The Health Nut And Desi Cooking

I enjoy cooking and I would like to think I know a thing or two about cooking well too. I mean, I don’t own a stack of cookbooks at home and upload all these recipes on my blog for nothing. I know my shit! However, after marriage, if I ever need to cook for my family (hubz +inlaws), who love traditional food – I am left totally clueless! Someone please pass me a copy of “Desi Cooking for Dummies”.

I mean, my family is super supportive of my choices and I love them for that. However, when cooking for them I feel it’s only fair that I also respect their choices and whiz up something that’s comforting and familiar to them (#desibahugoals) but I simply never learned or wanted to learn, nor do I endorse the traditional methods of cooking – where the daal needs tarka and curries can’t do without meat.

Still, after a certain point of time, isn’t a good wife/dil/hostess expected to be able to serve food-coma inducing, artery clogging, korma, nihari type dishes for guests when hosting brunches & dinner parties at her place? Isn’t she expected to know at least one karhai dish for when her husband’s friends come over for dinner one night (and there is absolutely no time to explain all about the antibiotics and hormones injected in chickens these days and that maybe they should consider a bean burger instead  -I mean would that make me a major bummer of a bhabi?) or what about Eid, when she is expecting an entourage of some very hungry and excited people coming over her place who are very unlikely to be in mood for anything even remotely healthy. And finally, doesn’t every Pakistani married girl has that one biryani recipe under her belt that is her pride and joy at every Dawaat.

I, on the other hand, am the hippy here, talk to me about kale salads and vegan food and I got my A game. Ask me for chicken biryani and I’ll likely to pass you the takeaway number.

The other day, I stepped into our kitchen with the plan to make daal (Lentil Curry), went back and forth in my head about whether to just go with my own recipe (the plant-based one that my husband jokingly refers to as “goran-ki-daal”) or dig up some recipe by Chef Rahat on Youtube– in the end I just decided to stick to what I know best and go with my own recipe. Even though it was not what everyone was used to – it was well received. Alhamdulillah.

I have always cooked with plant based ingredients, loved every minute of it and only ever made and served healthy food. That’s what I enjoy and (instinctively) that what I would want to feed my loved ones, because it’s nourishing and wholesome and I want the best for people I care about. However, if it’s not your cup of tea then I don’t want to impose either. The plan is to hopefully inspire a bit of a change in the household with a few delicious plant based recipes, maybe get in a word about the plant-based lifestyle and why it is so good for everyone – without coming across as preachy (fingers crossed). I understand this is not going to happen overnight, those taste buds require a bit of adjusting and just the way I took my time falling into this lifestyle, it takes everyone time to open up to a new view point and accept a new way of eating.Things have been done a certain way for a good 30-40 years in most Pakistani households and our generation and the one before that has grown up accustomed to a certain way of eating, and as they say Rome wasn’t conquered in a day.

On the other hand, I do see girls these days and especially new moms leaning more towards a more organic, whole-foods approach to eating and this makes me so very happy and gives me so much hope. There is a reason girls and mommies today are fitter and hotter than ever and I do attribute a large part of it to making healthy choices and take good care of themselves. Kudos to you all!

And now, till the time comes, when plant-based foods are accepted as the norm in desi households, (the world where I want my grandkids to grow up in!) the plan to get the grips of a couple of ‘dinner-worthy’ recipes too, so I can give my future guests a bunch of options (there will always be plant-based food on the table too; you come to my place, you just gotta learn to live with that) + a few of Faisal’s childhood favorites for one of those days when he is in mood for some major comfort food and wants to go back to his roots. I think he deserves that much for always putting up with a wife who has super fussy eater!

Balance and time… that’s all it takes. You give a little and get a little.

As for me, I am now gonna go and make myself a smoothie.

Much Love guys!


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