knows the BAWARCHI's Saroj
has been part of the immensely popular website Bawarchi.com (now
Food.Sify.com) since its inception in 1995.
started writing a recipe a day on Bawarchi.com and slowly her fan club
grew with viewers from all from all over the world. Last year she set out
to write and compile her very
first cookbook "Festive
We are proud to feature her as our celebrity Star Chef!
brand new website
has some very simple yet creative vegetarian recipes. Here is a "zhalak"
of her interview with us.
Saroj & continued success!!!
all about her. Here are the categories.
Tell us how
your interest in cooking started and at what age?
I was interested in cooking from a very early age
of twelve. I would love to make and put together my own lunch box
for school. That was when I knew I was in my element when I was in the
the biggest inspirations for your career?
family!!! My BIG family of eight siblings and parents before marriage
and my huge joint family of 15 members after marriage have been my true
inspiration !! They have always been my guinea pigs for my experiments,
and my best critics for the outcome too! Top
What do you
enjoy most about being recognized as gifted Indian culinary artist?
It is my good fortune that I can share this
art over the internet with millions of people esp. Indians abroad (eg.
students, newly weds, etc) who need help and recipes with ordinary
cooking, but have either no one to call back and keep asking or don't
have time to make calls. Top
been your greatest success?
happy family, a great bond with my brothers and sisters. Being recognized
as a good cook,
have been some of my greatest success. Top
What was -
if ever your biggest setback?
of note, really. Coz life has so many bounce back facilities!
you done right that has made your career such a success and brought you
recognition, media attention, and awards?
Maybe it was
grabbing the right opportunity. It always is isn't it ? :) I started
writing a Recipe-a-day for a website call Indiaworld.com or Bawarchi.com
It was a very small section at that time. But slowly the website gained
a lot of traction and did very well. So I do think that being at the
right place at the right time, and persevering on my dreams has made my
simple love for food and cooking a big success..
the tools of the trade you use most?
wooden ladle and a heat proof rubber spatula. I hate scraping noises of
emptying pans, while working in the kitchen. My hands of course ! :)
your favorite kitchen gadgets? Why?
A sharp knife, an electric hand
blender, a small coffee grinder for my masalas: all these gadgets can be
made to multitask.
some of the skills that help all cooks/chefs succeed?
Good ingredients, good extempore
improvisation abilities and good humor :).
taste your recipe before you serve it?
Generally get my husband to do it (why risk
my taste buds :) Top
cuisine do you enjoy the most?
Indian, because I've grown up on it, and the
variety or choices is mindboggling. Top
Indian festival inspires you to cook up a storm? And why?
because the goodies are appreciated by every member of family and
friends, and Holi
because a lot of naughty food with mild intoxicants like
"bhang" are the mainstay of this festival.
was one tip that you would like to share with our audience - what
is your tip for home cooks?
Cooking is far far easier than it seems, so
don't get frazzled by complicated recipes and exotic names.
down to simple steps: the golden rule is one step one line. Find
substitutes for what you cannot find, but don't give up.
Also always start
with simple basics and then move ahead, don't start of with exotic
cuisine, if you do not know you basics.
three of your all time favorite dishes / recipes?
Idli sambar, Chaats
and my very own version of au gratin.
Please submit one
of your favorite and easy recipe for our audience.
1 1/2 cups plain flour
3 tbsp. ghee
1/2 tsp. cardamom powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup khoya
ghee to deep fry
Put khoya in fridge for 30 minutes. Keep there till
Add 1 cup water to sugar and bring to a boil.
Add 2 tbsp. milk to the syrup and remove scum which
comes on top. Or simply strain.
Boil syrup till sticky between finger and thumb.
Cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, add ghee to flour and mix till crumbly.
Add enough warm water to make a medium stiff dough.
Divide into 18-20 parts, and roll into balls.
Roll each into a thin chappati.
First fold in half and then quarter.
Insert a clove at the center to hold all the folds
in hot ghee on low till very light brown.
Drain and keep aside. Repeat for all dough.
Break khoya till coarse crumbs are formed.
Mix cardamom and khoya into the cooled syrup.
Chill syrup. Store triangles in a tight container.
One hour before serving, immerse triangles in the
Take care not to make the crumbs fine, or it will
For serving, place a triangle in the bowl and pour
a spoonful of syrup on top.
Note: Substitute for khoya if unavailable: Cook 1
cup ricotta cheese gently, take off heat, stir in 1/2 cup evaporated
whole milk and mix gently. Cool and use as khoya in most recipes.
from the Expert
anything else you can tell us about yourself, your career, or the
profession that would be interesting or helpful to others aspiring to
enter and succeed as a chef?
After almost 13 years of writing recipes on the net, I have now had the
good fortune of coming out with a cookery book. - Festive Indian Recipes
published by Navneet Publications. So follow your dreams.
What advice can
you give to prospective students thinking about an education and career
in the culinary arts?
in today's world for culinary art are endless, if you're serious,
nothing can stop you from succeeding. Everybody needs food!
can you give to busy working moms as far as cooking a nutritious meal is
Here are a few
good tips to remember.
- Plan sensibly,
organize multitask and use time-saver techniques.
- Don't binge on
takeaways and junk as a habit.
- Make often
required chutneys, pastes, etc. in larger quantities on weekends,
- Balance what
you eat so that you get everything from grains, to veggies, fruit,
dals, starch, sugar. Top
encourage cooking for all – boys and girls and at what age should they
get started? And why?
immaterial of male or female should know at least basics of cooking.
That is the only way one can fend for oneself with nutritious, healthy
food, immaterial of help at home or not, or if you are alone or in
company. Everyone needs food, day in and day out everywhere, no matter
on which part or the earth you are.
favorite food quote is …… Cook
with love .....the
expressions on the faces of those who get to sample your food, will pay
it back many fold. Top
hope you enjoyed the interview. For more Star Chefs go here.