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Feb 18

Written by: Jennifer Kumar, Cultural Adjustment Coach
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Vidhya, thank you for sharing your recipes with us. The cultural, social and healing characteristics found in these posts: Paruppu urundai Rasam (spicy soup with vegetarian dhal-based vegetarian “meatballs”), Thippili Rasam (spicy pepper soup) and Angaaya Podi (lentil powder) intrigue me.  What inspires you to share this information and in which ways has maintaining your  blog changed your perception of cataloging recipes, food habits, emotional and cultural aspects of food?

Vidhya says: When I first started cooking 5 years back, I felt like I was in the middle of a big ocean without any help. Every time I used to call my grandma or my mother in law for help. When I thought about starting a blog, I just wanted to write everything I know and everything I tried so that it could help new comers in future...


Vidhya, home cooking unlike readymade foods in the grocery store vary based on subtle ingredient changes. I really appreciated you presenting this in your blog through offering series on different topics; such as different ways to make beans or eggplant curry, idli upma and varieties of podis (all links at end of interview).  What inspired you to create these series? When creating these series, does it make you see your own preparation methods in a new way? Do you have plans of creating other such series in the future?

Vidhya says: Truly speaking, I have no future plans of creating a series in the future. The reason I tried various methods with one basic ingredient is my twin daughters who are very picky eaters and I wanted them to try all the Indian food even though we live in USA. If I follow the same methods every time, they may get bored....


Banana Blossom by Vidhya Iyer

Vidhya, your recipes also bring back some memories of my own stay in Tamil Nadu especially since some include regional ingredients and preparations that are not familiar to my friends from other parts of India. Some such recipes are: Paruppu urundai Rasam, Vaazhapoo Curry - Banana Flower Curry, Vaazhapoo vadai,  Jack fruit seeds Curry, Sundakkavathal Vatha Kozhambu, Garbanzo Sundal (spicy garbanzo fried snack). Being in America, are you able to acquire the exotic ingredients required for some of these recipes? If not, are these recipes written simply from memory or calling home for details? What kinds of memories do these special dishes bring to your mind?

Vidhya says: If you see a picture in my blog post, it means I have prepared those dishes here in USA. Lucky for me, I get all the basic ingredients in the grocery stores here in bay area which helps me try all the traditional recipes. But you may not find jackfruit seeds curry in my post which I tried but forgot to take picture and now it’s not jack fruit season here, I couldn't do it again. But definitely do it again and add the pictures there...

Who are two or three recipe bloggers you are inspired by? What about their style is inspiring? Can you recommend any recipes from their blog that you have personally prepared and eaten?

Vidhya says: First person I would suggest is Jaishree (http://jaisrecepieblog.blogspot.com/). Even though she started her recipe blog after couple of months, I like most of her recipes and have tried couple of her recipes. Another person is Jujubs (http://jujubscreativecorner.blogspot.com/) and I love her lunch box special blog. I have tried many of her ideas with my kids and most of them were successful.


Vidhya, all the recipes on your blog are Indian inspired. Are there other cuisines you enjoy eating? Which foods outside the Indian menus have you tried and would like to learn to create on your own?

Vidhya says: I love to eat American vegetarian burgers, Pasta with lots of cheese. But I have not tried by myself. I think its time to try something new. I will try it soon.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jennifer for putting so much effort to encourage bloggers like me. Thanks Jennifer for inviting me to take this interview. I really enjoyed doing this...

Thank you for participating in this interview, Vidya. Continue sharing your unique taste buds with us!!


Additional notes to share from Vidhya's blog:

Series to follow:

(a) Four different ways to make beans curry varities  (1)  (2)   (3)   (4)

I prefered the first variety and enjoy this once a month or so.

(b) Two ways to make eggplant curry (1)   (2)

(c) Three ways to make Idli upma  (1)   (2)   (3)

(d) Series on podi (podi means powder, eaten with rice, idli or dosa).

Paruppu Podi, Dhaniya Podi (coriander seeds Podi), Ellu Podi (sesame Seeds Podi), Angaaya Podi, Karuvepillai Podi (Curry Leaves podi), Kalathu Podi

(e) Series on pachadi (dish similar to chutney or salsa)

Boondhi Pachadi, Cucumber Pachadi, Tomato Pachadi   (1)   (2), Onion Pachadi, Okra Pachadi,  Dangar pachadi (urad dhal/lentil), Banana Stem pachadi - Vaazhathandu pachadi, Gooseberry Pachadi

Some of Vidhya’s recipes I have prepared and devoured: Black Eyed Beans Sundal, Garbanzo Sundal, Masala Vadai (spicy fried lentil donuts),  Omapodi (fried rice/besan flour sticks), Paruppu urundai Rasam, Polla Rice flour Vadai (spicy, crispy fried snacks).

Recipe Comparisons – You can study both, see the differences and decide which you like, or make your own recipe innovation!

Lemon Rasam:  Vidhya   Jennifer 

Bitter Gourd Curry   Vidhya   Jennifer  

Sundakkavathal Vatha Kozhambu   Vidhya   Jennifer

Mango Thokku    Vidhya   Jennifer


More South Indian Recipes - Samayal series of award winning Tamil/South Indian cookery guides by Viji Varadarajan.


Thank you for reading.


This post is a one in the series of Inspirational Blogger Interviews


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Copyright ©2009 Jennifer Jayanthi Kumar


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