Meet the Chef NA. Indian cuisine encompasses a wide range of regional flavors and reflects a 5,000 year old history of various groups and cultures. Which region do you think influences your cooking the most? AD. Since I am originally from Goa and grew up in the State of Gujarat, my cooking is certainly influenced by both; Goan for meats and seafood, and Gujarati for vegetarian dishes with lentils, grains and green vegetables. Furthermore, having traveled extensively in India while growing up and as an adult today, I have enjoyed regional cuisines which also influence my cooking. As a result, I offer menus from all over India in my classes. My philosophy is to cook quick easy healthy and delicious Indian meals.
NA. Given the diversity in soil, climate, culture, and available spices between America and India, how do your dishes compare in flavor?
Authentic Indian Cooking Classes –with a delicious sit-down meal
here’s a unique makeup of Indian Cuisine that appeals across the margins of ethnicity. More specifically recipes that contain curry, cayenne, green pepper, coriander and even garam masala are widely sought after. Encompassing a wide regional variety of flavors – from fragrant curries to tandoori-grilled meats – Indian cuisine ranks among the top 5 favorites in the world. And it’s no wonder why Ayesha D’Mello, founder of Ayesha’s Kitchen, a local wife and mother of two turned chef, who teaches healthy home style Indian cooking from home, packs her weekend classes with new and more often than not repeat students seeking to learn more about this plethora of flavors. “To me, good food is one of life’s great joys and is a shared pleasure at the heart of family life and special celebrations,” explains D’Mello. “Taking one of my classes is a great way to travel to India without leaving the kitchen!” Natural Awakenings had the opportunity to ask D’Mello a few questions about this craving for traditional authentic Indian cooking. 20
AD. Although soil and climate do have an influence on foods, locally procuring Indian ingredients and spices to cook Indian food does not fall short of the flavors you get in India. I tend to cook healthy without compromising on the authentic flavors. I emphasize on cooking with organic ingredients and all the spices are ground fresh. My dishes take you on a mystical journey through the legacy of authentic Indian traditional cuisine, translating into a rich experience where everyday meals can be a grand celebration in the realms of your own home.
NA. It is said that many of the customs and flavors of Indian cuisine are influenced by religious and cultural traditions. Are the combination of spices you use in your recipes generationally passed down, your creations, influenced, or a little of everything?