Founder of maayeka.blogspot.com
Anjana Chaturvedi, a 47-year old mother of two, from Uttar Pradesh, India, is the author of the blog Maayeka – which translates to a girl’s mothers home in English – and has lived in Dubai for the last 27 years. While Anjana loves cooking for her family on a daily basis, she also loves unwinding with a good novel and reading various food blogs.
About the blog
My daughter got married recently, and her incessant phone calls to me for recipes and tips made me realise that I should create a collection of recipes online, so that not only can other people enjoy and try out the selection of recipes, but also future generations in my family will be have access to them. I realised that this way, my grandchildren would have recipes from their grandmother’s personal cookbook, and be able to get a feel of what my cooking was like. One thing led to another, and in November 2011, Maayeka was born. It is now a portal for home chefs all over the world, and I absolutely love answering reader’s cookery queries every day. On the blog you will find a cuisine called ‘Saatvik’ –which is basically vegetarian cooking without the use of onions and garlic. This style of cooking is prescribed in Ayurveda and originates from specific communities in India. Restaurants and eateries of this cuisine are hard to come by in the UAE, which is why I like to include these recipes on the blog, so that people can try it at home.
Definitely my mother and grandmothers. The food I blog about isn’t gourmet cuisine, it is simple, comfort food that anybody can cook, without the need specialty store ingredients – and this is the food they taught me to cook.
Kitchen gadget I can’t live without
A hand blender! It is definitely a kitchen essential.
Favourite food memory
As a child, I remember watching my grandmother make huge quantities of lemon zest pickles and potato and lentil wafers, during the summer months in India. They were so delicious!
I cook with...
A sense of smell – I always use this to guide myself while cooking.
What I miss about India
The delicious food available at roadside shacks (dhabas) in North India.
Top cooking tips
*Never cook in a hurry! Cook in a relaxed mood and with love, and the food will always turn out good.
*Always use seasonal ingredients. Off-season and non-local ingredients may look great, but seldom taste fresh – even though they are available at supermarkets throughout the year.
*Asafoetida is a significant spice in Indian cooking. It has a strong smell when raw – however when added to hot oil, with other dry spices, it gives out a lovely aroma, and smells the exact opposite of what it is when raw.
I’d love to dine with...
Martin Yan from the TV show ‘Yan can cook’ – the first cookery show I ever watched. I would make a baked dessert, since anything that involves chopping could invite some disappointing looks by Yan (we all know how good he was at that!).
Poha (flattened rice with spices), pineapple salsa sandwiches, sooji dhokla (savoury semolina cakes), or stuffed parathas.