During her recent visit to Toronto, we had a chance to catch up with food personality Anjali Pathak over scrumptiously flavourful dishes at one of Toronto’s favourite fusion Indian restaurants, Pukka.
Anjali was born into a food loving family and like many South Asian kids; her fondest memories are based around the kitchen with her mom. Today Anjali wears many hats which sees her acting as a culinary trailblazer; cookbook author, curator of the Flavour Diaries, a unique event space in Mumbai and Patak’s ambassador.
Watch Anjali Talk about her mom above in her video
Anjali grew up with good food at home and her family is the main reason she continues works in the food industry. She was always keen on food and as she moved out of her parents’ home (and kitchen!), Anjali knew she wanted to keep food in her life. Her journey started in her home kitchen because of her mom but has ended up where it is now because of the opportunities she has sought out coupled with the opportunities her family has brought her way.
This busy lady is driven by her mission to make Indian food more accessible to people around the world. Her takes on classic dishes bring them into the modern times by infusing international flavours and stepping away from the rich cream bases. In fact, her new cookbook is “all about modern ways to introduce spice to your life”. Her mom makes an awesome Chicken Marsala which would turn up on the Sunday lunch menu on a monthly basis and Anjali has taken that dish and made it a bit more accessible for us modern day cooks.
Don’t worry, the new version has her mom’s seal of approval! This recipe is an ode to her mom and is one of 120 recipes included in her new cookbook ‘The Indian Family Kitchen: Classic Dishes for the New Generation’. Other recipes that jump out at me include the Tadka Dahl, Drunken Chicken and slow-roast spiced lamb.
Having perused through the cookbook, I can definitely attest to the fact that no one in my family would complain if I were to go on a mission to cook one dish on a daily basis! The recipes are not only easy to follow but they also seem easy enough to make as there’s rarely a call out for complicated processes or additional steps that seem to accompany many classic dishes.
As we were parting, I couldn’t help but ask Anjali, “How can women empower themselves to get out of the daily cooking rut?”
“Get organized” is what she said! “Have all the ingredients and spices set up, do some research, build a repertoire of recipes and have an arsenal of favourites that are easy to fall back on. Slow cookers are fantastic for families as it makes life ever so easy and you can easily add some quick sides that can be easily whipped up.” However, don’t forget that “If you don’t put love into a dish, you can taste it!”
I’m off to go try my hand at Anjali’s coconut & ginger cheesecake and her pomegranate & ricotta frozen yogurt.
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