Blogger Interview Series Part 4 – Sharmila

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After an wonderful response to the Top 7 Bengali Food Blogs post, we decided on interviewing the authors of these very popular blogs. This post is the fourth in Blogger Interview Series. If you have missed the first three interviews, click on the following links:

  1. Jayashree Mandal of Spice and Curry
  2. Bong Mom of Bong Mom’s CookBook
  3. Indrani of Appayan

About Sharmila

Sharmila started her blog, Kichukhon in December 2006, though she started blogging regularly since 2008. Her blog is an ode to her father, who as she says in her own words “loves good food”. In her blog, Sharmila writes about recipes without sticking to any particular type of cuisine, but also blogs about traditional Bengali food. Here’s an insight of the maker of the wonderful Bengali food blog, Kichukhon.

What inspires you to write a food blog?

Initially it was all those wonderful food blogs on the web.

Later I started to get requests for particular recipes or guidance regarding a recipe, from sincere readers.
That inspires me to keep going.

Who had been your inspiration for cooking?

Actually nobody.
Cooking, for me, was a necessity after I got married. It is only after a lot of disasters that I can say I enjoy cooking today. 🙂

Who was and is your greatest support(s) for this blog?

This blog is entirely my effort … with a lot of trials and errors. Of course am grateful to a few blogger friends who encouraged me during my early days of blogging.

What was the first dish that you prepared and when?

I really don’t remember, maybe some chicken preparation. Back home, during Sundays, I would sometimes try my hand at making a dish with chicken.

CLB Note: Her blog has 10+ chicken recipes. Check them out. And if you need more, here’re our bengali chicken recipes.

What are the 3 food blogs that you would recommend our readers to read?

1. http://aht.seriouseats.com/
2. http://sutapa.com/
3. http://www.marthastewart.com/

How many cook books do you have?

None.

What’s your favorite cookbook?

I don’t read cookbooks.

What would you eat for your last supper?

Steaming hot dal, plain rice and aloo bhaaja with a little ghee and lemon. 🙂

Which other food blogs do you read regularly?

There are some very good food blogs out there … naming all of them is going to be difficult.

Your fondest food memory?

That would be of the food cooked in open air improvised chulhas when we used to go for ‘choruibhati’s or picnics.
The khichuri (rice and lentils cooked together)  or mangsho (mutton or chicken curry) cooked that way used to be so flavourful.

Your most trusty kitchen companion?

My pair of kitchen scissors.

What made you to call your blog “Kichu Khon”?

“Kichu Khon” in Bengali means “A Few Moments”.

Like my blog description says, since I was logging about the few moments I spend in my kitchen, I decided on the name “Kichu Khon”.

Name three dishes (along with their links) from your blog that you like preparing often.

The Coffee Cake
Chingri Malai Rice :
Jhaal Muri / Masala Muri

Which cookbook can you not do without and which chef is your hero/heroine?

I do not follow any cook books. But I like Kylie Kwong‘s recipes, very similar to my way of cooking – quick, flavourful yet simple.

Well, thank you Sharmila, for taking out time to share your personal side for our readers. We wish you good luck with your food blogging experience. Cheers!

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Bengali Food Bloggers Interview Part 3 – Indrani

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Bengali Food Bloggers Interview

This series tries to bring the personal side of the blogger in the list of Top 7 Bengali Food Blogs. This is Part 3 and features Indrani of Appyayan. Earlier interviews:

  1. Jayashree Mandal of Spice and Curry
  2. Bong Mom of Bong Mom’s CookBook

About Indrani

Indrani started the blog in Apr 2008, and till date, it has around 130 posts in several categories. Indrani is based out of Singapore and calls herself a – busy full-time mom of a 10 year old girl and a set of twin boys (2 years old). The blog predominantly features Bengali recipes, and sometimes, other regional Indian and western recipes too. Samples – Patishapta Pitha, Badhakopir Tak Dom, Narkel Shorshe Patol, Bhapa Ilish, and Broccoli Brinjal fry. Incidentally, the blog started at same time as bengalicuisine and has the same number of recipes as of this date. Call it coincidence, huh. She maintained a recipe index of the blog till August 2009.

Without further ado, we give you Indrani.

What inspires you to write a food blog?

Food is an important part of our life. I absolutely love cooking. So my love of cooking and learning new recipes inspire me to write a food blog, so that I can share my love with the world.

Who had been your inspiration for cooking?

My mom had been my true inspiration, who is a great cook. She can create a good food out of anything.

Who was and is your greatest support(s) for this blog?

My husband

What was the first dish that you prepared and when?

The first dish I learnt to cook is Dharosh Posto (Okra / bhindi in poppy seed sauce), because this is my favorite Bengali dish. I learnt this at the age of 13.

What are the 3 food blogs that you would recommend our readers to read?

There are many good food blogs which I visit regularly, but if you ask me specifically, other than Cook Like a Bong, I would recommend, (a) Sailu’s Kitchen, as she has a collection of great recipes (b) eCurry, as she has introduced me with so many new food and I learned so much from her blog, (c) Foodie’s Hope, I just love to visit her blog.

How many cook books do you have?

I have 4 cookbooks – one Bengali cookbook, one on Indian Cuisine, one on baking and one on Chinese cuisine (my fav, just after Bengali cuisine).

What’s your favorite cookbook?

I have a collection of bookmarked recipes from cooking sites and other food blogs, if I put all of them together and make a book, that’ll be my most favorite cookbook.

Tell us something about food from your part of the world?

For the quintessential Bengalis, food is one of the most important aspects of daily life. As it’s said, “Bengalis do not eat to live, but live to eat”. But don’t take Bengalis as an over-eater. Fish and rice, are the most staple food in Bengal, but hardly a day goes by without a Bengali eating some form of dal (lentil). Bengali daily meal has a good proportion of everything we need in our food. A typical daily meal will include rice, dal, some fries with dal, one vegetable dish and a fish or egg or chicken dish. Lastly a chutney, not daily but often. I think, Bengali cuisine is the most sophisticated cuisine in India.

What would you eat for your last supper?

For last supper, I would love to eat some comfort food like dal-bhat-bhaja (lentil-rice and some fry) or khichudi

Which other food blogs do you read regularly?

There are many good food blogs, I try to read as many of them in my little spare time

Your fondest food memory?

I don’t recollect any food memory, but I’ve fondest cooking memory which I absolutely cherish. When my mom used to get sick, bapi (my father) and me used to cook that day. My bapi only knows to cook dharosh aloo posto (okra-potato in poppy seed sauce) and dal (lentil soup), as those are his favorite dishes and easy to cook, too. I used to cut the vegetables and bapi used to cook. He used to show me every step very carefully. We had such nice time together. Whatever I learned about cooking so far, all credit goes to my mom. If she hasn’t pushed me to learn to cook, I couldn’t have survived after marriage, as I am living abroad since my marriage.

Your most trusted kitchen companion?

My mixer-grinder/blender.

What made you to call your blog “Appayan”?

Appyayan” is a bengali word which means to serve your guests which I love to do. My intention to start this blog was to serve my visitors and readers with some authentic bengali recipes, which I learned from my mother, mil and grandmother and other healthy and tasty recipes I experiment in my kitchen daily and love. This is the reason behind the name of my blog.

Name three dishes (along with their links) from your blog that you like preparing often

  1. Garlic Flavoured Masoor Dal (Lahsooni dal)
  2. Paneer butter masala (my daughter’s favorite food)
  3. Chatpata Chicken

Which cookbook can you not do without and which chef is your hero/heroine?

The above mentioned favorite cookbook of mine, my bookmarked recipe collection, that I can’t do without and my favorite chef is Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, I just love to try his recipes.

Top 7 Bengali Food Blogs

Follow Sudeshna on Twitter. Add her as a friend on Facebook . Visit her Flickr photostream.

The most popular website for Bengali recipes is Bengali Recipes on the Web by Sutapa Ray. Started in 1999, the website pre dates all bong recipes sites, and thus, pre dates even the concept of blogging. The list below is a compilation of the most vibrant blogs on Bengali food. These blogs are usually frequently updated and most of them host recipe pictures as well, with the exception of Bangali Meye. We’ve kept Cook like a Bong out of the scope here, for obvious reasons.

The Magnificient sevenImage Courtesy: Flickr

Bookmark these wonderful blogs. Or better still, subscribe them in your reader. Or even better, email us at bengalicuisine AT gmail.com to get the OPML file for the list. It’ll sure make your life easier. Enjoy!

Bengali-Meye-in-US

Bengali-Meye-in-US

A Bengali Girl in US – Blogging since March 2007 under the name Bangali Meye. Content quality of the blog is excellent but you would find images of the delicacies only in the earlier posts. In fact, in her very first post, she declares – this blog will probably not have that many pictures, ki kori, kabo, ranna korbo, na chobi tulbo. Posts regularly (but unfortunately, not as frequently as her fans would like her to) on authentic Bengali recipes. Samples – Mouri Phoron Diye Beet Shager Chorchori, Alu Kopir Dalna, Tomato Kejurer Chatney, Ranga Alur Pantua etc. Very few sites match up to this one in talking about authentic Bengali dishes.

Spice and Curry

Spice and Curry

Spice and Curry – Jayashree Mandal started the blog in Oct 2006 with the first post on Alu Posto ar Amer Ambal. However, the posts became frequent and regular only from Nov 2007. With a pagerank of 4, the blog is fairly popular – whopping 87000+ pageviews since Dec 2008. Samples – Mochar Ghonto, Pomphreter Kalia, Pui Shager Cohorchori. The blog has a good blogroll list too. Also, most of the recent images have copyright notice. Good move to thwart rampant plagiarism on the web. Located in Kolkata, Jayashree also has a personal blog.

Bong Mom's CookBook

Bong Mom's CookBook

Bong Mom’s Cookbook – Sandeepa started the blog in Oct 2006 and it became a fairly popular Bengali recipe blog (with a pagerank of 4, what else you can ask for). The site recently shifted to own domain name. The blog has almost 200 traditional and non traditional Bengali recipes. Samples – Posto Murgi, Pui Chingdi, Beet Gajor Chechki.  Like every blog, this one too has seen a couple of lull periods (twice, to be precise). It has a great blogroll too. Sandeepa is available for freelance writing and can be reached at sandeepa.blog@gmail.com (courtesy: her about page).

Kichu Khon

Kichu Khon

Kichu Khon – Sharmila started this blogspot blog in May 2008, roughly the same time as Sudeshna’s bengalicuisine. A thumbnail sized Durga welcomes you to her site, giving that quintessential bong- at-home feel. The blog hosts more than 150 recipes (mostly authentic Bengali, but several non Bengali as well) and is fairly popular (pagerank 3). Samples – Lao Khosa Bhaja, Ilish Macher Patla Jhol, Arisa Pitha. She has dedicated the blog to her dearest Bapi who loves good food. Sharmila also blogs on her travels.

Appayan

Appyayan

Appyayan – Indrani started the blog in Apr 2008, and till date, it has around 100 posts in several categories. Indrani is based out of Singapore and calls herself a – busy full-time mom of a 10 year old girl and a set of twin boys (2 years old). The blog predominantly features Bengali recipes, and sometimes, other regional Indian and western recipes too. Samples – Patishapta Pitha, Badhakopir Tak Dom, Narkel Shorshe Patol. Incidentally, the blog started at same time as bengalicuisine and has the same number of recipes as of this date. Call it coincidence, huh. She also maintains a recipe index of the blog.

Cook a Doodle Do

Cook a Doodle Do

Cook a Doodle do – Started Feb 2009 by Sharmishtha, the blog features around 50 bengali recipes till date. The site has gained popularity very quickly (pagerank 3 in just 4 odd months). Samples – Pabda Macher Patla Jhol, Boiragi Dal, Palong Shak sheddho. Check out her beautiful poem when she started the blog. Well, you wouldn’t find too many food blogs’ about with poem! Sharmishtha also has a personal blog, check it out.

Cooking in Calcutta

Cooking in Calcutta

Cooking in Calcutta – Angshuman Das started this blog during Durga Puja of 2005 (October) and writes on Bengali food for all ye readers, from Paris to Patna, from Tampa to Timbuktu. The blog posts have been infrequent at times, but have continued to amuse readers. The blog mainly features Bengali food, but occasionally, non Bengali Indian food as well. Angshuman was the only Bengali food blogger to be featured in the Telegraph’s story on Indian Food Bloggers. And if you haven’t noticed it yet, Angshuman is the ONLY male blogger featured in this list!

Hope you like the list. If you know any other wonderful Bengali recipe website, please comment here. We @ BengaliCuisine will include the links in the page for Bengali Food Blog Index

Coming soon:

  1. Interview series of the above mentioned bloggers
  2. Rising stars in the Bengali Food Blogging space

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