Blogger Interview Series Part 5 – Sharmistha

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Sharmistha is one of the Top 7 Bengali Food Bloggers in the blogging arena. Sharmistha is an engineer by profession and of coursehas a lot to do to maintain her career and personal life. She started writing a cookery blog to keep track of all the lovely recipes she prepares at home. Today we bring to you the other side of Sharmistha, the lady behind Cook-a-doodle-do.

To know more about the authors of the other Top 7 Bengali food blogs, click on the links below:

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

What inspires you to write a food blog?

Initially I started a food blog to keep track of the various recipes I follow. Gradually I realized I enjoyed the process of sharing recipes, exchanging ideas, participating in the various events. The whole process of cooking, photographing the process and receiving feedback from people I have never met was/is really exciting…though I am off blogging for the past month or so, I know I’ll be back sooon….

Who had been your inspiration for cooking?

My Mom has been my guru in cooking….though when I actually started cooking, I have been away from home. So it’s been more of telephonic tutorials and instructions that I had to be content with. I call myself a reluctant cook…my love for good food is stronger than my lack of passion for cooking! 😉

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

My husband Saptarsi. Not only is he extremely supportive and encouraging, he tolerates his hunger pangs and humours me and indulges me while I go click, click click…..

What was the first dish that you prepared and when?

First dish I prepared?…mmmm…..I guess it was a cake I’d baked. During the long break before joining college and after Higher Secondary exam . Of course Maggi, Omelette and tea were stuff I could do a couple of years prior to that!!

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

There are many more I really enjoy reading….but since I have been asked to name three, I am reluctantly restricting myself!

How many cook books do you have?

5-6 I guess….i’m not good at following instructions to the T. And hence dont use them too often

What’s your favorite cookbook?

I normally jot down ingredients and procedure from my Mom and use them later.And whenever I eat something delicious at friends & relatives’ places, I ask them for the recipes (or ingredients/procedure) and try them out myself

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

I have a blogpost on that……http://cookadoodledo.blogspot.com/2009/03/bengali-cuisinea-closer-look.html

What would you eat for your last supper?

Oh dear ….that’s a tough one….my favourite keeps changing all the time.

Which other food blogs do you read regularly?

That’s my blogroll copied and pasted and hence not in any preferential sequence

Your fondest food memory?

Oh several…..sitting on the terrace with my sister and eating kawth bel makha/kaancha aam/tetuler achaar.….

The suspense while opening my tiffin box during school days….to find out what ma had packed for my lunch box

Sunday afternoon lunch during childhood ….when each item would be a special treat

Your most trusty kitchen companion?

My kadai (wok), microwave & blender

What made you call your blog “Cook-a-doodle-do”?

When I was on the verge of starting a cooking blog, much much before I actually started posting, my daughter’s favourite nursery rhyme was Cock-a-doodle-do. At that point of time, whenever I would think of naming my blog, Cook-a-doodle-do would come to mind….then the poem (read it here) came to mind and COOK-A-DOODLE-DO was the name I zeroed as my blog name!!

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

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

As I said I dont follow any cookbook regularly. And I love the way my Ma cooks….fast and finger licking good.

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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.

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