This passionate cook aims to challenge misconceptions about Indian cuisine with her collection of healthy recipes
How did you become passionate about cooking healthy Indian recipes?
My interest started with my own health and digestion issues. I used to try different diets in order to lose weight and then, with all the low fat foods, didn’t realise how much sugar I was having. It all worsened my digestion of course. Eventually, while travelling and living abroad, I ventured into the world of yoga and around the same time, started to understand my body and nutrition a little better, realising that my home cooked food I had grown up eating is what I really needed. In the process of learning the recipes from my grandmother, mother and aunts, I started experimenting and creating my own dishes and recipes.
What do you hope people will get from your book ‘Saffron Soul’?
I firstly want people to realise how easy it is to make Indian food at home, secondly that the spice box can be used for everyday food and not just for curries and daals, and lastly that Indian food can be light and flavourful, that it need not be heavy as we have always perceived it to be.
What are your most memorable moments of cooking?
Large family feasts that are always more fun than stressful – we’re all heating and cooking everything fresh, me trying to help or preparing my own salad dish, coaxing my grandmother to sit and enjoy the feast with everyone rather than be in the kitchen. There’s lots of conversation, laughter and noise and my nephews are running around playing and messing.
Which appliance do you use most in the kitchen and why?
Definitely my Vitamix. I use it for smoothies, soups, when I’m making my Saffron lime cheesecake from my book – blending together all the soaked cashews as it’s vegan – and for sauces and salad dressings.
Where are your favourite places you have travelled to and why?
India has to be my favourite – it’s also become a kind of second home. I’ve spent a lot of time in Mumbai and just love going back. I recently collaborated with a restaurant out there, curating a new menu, which was super fun. I also love travelling to the Far East, it’s so easy to find delicious tasty vegetarian food.
How do you keep yourself feeling happy and healthy, and what advice would you give to other people about finding the right balance?
I do a lot of yoga but also go to the gym and do a weights class now and again. Walking and getting fresh air is also important, and breathing deeply and mindfully in yoga has helped me a lot. So whether or not you do yoga, deep breathing and breathing practices are important. I think the right balance is different for each person and it’s just a matter of trying different things and seeing what suits you best. Whatever makes you feel good and pushes you a little – do that. Eating well and eating fresh food, cooked vegetables, fruits and having a varied diet with the grains and milks that work best for your body is also key to having a happy gut and keeping those energy levels up.
What are your goals for the future?
I’m starting to work on the concept for a second book soon, doing lots more filming for my YouTube channel and more collaborations with restaurants in London and India. I also love doing supper clubs and yoga brunches and want to do more of that.
Photos by: Nassima Rothacker
Article by: Lucy Macdonald