Work Continues Towards the Cookbook! (Isha P.)

The cookbook is coming along pretty well. We have been making significant progress towards deciding what recipes we want to include and trying the recipes out. One of my favorite parts of this project is going to my house or Anjali’s house and trying the different recipes out. Each week, we go either one or two days and experiment. We believe that if we are telling people to use our recipes, then we should try them out as well, just to make sure they are actually edible.

Two weeks ago, we went to Anjali’s house to try and make all of our South Indian thali dishes. We made green bean thoren, idli, dosa, and more. All of these dishes combined make a full meal in South India. We have carbohydrates, protein, and many essential nutrients and vitamins. Indian food may seem unhealthy to some, but due to the many vegetarians in India (mainly due to religious beliefs), the meals are balanced (can be read about in this article). Almost every region has a similar balanced meal. In Gujarat, where I am from, we have a carbohydrate (rice), protein (dal), a wheat (roti), and a serving of vegetables. Our group is not as familiar with North and East Indian food, but we have been doing a lot of research on finding out what these region’s staple foods are and the health benefits they have.

Picture of our dosa filled with potato stuffing from our South Indian cooking day.
Picture of our dosa filled with potato stuffing from our South Indian cooking day.

This past week, we went to my house on Tuesday, and we decided to make a breakfast food eaten in almost every region of India. It is called Upma and it is made out of semolina and contains different vegetables. We knew we needed a new system for cooking because we had had some hitches in the road during our South Indian cooking day. On that cooking day, each of our team members had attempted to cook one recipe on their own. The results were not amazing. We didn’t know where some ingredients were or we were trying to do multiple things at once and it just wasn’t working. At the end of our cooking day, we also had a huge mess. On Tuesday, we perfected a new cooking method. One of our team members reads the recipes, another team member does the actual cooking, and the last team member gets all of the ingredients and cleans up as we go. It was a very smooth process. The upma came out pretty well. Or so we thought.

This is the first step in making upma. We fill a pan with oil and cumin seeds, as well as mustard seeds.
This is the first step in making upma. We fill a pan with oil and cumin seeds, as well as mustard seeds.

When my mom came home, I decided to try our recipe out on her. She had some constructive criticism for us. She told us that our semolina was under cooked, as well as our onions. We needed to add more spices because the flavor was pretty bland. This was all information that is valuable to us. We need to know how to improve our recipes so we can make our cookbook as good as can be. With these critiques in mind, we have altered our upma recipe to make sure our readers can make it just as well.

With our next deliverable coming up, we are planning on finishing up all of our health benefits for all of the recipes we want to. We also want to add in Oceane’s comments and thoughts about being a novice at Indian cooking and how she feels about Indian food. We have received a lot of praise for the food we are bringing to the school. We are writing down these comments so we can include them in our book.

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2 thoughts on “Work Continues Towards the Cookbook! (Isha P.)

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  1. I absolutely love your idea for an “Indian Cookbook”! Personally I am someone who loves to cook, and I am always seeking for inspiration from cool recipes on Pinterest, food blogs, and cooking magazines. So the cookbook you’re creating really sparks my interest. One thing to keep in mind though is mainly for the structure of the book and how you are going to present your information. I am one who really doesn’t like just a finished product picture and step by step instructions, but I like step by step picture instructions. Especially since some people don’t really venture out into new culture related foods aside from their own, giving pictures along the way may hugely aid in the cooking process. In particular I like that your including health benefits as well, it’s a small detail that I think will make all of the difference! Overall I like your idea and the small details you are adding into the book, and I can’t wait to see the finished product.
    -Stephanie Perez

  2. Hello Indian Cookbook girlies,
    So far I think that you all are heading in a great path! Personally I am not a big fan of cooking but I am really interested in trying out the recipes that will be included in the cookbook. I agree with Stephanie on the part of including step by step photos for each recipe on yalls finished cookbook. It will be easier for beginning cooks, such as me, to follow. I had one question regarding the finished product, will it be accessible to the students at our school, or who will the cookbook be for?
    So far, I’ve only tried dosa’s, but it was great! I am glad that you all are including it in the cookbook. I wish you all luck in creating the recipes and cooking!
    -Dayanne Acosta

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