Know your Blogger: Indrani Dhar6:38 AM
Indrani Dhar of Recipe Junction is a super mom or more appropriately a super woman. I have known her for the past 4-5 years and we started blogging almost at the same time. But until recently I dint have any idea how much she has on her plate. She is mom to three kids including two super active twin boys (I know how difficult it is as I struggle with the one I have), whom she takes care of all alone as her husband lives in another city for his high profile Job. Still she manages to cook delectable food, experiment in her kitchen and bring us fabulous recipes every week. Kudos to her effort and enthusiasm for blogging.
She has lived abroad for a considerable amount of her married life and has many quick cooking tricks including plenty of microwave recipes up her sleeves. I love her Bengali recipes which has that old world charm and authenticity. The best thing about Indrani is 'you get what you see'. The ever smiling indrani never shy away from speaking her mind and standing up for a cause. As a blogger and mother I respect her patience, creativity and boldness. She is a dear friend and I look forward to spend more time with her and her beautiful kids.
Here is a small excerpt of a chat that we two had few days back.
1. Tell us about yourself
Telling about myself is the hardest thing for me. Well, by nature, I am a simple and transparent person. Born and raised in a Bengali middle class family who instilled great moral values in me and taught me to value relationship more than any material thing. After living 14 years of my married life outside India, I’m settled now in Kolkata with my 3 kids and hubby. Right now I’m a homemaker, talking care of my 14 yrs. Old daughter and 6 yrs. Old twin boys who needs extra attention.
2. How did you start cooking? Your first dish?
I think I have started cooking after I went to college, before that my mother never let me cook anything, but I always used to help my mother in the kitchen, cutting vegetables or making salads etc. (forcefully, against my mom’s wish). My mom used to say, “no need to come to the kitchen now, you have your whole life to be in the kitchen, now you enjoy other things”. After I went to college, she slowly started teaching me the basics like making tea, cooking rice and I used to occasionally make those. Whenever my mother was sick, my father used to manage the kitchen for a day or two and I was his helper. My father could cook 2-3 dishes, being with him he taught me those dishes. After I learnt those dishes from him, whenever my mom was sick I used to cook those dishes what I learnt from mom and dad. That way, I learned cooking.
I think, my first dish I have cooked was Bhindi-aloo posto(ladies finger and potato, cooked with poppy seed) which I have learnt from my dad other than plain dal.
3. Who is Your biggest inspiration in cooking and how did you start this blog?
Before marriage, cooking was merely a learning process to me, not my passion or hobby. Before marriage, my mother used to call me in the kitchen and show me the basic day-to-day recipes while she is cooking. Everyday, she used to leave one ball of chapati dough to roll out by me and I had to do that everyday until I perefcted it. She is my one and only cooking guru and I wholeheartedly thank her everyday for teaching me those as just after 1 month of marriage, I was in my own kitchen that too outside India. My husband is a big foodie and I think his love for good food and my love for him, inspired me to take cooking more seriously and slowly it turned into a passion for me.
During the beginning of my life in abroad, I used to surf new recipes in the web and surprise him everyday with a new dish. It was a fun learning process for me. Suddenly one day, I realized there were very few cooking sites who shares basic Bengali recipes. So, it was a lying wish in my heart from then that I will make a Recipe website one day and will share only Bengali recipes there. That time blogging was not even invented. Many years passed by, but my passion for cooking new dishes has never stopped. In the year of 2007, in the beginning of April, I found out a Bengali blog while surfing for Bengali recipes, before that I had no idea what a blog is. I explored more about blog immediately and within a week I started my 1st blog, “Appyayan” and started sharing mostly bengali recipes there. After 3 years of blogging, due to sudden incident, I had to stop that blog and started blogging in my current blog “Recipe Junction”.
4. With two hyper active twins how do you balance life and still take out time for cooking and blogging.
Cooking is what I do everyday. It was a challenge for me to cook a proper healthy meal for my family when my twin boys were small and I used to live in Singapore. But I think my passion for cooking gave me strength to overcome that period. Then I was new to blogging and my enthusiasm was too high, so managed somehow to blog as much as possible. Still, my family is my first priority, but I manage some “Me” time from my daily schedule and give it to my blog.
5. You have spent quite some time outside India. how did the experience affected your style of cooking.
I have spent 6 years of my life in Germany and was amazed seeing so many bread varieties there. I fell in love with baking during my stay there and that love is just growing day by day. I loved their simple and sophisticated way of cooking. Not only I loved their cuisine, I made many German fell for Indian cuisine too(especially Tandoori Chicken), who were scared to try spicy Indian cooking, they loved Indian cooking after that. I spent 4 years in USA and next 4 years in Singapore. Being in so many different places, I learned a lot of cooking styles and we devour all kinds of cuisines in our family.
6. What in your opinion are the pros and cons of food blogging?
In my opinion, food blogging gave me immense pleasure and satisfaction that I could fulfill my lying wish and lots of good friends from different world, I think that could have never been possible if there was no food blogging. I am so grateful to this community for this. Moreover, food blogging made me a real foodie and cook what I am today. I have learned so many cuisines and cooking styles and still learning. It gave me another new hobby, food photography/Photography as a whole.
There are not much cons of food blogging as such but there are few dishonest people who steal someone else’s work at one click and names it by their own, which I totally dislike.
7. Tell us about your reader interactions. Any memorable incidents?
Ya, readers output is the best reward of food blogging. Many readers have shared their experiences with me after trying my recipes. Once a 14 yrs. Old girl tried one of my recipe and surprised her parents and they loved it. I could see her satisfaction and happiness from her comment. Its worth the whole trouble we take to write down the recipe and then clicking the food and time we give to our blogs. Recently, A foreigner tried my “Chicken jalfraizee” recipe and he loved it and commented that, he is trying an Indian recipe for first time and my easy way of writing gave him the courage to try out this recipe.
8. Where do you see yourself in next 5 years?
Surely, I will be a part of this beautiful and colorful food blogging world. I am yet to learn a lot from this community. I want to improve my baking and photography skill a lot.
With this the Know your blogger series comes to an end. You can read about few other bloggers here