Featured Cook – Nirmala Prem
What’s your Cucumbertown story?
I was introduced to Cucumbertown a little while back, but I was swamped in everything that came with the dastardly duo – my kids. But I was asked to just try it out once, and it was true. I began with my tiramisu recipe (which is the first time I photographed what I cooked, because it has never really been a habit for me. And lo-and-behold, I was done posting the whole thing in just 4 minutes flat. I was absolutely positively HOOKED to the experience, and I haven’t looked back ever since!
Mother of twins. Engineer. Home chef. Where do you hide your super woman cape?
I admit, its not that easy juggling all three. And I do have those days when sometimes nothing seems to work out (don’t we all?) but my ‘super-woman cape’ is safely hidden away with two people – My mom (thank GOD for moms, what would we do without them, yeah?) and my hubby who is a very hands-on dad and happily keeps the kids occupied while I whip up meals in the kitchen (and also never complains about how boring and repetitive the menu is every week, bless his soul!). Between the three of us, we’re like a well oiled machine.
What three tips would you give a beginner cook?
I would tell beginners to a) start with something simple. like maybe breakfast food, or even good ol’ rice and lentils. And keep building up with recipes that increase in complexity. b) Keep an open mind, don’t be afraid. Everybody has the odd flopshows once in a while. Don’t be too hard on yourself, if you fail a few times. The important thing is to pick yourself up and keep trying. c) Keep your kitchen organised, and your sink as clear as reasonably possible while you cook. a clutter free kitchen (no matter how small) is always better to work in than in a chaotic mess.
What are the three dishes you can cook in under 20 minutes.
What’s the one dish that never fails with the kids?
Chicken and mushroom gratin. My son is an extremely fussy eater and this is one of the very few things he eats without a big fight. It’s pretty popular with the adults too.
What’s your nemesis dish?
Oddly enough, I used to struggle with sambar! Its something most south indians eat on an almost daily basis, and I have grown up eating some positively yummy sambar. But I have had the toughest time getting it right! (ok, truth be told, my sambar sucked! and how!) It’s only recently that the sambar-Gods have forgiven me (thanks to my father-in-law’s secret recipe). My sambar turns out just fine now, but it took me a while getting here.
What’s your signature dish?
It has to be my pecan pie. It’s what I’m best known for. Friends and relatives always request for it, and I never end up with leftovers whenever I bake it.
Whose dishes have you been eyeing greedily?
Definitely Marek’s! The guy is a legend. His dishes are all so healthy and they look spectacular. A modern day Van Gogh of the kitchen.
Cucumbertown is my…
For more drool moments, take a peek at Nirmala Prem’s kitchen, and be ready to be wow-ed.