Rajeshwari Ganesh

A special educator by passion and profession Rajeshwari Ganesh shares her special recipes and cooking tips with us. Rajeshwari Ganesh - one woman who I have always admired for she have cooked in Viragaduppu and also uses the modern day kitchen gadgets. A small interview with that wonder lady who calls herself as gadget freak, will definitely give you all an insight as to how she uses her cooking skills effectively to satisfy the tummys of her loved ones. I had a small chat with her to know more about

Me: At what age did you start cooking?

Raji : At the age of 10, I started helping my mom and my paati

Me: So you cooked using viragaduppu at that young age?

Raji: Not in viragaduppu but in pump stove. My mom will give me instructions and I have to cook all in front of mom's eyes, and at the age of 16 I can cook full fledged south Indian cooking without mom's guidance and instructions. But I cooked in Viragaduppu after marriage as my inlaws lived in a village and they are so used to cook in viragaduppu. As I have seen my paati cook in that I was able to do it with ease and when my elder son was just 4 years I did full fledged Srardha samayal using viragaduppu without mixer and grinder.

Me: So you know to use ammi!!!!

Raji: Yes. I learnt making rotis at the age of 18. I could manage with making dals and sabjis but making roti was quite challenging. I used to pack lunch for my hubby after marriage as it will help in sustaining hunger and for the dinner when I make different south Indian dishes like kathirikkai podi potta curry, sambar etc, he used to praise me, that he is surprised that I can cook so much vareity at this young age.

Though I learnt making rotis and was making it regularly, I made my first perfect phulka in the year 1995 with the help of a Gujarati neighbour. I stood beside her and watched her do it and it took almost 10 to 15 days for me to get it right and I mastered it within 3 months.

Me: Can you tell me about the modern gadgets you started using in your kitchen?

Raji: I had neighbours, who had relatives settled abroad and who used to talk about lots of kitchen gadgets, that made me look out for them whenever I go to out. They also used to get me small small kitchen accessories which I loved a lot.

My first introduction to an electric gadget was water heater which made me think that I could keep the milk warm and my child too can have warm milk 24/7.

When my kids became teenagers they started asking for varities like tandoori items and so my first kitchen gadget was sandwich maker.

Me: Were you able to make Tandoori dishes using Sandwich maker (I was so surprised)

Raji: No No, I just used to make sandwiches but due to popular demand from kids, I got the electric tandoor which helped me make a lot of dishes for them like naan, pizza etc. I had an old cook book which taught me lots of recipes and I used to watch lots of shows of Tarla Dalal and Sanjeev Kapoor. I used to note down all the recipes in my mind (as in those days whatever we search for in our house we dont get it that easily so it is better to keep that in memory). My mind is my book. After a lot of convincing my husband got me a microwave in which I tried open toasts and pizzas which was a failure.

Me: But in some models we can actually do it is it not?

Raji: May be but in Microwave you wont get the crust formation. It is only for cooking and reheating not suitable for baking.

Me: Thats interesting

Raji: My little ones have grown up by now and they used to look at the internet and will tell me mom for baking you need an OTG. By this time they also wanted Kebabs, Cutlets and other grilled items. OTG roasts the food that needs it pretty well. These items can not be done in Microwave but needs an OTG.

For making kebabs and cutlets, I got a table top toaster and griller and started making bread bajjis, masala bread etc along with the other things.

Me: Is the table top and OTG same or different?

Raji: Table top is open and you can turn whatever you cook on that like you turn dosa the heat produced is also less. In OTG it is a bit difficult to do that. Chances are there, that the cutlets could go dry or burn if you put that in OTG.

Me: Thats quite interesting.

Raji: I learnt a lot about all these by lots of usage and learning. In OTG, there are two rods one on top and the other one in the bottom. Though you can choose the heat setting for both, still cutlets and toasts come out better in open toaster and griller. But I make baby potato roast, Cheppankizhangu roast in OTG with very minimum oil

Me: Oh thats news to me

Raji: I started a lot of experimenting in Microwave.

Me: What kind of?

Raji: I used to do all kinds of toasting and roasting for podis, sauteing for chutneys and thogayals in that. Mix onion, tomato, chilly and little oil and keep in high for 10 mins, you get the base ready for onion chutney. Grind it and use it. I started using a lot of gadgets to help my kids in their academics as my presence and need was required to them a lot.

Now I am a proud owner of OTG too. You can call me gadget freak, especially kitchen gadget freak says this proud mom, who cooks all exciting dishes for her kids at home.