Editor's Note: We are delighted to introduce Rinku Bhattacharya to you. She will be our guide to Indian food and cooking, taking us across the width and breadth of her vast country. Each recipe page will have an explanation of any ingredient that might be new to you. None will be impossible to get.
One of the loves that my grandmother and I shared is a deep love of feeding people. She was known for her hospitality and good cooking. Cooking is my passion as well, I indulge my passion by cooking for my friends and family and teaching people how to cook “Indian Cooking.”
I have been cooking since I was nine, running around the kitchen with my mother, who actually would talk to me, quiz me on math problems (yes, she was a teacher of mathematics) and other things while she stirred, fried and baked.
We traveled widely (due to my father’s job), and living outside India, we encountered people from several parts of India and the world. I suddenly realized how diverse Indian cooking was. Thus, began a quest to understand more, but let me tell you dear reader, many, many years later I am still learning the nuances and details of different aspects of regional Indian cooking. It is a way I stay connected with this complex odyssey we call Indian Culture, since learning about regional styles, comes with it an understanding of customs, regions, language, and ethnicity.
I moved to the United States to attend college to study financial management. I later drifted away from capital centric financial management to get a Master’s Degree in Non-profit Management from the Milano Graduate School University. I work with the non-profit organizations that need assistance in strategy, financial management and general governance needs.
In the meantime, I had not forgotten my first love affair with spices and creative Indian cooking. I have been teaching Indian cooking for the last five years and now have my own cooking studio at Valhalla, NY. and a web site www.cookingwithrinku.com. I am working on a cookbook which does (you guessed it!) deal with the diversity of Indian regional cooking. The recipes work with local ingredients readily available in North Eastern United States. I am hoping that my ventures and forays result in a successful social enterprise that can help me support childhood hunger causes both in India and closer to home in the United States.