning.
I used to have a long day, like every Indian kid in High School, involving coaching sessions before school, then school hours and then some more. My mom usually made a fresh, hot breakfast every morning and I was missing that healthy routine a lot. For me, sometimes the kind of breakfast I eat makes or break my day. I was still dipping toes into the unknown waters of Instagram and so I thought, what better a theme to start with than #100happybreakfasts!
5. When I look at your pics of Idli Sambar or Oothapam it exactly looks like the one prepared in a SouthIndian’s home. How do you achieve that perfection?
Believe me, learning to figure out the correct temperature of dosa tava is no less difficult than calculating the escape velocity of a space shuttle!
All of these come to you after failing again and again. And I would stalk every single person and resource I could access for information when disaster would strike. I am extremely lucky to have people holding my hands and helping me after every failure, online and offline. My colleagues, friends, and online buddies have very patiently been guiding me and even today, I am full of questions every time I see a new dish! And above all, I think the God of Food is probably the most forgiving deity I have met. Even when I have bungled up the shape and texture of idlis and dosas, the Gods have ensured that its edible and my husband and I don’t have to go to bed hungry every night! Well, the record is not totally spotless because sometimes, Pizzas have been ordered amidst some tears and wails! 😉 😉
6. Apart from the food I love the way you share your experiences, genuine food memories associated with. I personally feel that you are a gifted writer. Do you love writing?
Secretly I have always wanted to be a book reviewer! I wish that was true, I could just read books all day for a living and not move an inch from my couch! 😀
Well, gifted or not, I am frequently guilty of lapsing to long monologues, verbal and written. My parents tell me that I started speaking way before the normal age for toddlers and haven’t shut up since then. Now that I don’t live under the same roof, they probably would have recovered from some of the damage I have inflicted upon their hearing capabilities and mental well being! 😀 😀
On a serious note, I find that writing down my thoughts as an outlet for the expression of all my emotions, happy as well as sad. And often, when I write a caption, try put catch phrases from other bloggers and Instagrammers that I find witty and interesting. And like Albus Dumbledore had told Harry Potter, “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” Sorry for the Harry Potter reference, but I am addicted to the books with no hope of recovering in future!
7. I envy your clean, crystal clear food pictures. There will be no mess around it and the focus will only be on food. It conveys what you are exactly trying to say. Even in morning rush how do you click such awesome pictures? Do you use vsco to edit it? I admire the tone of your pics too
8. What is your source of learning Srujan? From the pics you have shared, I understand that you love to read food memoirs. Till now what is your favorite cook book or food blog?
I rely equally on both cookbooks and food blogs. The reason is, for recipes that I intended to make at regular intervals, I love the convenience of a cookbook which is a ready reference for the ingredients and their proportion. I find it easier than doing a Google Search for the recipe that I have visited a few weeks or months ago.
However, the food blogs and Social Media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are a great source of new ideas. I remember yours was one of the accounts I started following when I joined Instagram. Then, thanks to Instagram’s recommendation algorithm, within a few weeks, I ended up following a lot of amazing people you interact and follow. And I formed some of the warmest e-friendships since them. And no matter what people say about social media platforms, that is only about likes, followers, and stuff, by God’s Grace ( and some very warm people like you, Rekha! ) I have only received and reciprocated good vibes, inspiration and smiles on these platforms. Now that I think of it, no wonder I want to learn to cook South Indian cuisines,
a (wo)man eventually becomes the company (s)he keeps!
Now if I start naming all you wonderful people here, the answer will stretch a long long way. So, instead, I will just say that all these wonderful friends have not only enlightened me on a lot of scrumptious and soul comforting good food, but they have also taught me how to be a better person and trade nothing but smiles! <3 <3
9. Tell about the food scene in Bangalore now? What are the places one should not miss when visiting bangalore?
Oh my god, where do I even start with! Well, everyone will tell you about the legendary places like Vidhyarthi Bhavan ( Butter loaded thick Masala Dosai and Kharabath ), MTR ( Rava Idlis, Masala Dosai, Meals, Fruit Salad with Icecream… everything! ) and so on. So, those are standard and well-recommended places.
10. I hardly see any greasy foods in your feed. Is it a concious decision to eat healthy? Also I used to love your weekly meal plans. Do you still plan your meals ahead?
11. Apart from the food pics I am a very big fan of Quilling Art. Share something about that hobby as well..
Thank you so much Srujan for taking your time to answer these questions. They were genuine, informative and gave a great insight about you. Keep inspiring us through your food, words and art.
Alternatively you can check out her blog for recipes,book reviews etc