I love tasty, healthy AND economical South Indian food. It is indeed possible and the inspiration behind this site.
I strongly believe that one need not spend a large portion of ones income for food. I learned this early on as an immigrant to the U.S., in the 70s, with limited financial resources and time. Cooking ones own meals was one of the ways to live within your budget. I cooked for the family while working full time as Software Professional, and while raising two daughters and a husband. Yes, a husband. So, what you experience on this website is a time-efficient way to cook tasty and healthy meals within your budget.
This venture also started by the prompting of my daughter who asked me for the recipes of the south Indian foods I cooked and she liked. As usual, like most of the mothers who learned cooking by watching their mothers and aunts cook, my answer was ‘a pinch of this, and a pinch of that’, which was not that useful to her. So, the idea of a website which I can share with others, and also document my recipes, seemed to be a good idea.
Finally, cooking is an art and actually a continual work in progress. Fresh ingredients; measurements to match ones taste; careful and sincere preparation makes the food perfect for you. I have not invented any new recipes here. All the recipes in this site are either from the memory of watching my mother cook or from talking to family members and friends. My contributions are – alterations, improvisations and experimentations to accommodate the places and times. So, I urge you to make them your own by experimenting with them until it is to your taste and liking.
Who Am I
I am Valsala Sekhar, born and brought up in a small village in Kerala, India. Our village was tucked within the valley at the base of what the British termed hill stations, where tea, coffee, cardamom and black pepper grew abundantly. The smell of roasting tea drifts down the valley in the afternoons, and the experience was as good as having a strong fresh cup of tea.
Rows of coconut trees stood on both sides of the rice paddy fields like open green umbrellas as if to give shade to the paddy. There were bananas, papayas, mangos and passion fruit; there was tapioca (yucca) and umpteen kinds of root vegetables; the squashes and melons added colors to the landscape; beans, curry leaves and hot chilly peppers were picked daily; cows and goats grazed freely in the yards and came home promptly at milking time; the clear fresh waters of the river a few miles down the hill was home to various families of fish; sea fish came from the Arabian sea which was 20 miles away.
In our small farm, there were always chickens and fresh eggs. To top this off, my family owned a small bakery where fresh baked breads, sweet buns (rolls) biscuits (cookies) and cakes were baked in a clay oven. With this kind of a background, how can I be not a lover of wholesome good food?