Wednesday, December 10, 2008
We all know that age is inevitable, as we grew up the same with age also. There is growing number of elder people . Though, they might have struggled all along life for their better future to spend rest of it with happiness and prosperity. But now-a-days many parents are being sent to old age homes, because the children of such parents after reaching their heights don’t even look after them. Just send them to old age home are care centers and they will forget about every thing that their parents have given birth and brought up. Of course this is what actually new generation is following. The pain which they feel is inexpressible. money, health are not only components but the main thing they need is love of children and grand children.
Mr. Sanjay thumma, in meeting Taralu-Antharalu arranged by YSSR Foundation, -has pin pointed the main problems of our senior citizens. In many cases, grandchildren are denied to meet the grandparents for no faults and have no custodial rights to acquire them. The only fault of these senior citizens is being old ,on behalf of CRISP India, he is fighting against this prejudiced corner for to give equal rights to both the grandparents.
He opined” The society in India need to accept the challenge on the following two main issues of :
(i) To provide a fair-deal to the senior citizens so that they are able to peacefully, constructively and satisfactorily pass their lives; and
(ii) How to utilize the vast treasure of knowledge and rich life experience of the older people so that they are able to utilize their remaining energies and contribute to the all round development of their nation.
We also know that we are nothing with out our Elders, as they are enlightened with knowledge, hard work and especially with great experience. They are like a living guide for our bright future. (We need to take guidance)
Mr.Sanjay Thumma also known as vahchef in the internet world took to stage at 60th Human Rights Day Celebrations on 10-12-2008 ,while talking to dignitaries, distinguished Guests ,members of electronic and print media and other invitees ,
Sanjay Thumma emphasized how many of us waste a valuable portion of our life in bickering and complaining ,instead how we can use the same time doing good to the community we live in .
The Government of Andhra Pradesh provided a meager amount of 97 lakhs as budget for A.P. State Human Rights Commission Hyderabad. For want of adequate funds, the commission could not take up any training program during 2007-2008
Sanjay Thumma felt the need of every citizen to create awareness among common people about the Rights of every human being ,women, child , man, mother ,father, sister and specially senior citizens . Soon after coming from USA Sanjay felt the need to start a NGO to cater to the need of victims of some biased laws and to educate people on Right To Information. .
The commission has also dealt with several sensitive issues such as marital disputes, child marriages, environmental concerns, ragging in educational institutions, malpractices in corporate colleges/ schools, religious practices entrenched in rank superstitions, long delays in getting the terminal benefits, long pending in Freedom fighters pensions cases, police excesses, even the crimes during the land disputes etc. come to the commission daily. The citizens have tremendous faith in the commission for two important reasons;
- The people are getting speedy justice through the commission by direct accessibility and
- Redressal of grievances is free of cost.
Hon’ble Sri Justice P. Ramkrishnam Raju ,Lord Hon’ble chair person Subashan Reddy, MR.Ismile,Mr.Vittal,DGP Yadav , Heads of various Goverament Institutions where others among few key note speakers.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Thirty years later, he’s been treated to some spectacular meals by his son and son-in-laws. I mentioned before that we’re a cooking family, but it still wasn’t enough to get him into the kitchen.
Then one day, he and my mom went to dinner at the home of a couple they had newly befriended. They were eating an amazing meal of chicken and biryani when my father started complimenting the wife on the food. “Don’t tell me,” she said, “tell him.”
To my father’s (and my mother’s) amazement, she said her husband, who is my dad’s age, had made all of the food. And suddenly, as I like to imagine it, a light switched on in my dad’s head. The Light of the Enlightened Indian Man. Real men can cook, he realized, and really well!!
My dad and his friend spent the rest of the evening talking about cooking (!), and the secret to this man’s culinary success was revealed: a website that showcases simple Indian cooking videos. The key is that the chef in the videos is an Indian guy. (Clearly he brings out the “if he can do it, so can I” male competitive hormone.) So my dad went home, watched some of the videos, and started cooking. My mom, needless to say, is thrilled.
News of the website caught on among his friends, and before long they decided to have a dinner party in which -- and I love this part -- all the husbands cooked instead of the wives! The photo here is from their dinner night. Can you imagine how psyched their wives were?!
When I heard all of this, first of all, I brimmed over with pride for my dad. I can imagine it's not easy to develop a completely new hobby -- not to mention overturn a mindset -- at that point in life. Secondly, I figured if this website inspired my father to start cooking, it must be pretty good. So I went on and took a look myself, and seriously: I am willing to guarantee that, if you cook even just a little right now, this website will inspire you to try a dish you've never made before.
It’s called VahRehVah.com, and it features 5-to-10 minute videos of everything from chilli paneer to banana dosai (“your kids will go crazy about this item”). Some of it is way too complex for me – I don’t think I’m going to be making jalebi any time soon. But the vast majority of the recipes are easy. The most-viewed section includes butter chicken, egg biryani, and vegetable puffs (an easy appetizer for parties – buy frozen pastry sheets and fill them with any type of vegetable or meat filling, then bake). The recipes are in written and video form. I love the videos because they show details, like the exact size chopped potatoes should be, or what a “gravy” should actually look like.
The cook in the videos cracks me up as much as the name of the site. “Vah-Chef” Sanjay Thumma, who could easily be one of my cousins in India, has an infectious excitement about food. His down-home attitude about the whole thing is refreshing. He’s got a special kids’ corner, named after his daughter Shreya, featuring dishes that kids like. Best of all, the site is dedicated to his mom, “who inspired me and introduced me to this awesome world of cooking and culinary art. My house always smelled good. It wasn’t the smell of room fresheners or incense sticks. Rather, it was the smell of fresh baking and cooking.”
Check it out, and while you're at it, call your husband/fiance/boyfriend over. You never know when that male competitive hormone will kick in!
Friday, October 17, 2008
A bad translation of "vah reh vah" in English would be "that's just awesome", but it's enough to give you the gist. The website has recipes of over 230 Indian dishes, but the best part is that many of the Indian recipes have a video guide to go with them.
The "Vah chef" Sanjay Thumma is a great host. Very Indian. But great. His passion and talent for cooking is evident in the videos. For example, in his video that teaches you how to prepare Hydrabadi Biryani (one my favorite Indian dishes), he gets a little emotional in the end; when he tastes what he made, I'm pretty sure that his eyes welled-up with joy!
Another element key in making this website a super hit: Since it is targeted towards non-resident Indians, he often mentions in his recipes ingredient replacements should you not be able to find something specific in your country. You can also help yourself on this front by checking out the site's Cook's Thesaurus.
You can also access Sanjay Thumma's video channel on YouTube. He is quite a personality, you will enjoy watching him. He has won a gold medal for his recipes in the All-India Chefs competition for culinary arts, and all the video work is his own production done in his digital studio, that by the way, has just gone HD!
Other than Indian food, there are recipes for other cuisines; however they don't have video content. A must visit if you want to cook some good Indian food.
Friday, October 3, 2008
I do a lot of Indian cooking at home. For me it's an area of constant exploration and discovery that is further rewarded with great food that I prepare in my own kitchen. I started my education of Indian food with several good books. I will certainly review them here in future posts.
Cookbooks are of course indispensible when learning to prepare new foods. A great cookbook will not only teach you how to prepare certain dishes, but will offer photos and even a history of the food and processes involved. Some will even give you a philosophy lesson. Books are not the only route in the age of the internet though and sometimes you can find a great source for recipes, tricks, secrets, alternatives and details there.
I stumbled upon Chef Sanjay Thumma while looking on YouTube for a good way to prepare naan in a conventional oven. Sure enough he had a couple of alternatives for preparing it and they worked out really well. What I like about Chef Thumma is that he presents his video recipes in a friendly, dynamic and easy-to-follow format. His enthusiasm is engaging and his knowledge is extremely helpful.
I had mentioned in an earlier post how I had been chasing and tinkering with a chicken makhani recipe for a long time and that I had finally gotten it to where I liked it. Well, in Chef Thumma's video on chicken makhani he mentioned that Indian restaurants around the world add a little ketchup to their recipes. Sure enough, it was a very important addition to my recipe for chicken makhani and was the missing element I had been searching for! Our recipes for this dish do differ, but I wouldn't love mine if it wasn't for this little gem of knowledge I got from Vah Chef.
His videos are full of similar tidbits and he's very entertaining to watch and listen to. If you're into cooking Indian and you want to augment and polish your skills, I highly recommend Chef Sanjay Thummas website and blog. It is definitely a website I love!
Visit vahrehvah.com to see Chef Sanjay Thumma's instructional videos and recipes!
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Have you noticed I have added few links to side bar, which are excellent. Well adding just other url's are not for looking, trying is an art. So coming to this web-site by Sanjay Thumma, what an excellent chef! I would say a Guru which puts him into even Higher Grade. His enthusiasm in cooking, just loved it. Well one day decided to give it a shot, whether what he says really works or not. The first thing I tried was Rava Dosa (quick version), by tweaking a little bit by adding yoghurt as I always do. I would say Wow Wow..........He is genius :-) Sanjay If you ever read this Thanks dude, you rock and I wish you well.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
May 30, 2008
Garlic - 2 cloves
Garam masala powder - 1/4 tsp
Bread Crumbs - as needed for binding. Alternatively, use maida/all-purpose flour.
Oil - to fry
Salt - to taste
- Using your knife, scrape the kernels off the corn. Just hold the corn vertically with one hand and run your knife through it with the other. Keep aside.
- In a mixie/blender, add the dalia, green chillies, cilantro, ginger, garlic, garam masala powder, and jeera and pulse till a dry coarse mixture is formed. DO NOT ADD WATER during this.
- While still retaining the mixture in the mixie, add the scraed corn also to it and pulse again till its all well combined but the mixture is still slightly coarse.
- Remove from the mixie into a bowl ( it might be little wet at this point). Add salt and bread crumbs/all purpose flour accordingly so that the mixture holds and you are able to hold shape.
- Now, take a small ball of mixture, flatten it with the palm of your hand and place on hot tawa. Drizzle oil all around and on top of it. When one side is browned, turn and fry till done on other side too.
- Serve hot with chutney or ketchup.
Note: Deep frying gives them get a better color, but I made the shallow fry ones so that little less oil. So you can use the same mixture and make slightly thick and oval shape patties or balls and deep fry them till they turn golden brown in color.
I found bread crumbs give a better taste than flour, so I prefer bread crumbs.Even though these vadas here don't look as good as the deep-fried version, they were very good in taste. So do try them :)..
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I'm currently loving people who are passionate about life and share their successes, free of charge, to the entire world in order to help others.
One is this chef I found to Youtube. Since I loove Mideastern cuisine, I want to start cooking it. It's no easy task, thus the videos. There's no one more passionate about food that i've ever seen or known than Rachel Ray and Chef Sanjay at vahrehvah.com. He's as exciting and amusing to watch as Rachel Ray is. Have a look at this:
Thursday, April 24, 2008
A few months back I came across the channel Vahchef on Youtube and from that day I have been regularly watching all his cookery videos and eagerly wait for new ones.He has videos on the making of many restaurant favourites and also few traditional Andhra dishes.
I have tried some of his recipes,keeping his valuable tips in mind and the results were much better than what I had expected.
Puris for making Pani Puri
I have also tried several other recipes from his site such as naan,batura,aloo gobi,tomato dal,lamb fry and tandoori chicken and they were all so delicious.Do check his site vahrehvah if you haven't already.I certainly did learn and am still learning lots from him.I thank Chef Sanjay Thumma immensely for being so generous and sharing his knowldege with the entire world.
Monday, April 21, 2008
|Hi Sanjay, I coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo|
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
And thats how I came across the awesome Culinary Show by Sanjay, the host / VahChef of www.VahRehVah.com
Here's his youtube channel - http://youtube.com/profile?user=vahchef
Vah reh vah yemi tastu...chaala super ga undhi bossu
Friday, April 11, 2008
Mar 28, 2008
To read this recipe in Marathi CLICK HERE
Big Purple Brinjal (Eggplant): 1
Turmeric Powder: 1/2 tsp
Chilli Powder: 2 tsp
Sooji (Semolina): 1 tsp (Optional)
Rice Flour: 1 tsp (Optional)
Jeera (Cumin) Powder: 1 tsp (Optional)
Dhania (Coriander) Powder: 1 tsp (Optional)
Salt to Taste
1. Wash eggplant and cut it into around 1/2 inch round slices.
2. Mix all dry ingredients very well.
3. Apply this mixture on the both sides of all eggplant slices.
4. Heat oil in frying pan. Place eggplant slices one by one in the pan. Make sure oil is coated on each slice. Cooke these slices on slow flame. Turn 2-3 times until they become littlebit brown. Follow this procedure for all slices.
5. Sprinkle some coriander leaves on cooked slices and serve hot with rice and daal or you can eat this as appetizer.
If you want you can bake these in oven or grill it.
This is my entry for Sandeepa's RCI:Bengal Event
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
I have always been a good eater and of late the cook in me sprang up to life..the physics involved in dosas ,the artistry in samosas etc have always fascinated me...but whenever ive tried to cook something i get chased out of the kitchen.Maybe the ladies in my home are afraid of my talents.
And who says interest is enough to achieve things??all my attempts in serious cooking have ended up in vain.Perhaps theres much more involved in this than mere interest-the right recipe,utensils,timing,ingredients,quality all seem to play a role in this..
My friend Dhivya today gave me this wonderful link to aid me in cooking...www.vahrehvah.com ...this site provides excellent demos of numerous Indian recipes with videos and clear explanations .For those who dont want their preparations to end up before dogs or cats,,do visit the site...
"Oh I am trying to selling the world on healthy, authentic and fresh cooking with fresh ingredients and today it was "Chicken 65" which I just finished demonstrating and recording", he says with a faint smile."
"Vahrehvah.com has the potential to shake up the Internet food portals like no other Food site has."
Vahrehvah.com is my favorite cooking site! If you would like to learn authentic indian cooking simply and easily and like being around happy, fun, glowing, passionate people, even if they are virtual, then you will love it too! Actually, it is not just for indian food "Your vah-reh-vah chef" teaches indian foods (he comes from Hyderabad) and is growing the site to include many other cuisines and even asks you to post your recipies.
I coppied all the rest from an interview on the site, if you want to read some more, but really, you should just get on there and get cooking!
"...the layout and design is built intuitively with allocated space for recipes classified by their origin and place on the food chart as well as by course on the menu. So for instance if you were to have a craving for Shahi Nizami cuisine and had some Chicken in the freezer and felt like making a lip-smacking entree out of it, all you have to do is access vahrehvah.com and search by chicken for an entree and Voila! You not only have the detailed recipe and cooking method and ingredients listed out but the amazing thing is you also have a video demonstration of the dish being prepared in Sanjay's chirpy and laughingly humorous manner. That is what is interesting too."
"...What I like about Sanjay's site is that the video actually takes me through a step-by-step process to explain exactly how to go about acomplishing this. For someone like me-and for you too I am sure, looking at it being prepared tells you exactly when to throw onions into the pan or why does mustard have to crackle or even what exactly goes into the Tandoori Masala you go and buy at the store. To me that rocks! It quite simply allows Mr. Nobody to impress friends and family with learnings from a gourmet. Suddenly I am chef somebody and my kids love it. I dare say I even have my wife talking about it with her girlfriends.
"...What I truly like about the site also is that it is participative. It does not lock the user out. In fact it locks them in. They register, they get hooked on his easy style and humor and ability to laugh at himself. Before they know it they are enthusiastically commenting and he is inviting them to post their own recipes on the site. A separate section on the website allows the user to claim their own spot of fame by posting recipes and videos that contribute to even more participation from fellow users. "This is going to be a food community soon" I inform him.
"I know", he says"
Monday, March 17, 2008
Bagara Baingan Source: VahRehVah
Small Fresh Young Brinjals: 8 - 10
Roasted Peanuts: 1 Cup
Roasted Sesame Seeds: 3 tbsp
Roasted Dry Shredded Coconut: 2 tbsp
Finely Chopped Onion: 1 Big
Finely Chopped Coriander Leaves: 1 tbsp
Sliced Green Chilllies: 2
Ginger Garlic Paste: 1 tsp
Tomato Paste: 1 tbsp
Curry Leaves: 1 Spring
Tamarind Paste: 1 tbsp
Jaggery or Sugar: 1-2 tsp
Cumin Powder: 1 tbsp
Coriander Powder: 1tbsp
Red Chilli Powder: 1 tbsp
Whole Garam Masala Powder: 1 tsp
Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds (Jeera): 1 tsp
Mustard Seeds : 1 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds: 1 tsp
Asafoetida (Hing): 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon Stick: 1 (cut into pieces)
Bay Leaf: 1
Salt to Taste
1. Grind peanuts, sesame seeds, coconut with water. Make a smooth paste. Keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and when they start spluttering, add cumin seeds and curry leaves. Add cloves, bay leaf, cinamon stick, elaichi. Fry for a minute. Then add chopped green chillies, onion and hing. Fry onions till it gets golden brown.
3. Add turmeric powder, ginger - garlic paste, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala. Fry for a minute. Then add tomato paste and some salt. Add some water and bring it to boil.
4. Then add paste of peanuts, sesame seeds & coconut powder & water. Cook for 10 minutes.
5. In mean time, make slits to eggplant (don't cut end). Shallow fry or deep fry them till they are 80% done.
6. Add these brinjals to gravy. Then add salt, tamarind juice, jaggery. Cook this gravy on medium heat till brinjals are 100 % cooked.
7. Garnish this with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with pulao, biryani or chapati.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Title : Got interested in cookingReview : Hi Sanjay I have never cooked in my life. I am 67 years old and you got me interested in cooking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks a million. Now I will never go hungry or never eat in restaurant. My wife is a great cook so I never got in to cooking. By watching your videos I started cooking. I made Nan, Dosa, Tandoori Chicken, Meduvada and Dahivada, Sambhar etc. Ev ery item I cooked from your video came out excellent in first try only. This is called Vah chef so the appropriate name. I am so excited that I even cooked for my friends and guess what they enjoyed it. They didn\'t believe me at first since they know I never cooked before in my life and they were scared to eat whatever I cooked. So Thanks Sanjay I appreciated your video and keep it coming. I am going to tell my wife to post her some great recipes.. All your recipes are great.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
This is an easy to make eggplant fry, which goes extremely delicious with rice and dhal. We really enjoyed this combination.BTW I didn’t make this,,,my beloved hubby kumar made this for me from his favorite cookery show(Vahrehvah). I am just posting this recipe to encourage him (hope he like the encouragement and will make more yummy dishes like this..he..he).Here is recipe how he made this….
Eggplant – 1(big)
Chili powder – 2tsp
Turmeric Powder – 1/2tsp
Salt – 1tsp
Rice flour – 2tsp
Eggplant Before cooked
Cut the eggplant into thin slices (1/2'' thickness) as shown in picture.
For marinating mix chili powder, turmeric, rice flour and salt. Apply this dry mixture on the eggplant both sides.
Once its cooked remove from the pan and do the same with rest of the pieces. Serve it with hot rice and dhal.
I am sending these eggplant dishes to pooja's Vegetable Of The Week-Brinjal.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Sanjay Thumma's Chicken Tikka Sanjay Thumma's Chicken Tikka is chicken cubes marinated with Indian spices and cooked in oven. Traditionally they are cooked in clayoven called tandoor. "Today I'm going to show you how to make another kabob, Chicken Tikka... For chicken tikka, I usually use thigh meat.
"...You need to remove any moisture that is there on the meat because you want the marination to stick well. So, I did that with this chicken and I cut them into nice, small pieces. Now, I'm going to make the marination to go along with this.
"Half a teaspoon of chili powder, a little bit of cardamom powder, a little bit of the --- mehti powder - that is the fenugreek leaves. And use a little bit of garam masala (hot masala). And use half a teaspoon of Coriander powder. Remember one thing, do not add to much of these masala powders because when you make chicken tikka, you want a less masalas possible, because you don't want these masalas to get burned and that could make it a little bit bitter..."
Sanjay Thumma has graduated from India's Top "the Indian Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition". He Won the prestigious Gold Medal All-India chefs competition for culinary arts for his Recipes. Been "Chef"ing in "7 Star Hotel Restaurants" serving Heads of the Nations, at Delhi. He is a computer techie. Created his own Digital Video Studio. Licensed to fly solo. He is not only a great chef but a connoisseur. Passed out from nations top Management Institute (Welcomgroup Management Institute)
Monday, February 18, 2008
Posted on February 17, 2008
Filed Under entertainment |
In recent times, I have been noticing a huge paradigm shift when it comes to online recipes. In the past, anyone who wanted to cook something would go to a recipe site, print out the recipe and then try to follow it. In the last couple of years, I have been noticing that the shift is towards online video recipes. The difference now is that instead of just having a recipe to print, you can also view the video and see how the recipe author intends for you to make the recipe. This is especially useful for new cooks, bachelors and people who are not familiar with all the ingredients in a recipe. With the popularity of blogging and podcasting, the trend these days is for recipe video podcasts and video blogs.
In my quest for Indian cooking videos, I discovered that there are a couple of online websites that are mainly video recipe blogs. A site I found called Sailus Food has mouth watering pictures of recipes. There are no videos of recipes on this site though. For video recipes, there is a site called VahRehVah.com which is run by a chef named Sanjay Thumma. Being a chef, Sanjay has lot of valuable information on his website and has plenty of videos to chose from.
The other site that I really liked is called ShowMeTheCurry.com. This one was started by two Texans, Hetal and Anuja who demostrate how to make various Indian dishes in layman terms. Besides, they have great personalities. I happened to watch a live video chat they were having with their viewers and I was amazed by how they could keep their viewers engaged for a whole hour.
This past weekend, I made Chicken Biryani, a tasty Indian recipe that is very popular among those who love Indian food. I followed each of the steps outlined in the video and guess what, my dish turned out fantastic. My family could not beleive that I had made it by following a video.
After this experience, I am convinced that this is the way to go when it comes to recipes.
Monday, January 7, 2008
I love trying out new recipes from blogs and other websites. One such website is vahrevah.com. The chef, Sanjay Thumma demostrates excellent recipes. These can also be found on youtube, rediff and some other websites. I love this recipe for chicken chettinad, which is different bcos it does not use coconut and is therefore healthier.
The recipe for karela curry is from one of my fav blogspot, Shaheen's. The recipe can be found on Shaheen's blog. Thanks Shaheen.
250 grams chicken cut into small pieces (boneless or boned)
2 piece cardamom
2 stick cinnamon
3 piece cloves
2 tsp coriander pdr
1 tsp red chilli pdr
2 tsp coarsely crushed pepper corns
1 tsp cumin
2 springs curry leaves
1 tblsp fresh chopped coriander
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
3 gr chillies
1 tsp mustard
2 tblsp oil
1 large onion
1 tsp lemon juice
Heat the oil in a large pan. add mustard and cumin Add finely chopped onions, and fry till the onions turn light golden brown. Add turmeric, ginger garlic paste, curry leaves, and green chilli and saute for a while.
Add chopped tomatoes . . Then, add the coriander powder and salt and mix well. Add the chicken to the frying pan and mix well, and cover and cook over a low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Add a little water only if u need it. The chicken gives out some water. When the chicken is almost done, add the ground pepper into the mixture and mix well. Garnish with green dhania. sprinkle some lemon juice on top.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
It has been so long and I have been wondering where you were. It is so weird. I have been married for about 10 years now Sanjay, and one fine morning my wife suddenly announced that she was interested in learning to make new dishes. I was thinking to myself that finally good times have arrived.
Imagine my surprise when I went to Youtube to search for Indian cooking, and clicked on the first video that came up! I was shocked to see the face of my dear childhood friend. I knew you were a good cook, but I am really excited and happy to see your website and your videos. Obviously things have changed since we last met.I wish to tell all your vahrehvah users - I AM PROUD TO SAY THAT I AM PROBABLY THE FIRST PERSON OUTSIDE SANJAY'S FAMILY TO EXPERIMENT AND SURVIVE HIS COOKING HOBBY. Those were the good and happy days and I wish to share some very intimate moments of our childhood to give you a glimpse of this man. Sanjay me and other friends spent a lot of time together as young boys and had very happy days going out hunting, fishing and biking in the wilderness around our homes. Almost 27 yrs ago, with home-made bows and arrows, home-style kind of airguns, and our friends parents calling us 'dennis the menace' characters, we proudly roamed the streets of this beautiful green township called BHEL. We had so much freedom in this township and if at all a kid had to grow up and be a kid it was this place. My childhood was beautiful and I am so glad I spent it with sanjay that you know today as 'Vahchef'. Yes Sanjay Thumma was a good childhood friend! - Maybe not the model kid, but so much fun to be with!
I don't think I should elaborate too much and describe ALL the adventures we did and how many times we were caught red handed by our parents. (We were called pittala doras :) because all the time we used to carry catapults at our waist and hunted for birds. His hunting skills extended beyond just the birds that fly and I must say there are a lot many girls who still remember this crazy hunter : )
I was so happy to see that you mentioned my name together with all our friends when you shot the Sooji Halwa episode at Vahrehvah. You actually remember all our friends and that is so good. While my wife and I were watching you skin a chicken you claim to have learned this "fine skill" at catering college , but I think all your friends will testify that at age 10 we saw you do it similarly with the birds we caught. I can go on and on with adventures of our childhood – but all I want to say is that I am so happy to see you play this role on the world stage and internet these days. Instead of just influencing me and few others pals, it is nice to see you influencing what happens in so many kitchens.
Why are you not telling your audience the truth about the fishing and fish eating episodes. I remember that eating fish we caught on the spot was your specialty- I still can remember when you would lit a flame even before we put the bait for fish! I remember how much fish used to be your passion. So when I saw you eat the fish and show the full bones – I was thinking that only your friends would understand where that devotion came from! Good show!
Anyway keeping aside my friendship. Honestly I think this is a wonderful service to the food loving community and I sincerely hope that you make it to the top and stay there. As some of your visitors have indicated, it is indeed addictive.
My wife may not realize it, but she is helping me to relive my childhood adventures and giving me the true taste of my memories literally.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Restaurant" delight at home. Via Vahrehvah.com
Tandoori Turkey - http://simpleindianrecipes.com
'Tandoori Chicken', the name itself makes mouths water. It is a traditional chicken dish and originated in India. The chicken is marinated in yogurt and tandoori masala and cooked in the 'tandoor'. Tandoor is a cylindrical oven with a very high temperature. The tandoor generally maintains temperature as high as 800 degrees F. Those of us who know about 'tandoori chicken' know it as a restaurant delicasy.
My knowledge about 'tandoori chicken' is that it is a restaurant dish made in the tandoor and cannot be made at home. After I started cooking, I've made tandoori chicken with the store bought 'tandoori chicken' masala. It tasted excellent. But I never even imagined that we could make the same tandoori chicken at home from scratch with ingredients on hand. It was only after I saw the 'big' chefs video that I knew about this. I did gave a try and guess what??? The results were more than excellent. It is so easy to make for pot luck parties because everything goes into the oven in one shot.
Being from kanyakumari district, I'm a strict non vegetarian. I've had all kinds of non veg dishes. One of my favorites is 'turkey'. Coming to the US, I was very very fascinated by the 'Turkey' legs. I always wanted to try making that at home with indian spices but had many doubts about whether the spices would enter the meat etc. After seeing vahchefs video, I became really confident and went on to try 'tandoori turkey'. His idea of making slits really worked and even the innermost meat was full of flavour. Now tandoori turkey has become one of our new family favorites.
This net is surely an amazing place, making a non-cook like me brave enough to try and experiment with stuff that actually tastes good is not an easy task.
Well, this happens once in a while with www.sailusfood.com
but I found yet another amazing video cooking site www.vahrehvah.com
Check out the pictures and judge for yourself..
Fry marinated shrimp 450 gm (corriander powder, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric, ginger-garlic paste) in oil, few at a time and keep them aside.
Soak Basmati Rice for 30 minutes and cook with oil, spices, and salt only 85%, do not cook rice completely.
Fry yoghurt, spices, green chillies, corriander, mint, biryani powder, etc. and add fried shrimp to the mixture, stir it once and add the semi-cooked rice and cook it for not more than 10 minutes.
That rose is also by me... yay!!! (patting myself on the back)
Sunday, February 3, 2008
No higher compliment can be paid to the Artist - the Master - the Chef Sanjay Thumma We love you so much
This is Aruna here from Troy, MI…It was wonderful to watch your video demos. Very userfriendly website you have. I too have a great passion for cooking and always love to make restaurant style food. I learnt many many many many tricks from you. You are awesome sir. I am addicted to your website. See… one day I was surfing the net for Diwali dinner menu and some how I ended up on your website. I felt like I got the Alibaba’s khajna(treasure)..I was so much exited and felt like I should cook all those recipes in one day…Immediately I emailed your website to all of my friends and relatives and now some of them are addicted to your website like me I tried your Veg pulao, Naan, matar paneer, Malai Kofta, beerakai chutney, Chicken Biryani, cucumber dal and jeera aloo. All came out fantastic..everything was perfect. I love naan and now I learnt the perfect naan from you. Only thing is my chicken biryani was burnt but I got an explanation for it from you only, in your next cooking demo…so next time I will be careful about it. I have taken some pictures of the dishes I cooked according to your videos demos and I will send it you. I have posted a recipe of Veg hakka noodle on your website which I learnt when I was in India last year…I had it at one restaurant in Kolhapur where they are using star anise to spice up the noodle and it really goes well. Also I will post the recipe of pandhara rassa(white goat curry kind of soup and tambadda rassa(red goat curry) very soon This is a specialty of kolhapur you might have heard about it. There are many people out there, who have a passion for cooking, but very few can show it by putting their own efforts in to it for free and you are one among them. Hats off to you sir. Actually I was thinking how I can appreciate your great work and then I found a poem on internet that goes perfect for you…
This is my small token of appreciation especially for you from me and my hubby Raj (Basavaraj)……by the way My hubby loves you so much…
Like an artist with blank canvas, he creates a masterpiece His goal - to provide his guests with an unforgettable feast With skillful hands and talent, he makes light work of it Chopping, mixing and stirring until all the pieces fit With pride he serves each dinner, inspecting each fine detail It must look flawless in his eyes if he is not to fail His reward is smiling faces, empty plates with nothing left
No higher compliment can be paid to the Artist - the Master - the Chef Sanjay Thumma We love you so much. ……When I saw Dahi-wada 100++ I was thinking ye 100++ ka funda kya hai? But now know………..Congratulations on completing 100 video demos…...Keep up the good work…… I would love to say Thank you from bottom of my heart to your Father who inspired you. You guys are great. Regards to your parents, Regards to you and your friends who are helping you with this great work. Aruna & Raj.
I am a new member at Vahrehvah.com and I am not that great a cook (I will be some day)– but right now I love food to no end. I also got my mom to try out some of your creations and now I have not only got her hooked onto my favouite website, but I also enjoy some superb cooking.
But I am writing to you not because of the videos – which are no doubt great…But I am most excited about the link "Vah photos" – The reason is that I am a self proclaimed restaurant critique and am putting together a collection of food reviews for restaurants in the greater New York area. I also enjoy photography a great deal but I am yet to see food pictures that have the same quality that is in Vah Photos. This link is truly amazing. I could not believe my eyes when I saw that you have allowed these pictures to be royalty free. That is practically giving it away! And that is most generous. Not many people who take pictures of this admirable quality allow it's free use. The fact that you not only allow its royalty free use, but have posted such multitude of breath-taking shots, goes to prove that you practice what you preach about inspirational cooking.
I was brought up to believe that there is no free lunch – but I am so thrilled to see that it is not the case on your website. Not only is the lunch free, but it is in beautiful glorious pictures for all to enjoy! What can I say?!! Vah reh vah… truly!
And as a gesture of gratitude for your generosity in distributing royalty free food pictures, I have decided to do you a favour in turn and tell all my friends and acquaintances of your website so that you have a bigger fan following, a much larger community and everybody benefits in turn.
This is community at its best. Hats off!
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Thursday, January 03, 2008http://saffrontrail.blogspot.com/2008/01/low-fat-restaurant-style-matar-paneer.html
Hello and glad to see you in the new year. Trying to stick to my resolutions (to blog more regularly) - I was ready with the draft 3 days ago, but that's when respiratory infection and bronchitis caught up with me and has kept me down for over 3 days. In Bombay, the temperature difference is well over 15 degrees between day and night, leading to an epidemic of sorts in respiratory infections. The only times in the last three days I've managed to drag myself into the kitchen, is to make a huge pot of Molagu Rasam (Clear pepper soup), and keep warming it up in the microwave, sipping the spicy liquid through the day. Apart from that, my diet has generally been antibiotics, antihistaminics, expectorants and mucolytics. Sounds like quite a spread right??
Back to the topic of the post - this is one dish that is an extremely popular Indian curry - the origins as far as I know being Punjabi in nature, the land where paneer has been predominantly used since many years. If one has paneer and frozen peas, this can be made out of the stuff you'd normally have in your pantry, bailing you out, if you got a day late in replenishing your stock of vegetables.
For a person who cooks almost 3 meals each day, it's odd that I rarely make the typical restaurant style Punjabi dishes like Malai Kofta, Makhanwala and the likes, going mostly with the more earthy simple dishes, where veggies are not drowned in rich gravies and recipes which give veggies more respect than that! However on a whim I decided to try out this matar paneer curry, also since I had nothing else in my refrigerator that evening, except for the staple onions-tomatoes-ginger and garlic.
The recipe here is adapted from a food video prepared by Chef Sanjay Thumma. You'll find plenty of his videos on rediff iShare, youtube and his own site. Ofcourse, this is a much calorie cut version of the same. You could watch his video for a richer, creamier version of the same. But hey, does the title of the post - 'low fat' 'restaurant style' sound like an oxymoron? Well, if you ever try this recipe, you'll know what I mean :)
Matar Paneer ( Indian curry with green peas and cheese )
Category - Vegetarian side to be eaten with rotis, parathas or rice
Time taken - Around 30 minutes
Serves - 3 to 4 people
1 tsp oil
1 tbsp broken cashewnuts
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes finely chopped
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp finely chopped garlic cloves
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1-2 tsp coriander-cumin powder or 1 tsp each
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup frozen or fresh boiled peas
200 g paneer cut into 12 cubes
1 tsp kasoori methi - dried fenugreek leaves, crumbled into a rough powder
1. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed wok. Start by sauteeing the broken cashews till lightly golden.
2. Next, add the chopped ginger-garlic and onions and cook on a low flame with a pinch of salt till they soften and turn light brown.
3. At this stage, add the tomatoes with the turmeric powder. Stir well and cook for 5-7 minutes, till mushy.
4. Remove the contents of the wok and blend to a fine puree in a blender, once cooled throughly. You may use upto 1/2 cup water to aid the blending process.
5. In the same wok, transfer the fine puree. Season with spice powders (red chilli powder, cumin coriander powder, garam masala) and salt. Simmer for 3-4 minutes till the gravy is infused with the spices.
6. Add the frozen / boiled green peas to this gravy and simmer for 5 minutes, after which the paneer cubes go in. Simmer for another 2 minutes, check for salt, sprinkle crushed kasoori methi and give it a stir.
7. Matar paneer is ready to be removed in a serving bowl.
Serve hot with rotis, parathas, naan or plain steamed rice seasoned with cumin seeds.
I personally prefer to have this with a plain tandoori roti or a phulka as the dish is quite heavy, it is better balanced by a lighter bread. A raita on the side would be nice too, or a simple cucumber salad.
It's perfectly okay to use store bought paneer.Using paneer made from skimmed milk at home will further reduce the calories from fat keeping the protein content intact. In restaurants, this dish is made with plenty of ghee /butter, a large chunk of nut paste (almond or cashew) plus a dollop of fresh cream added towards the end to make it even richer.
This version uses just one teaspoon of vegetable oil and the small quantity of cashewnuts are enough to provide the rich creamy restaurant taste without the added calories from fat. The key to a delicious gravy is to not skimp on the onion sauteeing and make a really fine puree using a good quality blender. The pinch of kasoori methi in the end makes all the difference in giving that 'restauranty' flavour.
Vegans can substitute the paneer with tofu or boiled-drained soya chunks (sold in Indian stores under the brand Nutrela).
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Wieder mal auf wikipedia und was sehe ich da!
Okey,...ich hole etwas aus!Es ist Sonntag 16.14 Uhr – ich bin noch im Bett – habe vom Tag nichts gesehen...ausser die Sonne, die am Morgen aufging als ich auf dem hei(ve)-weg war – jetzt ist diese nämlich auch wieder weg...scheisse!Was macht man an solch einem Tag ausser nachdenken, falls das noch möglich sein sollte!...man geht surfen! Das ist der Vorteil eines Sonntags...man hat keine Verpflichtungen und fragt sich auch nicht wieso niemand anruft! Super, die besten Voraussetzungen sind gegeben um sich im Internet zu verweilen! Achtung, die eigentliche Post kommt gleich ;-)Ich muss zugeben, die meiste Zeit verbringe ich auf Youtube, aber auch auf Wikipedia.Seit ein paar Monaten bin ich ja vom Koch-virus infiziert worden – es ist wirklich krankhaft – ich möchte immer kochen: vor der arbeit, während der arbeit und nach der arbeit...manchmal auch nach dem ausgang, aber das ist eine andere Geschichte!Seit ich auf Youtube den Inder Sanjay Thumma traf, ist der Virus endgültig ausgebrochen – ich glaube, die Krankheit ist unheilbar!!!Sanjay gibt Kochkurse im Internet – GRATIS, SUPER und COOL! Ich schaue mir seine Sendungen soooo gerne an, weil sie «einfach» awesome sind!Geile Rezepte super professionel vorgezeigt!Die Gratis Kochsendungen – vahrehvah.com Ich finde es nett, wenn andere Menschen ihr Wissen im Internet veröffentlichen oder eine Plattform dafür bieten...das muss man unterstützen!Aber bei mir hat es erst so richtig «klick» gemacht, während ich bei meiner Sonntags-Kochlektion nach der Gewürzmischung «Garam Masala» suchte! Wie immer gehe ich folgendermassen vor: Neues Fenster, wewewedotgoogledotcom, «suchgebriff», klicke «Auf gut Glück!» und lande meistens auf wikipedia...hmm!Ich lese den Eintrag und was sticht mir plötzlich ins Auge?! Ein Name, Moritz Zumbühl!! ich konnte es fast nicht glauben – gäll, das glaubsch sälber nöd mo...es war lustig und ich war irgendwie nicht mehr alleine ;-)Jetzt muss ich auch mal Spenden! Hier ist noch der Post von Moritz mit der aufforderung zum Spenden. Fertig! Ich muss jetzt kochen!! Habe es für euch festgehalten...
We were looking for a good recipe for butter chicken and came across VahRehVah which looks to be a great resource for Indian cooking ideas.
We were looking for a good recipe for butter chicken and came across VahRehVah which looks to be a great resource for Indian cooking ideas. Many of the recipes have videos including this one. I think we’ll be looking there often for inspiration since we are so into Indian food lately.
4 tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 c. cashew nuts, chopped
1/3 c. cilantro leaves + a few sprigs for garnish
1 jalapeño, diced
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. ginger paste+ 1 tsp. ginger paste for another step
1 tsp. garlic paste + 1 tsp. garlic paste for another step
1/2 pt. fresh cream
4 tbsp oil
2 sm/med. onions, chopped
2 lbs. chicken breast
1/4 c. water
4 tsp. Red chili powder divided into two 2 tsp. piles
Salt to taste
1 tsp Sugar
1 lb. tomato, chopped
a few squirts of tomato ketchup
In a medium size bowl add 1 tsp. ginger paste, 1 tsp. garlic paste, salt, 2 tsp. red chili powder. Cut chicken into small bite sized pieces and thoroughly coat in the mixture.
In a good skillet, add 4 tbsp. oil and fry the coated chicken in the oil until the pieces are about 3/4 of the way done. Remove from pan and set aside.
To the leftover oil add cumin seeds, cashews, coriander powder, 2 tsp. red chili powder. Roast mixture, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. Add onion to the mixture and saute to soften (2-3 minutes).
Add 1 tsp. ginger paste, 1 tsp. garlic paste, chopped jalapeño, and chopped tomato, cilantro leaves & 1/4 c. water to the mixture and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes (or until tomatoes have broken down), stirring occasionally.
Now add the mixture to a blender or food processor and add melted butter and cream. Blend until a smooth consistency. Now taste the sauce for the right amount of spice & salt. If it’s not spicy/salty enough add cayenne pepper and/or salt, to taste, and blend some more.
Return the sauce to the pan and add chicken (and any liquid that has settled from the chicken) and a few squirts of tomato ketchup.
Stirring occasionally, cook for another 10 minutes over medium-low heat (or until the sauce is thick to your liking).
Serve over Jasmine rice and garnish with cilantro.
image from vah-photo's
In Telugu there is a saying for Vada or Gaare “ Thinte gaarelu thinu … vinte Bharatham vinu.” Which means tht “Do either of the things … Listen to Bharatham or Eat Gaare.” They compared the taste of Vadas with the holy bharatham.Any festival is not complete at my house without these vadas. We used to eat hot when my Mom used to prepare. I know only eating at that time. After marriage I didn’t made my husband’s favorite vada for 8 months. Now, for Pongal I made vadas and took them for a get together too.Learnt From:I discussed about vada with so many. But finally I learnt it from Vahrehvah.As per my view Vada is very tough. Keeping that impression in mind … I have not even tried it for 8 months which is my husband’s favorite dish. Later I made a trail of it. Actually I have grinded the batter very tight without adding any water. I don’t know how to dip the batter in the oil to fry. So I made punugulu on that day with tht batter. When I was doing for the second time my husband told me how to dip the batter in the oil. But the taste was not good.After that I came to know about this Vahrehvah site.. After watching that site again I made an attempt. He demonstrated in a very nice way. What he told about aeration has worked out for me. Vadas has come very soft and fluffy. My friend Kalyani told me to mix chopped onions, ginger, and coriander leaves. The taste is good. But still shape of the vada was not good.In the forth trail when I made for Pongal gathering … I was able to dip the batter in his way. That made me happy. Now I am confident in making vadas. Click on this link to watch his video. Type "Medu Vada" in his 'Recipe Search'. Try making vadas after watching his video.
The Indian Chef is now a Million Hit Net Wonder!
What made him a phenomenon in such a short time? He even had to upgrade his web servers to cope with the deluge! Yes he is different. How different? To know firsthand you must log on to his site www.vahrehvah.com.
But let me continue, there you will see hundreds of very high quality web videos, many of them guarded top recipes straight from the kitchens of highly acclaimed and world famous "seven" star restaurants. Equally presented are many secret "Home Cooking" recipes from the kitchens of moms and grandmas. These videos became such a big hit in the net, even India' NO.1. news portal in the web decided to invite him to be a content partner and his Lemon Rice recipe received 10,000 instant hit on their homepage. The step by step details shown in these videos and the many intricate "secrets" revealed along the way has created many fans among the net generation, who is after him asking for more!
Where does he come from and what makes him click? Here is what I found out-
Sanjay has graduated from India's Top "the Indian Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition".
He Won the prestigious Gold Medal All-India competition for culinary arts for his Recipes.
Been "Chef"ing in "7 Star Hotel Restaurants" serving Heads of the Nations, at Delhi.
He is a computer techie. Created his own Digital Video Studio. Licensed to fly solo.
He is not only a great chef but a connoisseur. Passed out from nations top Management Institute (Welcomgroup Management Institute)
Now, let me go into the details...
Indian food has never hit as high a peak as it is doing today. There is a great fan-following as well. Many new Indian restaurants are showing up all over the world but many of them with a standardized Indian Menu without many choices.
Enter Sanjay Thumma. A rising bet on the food market. This story goes beyond accomplishments. It goes on to pre-view the fact that he has outgrown many admirable
milestones to spill over into the world canvas. And even that somehow sizzles. Many professional chefs have contributed by writing books and doing shows. But I get this feeling in my gut that this time he has the formula to put it all together. You can get fragments of putting together Indian food from You tube, Google or browsing the shelves at "Borders". But then you crave to get it all in one place. Your couch..
I had a chance to meet this phenomenon called Sanjay Thumma recently when I was hunting for advances on great, authentic, Indian fare. As the world does these days, I headed to my address book and contacted the Mid-West food gurus and heard the new buzz surrounding this gourmet guy. Some thing is in the air they said. So like any self-respecting journalist I decided to check my facts on this other buzz called Google.com . And Lo and behold!! I quickly set up an appointment to meet face-to-face because this promised to scream for really big attention on the food channels.
If you have been googling food and food videos or if you are an ardent food enthusiast and love experimenting anything Indian in your kitchen at home, I suspect this story will only help sI had a chance to meet this phenomenon called Sanjay Thumma recently when I was hunting for advances on great, authentic, Indian fare. As the world does these days, I headed to my address book and contacted the Mid-West food gurus and heard the new buzz surrounding this gourmet guy. Some thing is in the air they said. So like any self-respecting journalist I decided to check my facts on this other buzz called Google.com . And Lo and behold!! I quickly set up an appointment to meet face-to-face because this promised to scream for really big attention on the food channels.ubstantiate what you already know and add to the buzz that had existed as a beta out there for a little while now.
It is called www.vahrehvah.com Your ultimate destination on the web for anything that is culinary or culinary Indian on the world-wide-web.
I quickly fixed a date and time and waded my way through four cameras, the maze of wires and stacks of recording equipment at his set in the heart of down-town Chicago. I wondered if I had come to the wrong place. The strains of someone faintly singing wafted through the outer receptacle. I quickly recognized the Bhairavi from "Shankarabharanam".
"So this is what you have been up to", I told the culinary sensation when I finally dragged him away from the hustle and bustle of the spanking new culinary studio.
"What was with the music"? I asked him as we sank into a sofa nearby.
"Oh it helps me relax between shoots" he tells me. I raise my eye-brows.
I can actually smell the rise of stardom. I can smell that over the other aroma in the air. Somewhere in my sub-conscience I am also distracted by the aroma of garlic swimming in traces of chili and curry leaves .
"What's cooking?"I asked Sanjay.
"Oh I am trying to selling the world on healthy, authentic and fresh cooking with fresh ingredients and today it was "Chicken 65" which I just finished demonstrating and recording", he says with a faint smile.
I am tempted to ask him if I can stay back for lunch. He eases my discomfort.
"Would you like to stay and get a taste of the fiery Chicken 65?" he volunteers.
The "Sure" came out faster than I intended.
We walked past a sound engineer lost in adjusting what seemed like a million dials on a computer monitor and sat down to a simple meal of white rice, yellow dal, Egg Pulusu and a very large tub of Yogurt. I later found out that this gourmet likes to eat simple food with his trademark generous scoops of yogurt.
"Why so much yogurt?" I ask.
"Oh, we grew up on it at home" he volunteers. It turns out that the home of this fantastic cook has roots in yogurt-lovingwww.vahrehvah.com Hyderabad in the Southern, Deccan plateau of India. In the heat of Hyderabadi summers where he grew up, yogurt pretty much starts and ends lunch and dinner I find out.
"So where did you get your inspiration to cook?" I gush. I want to know what makes this man ? or any great chef for that matter, to devote a entire life and what they do to a passion such as what goes on over a hot, burning, uncomfortable stove.
"That would be my mom", he says. It turns out that Sanjay eagerly jumped into the kitchen at a tender age of 8 when his favourite person and his mother - the chef in his life; was hospitalized for a month. He jumped right in and took over. I was amazed. I learned that he was learning how to make rice, basic dal, vegetable preparations and even chappatis at 8 years of age!
It naturally led to a passion to make it to Culinary school. In 1989, the Indian Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition" ? a large name for an institute I must admit ? was a rather difficult place to get admission. Approximately few 100 thousand aspirants all over India battled a written exam and then went through the coals by a very determined, famed and respected author called Thangam Philip who was one of many on the selection panel who in the midst of squinting, analyzing and grilling youngsters, decided on 900 of them that would make it to go through a gruelling culinary course and join the glamorous profession. I somehow felt that in the depths of a kitchen or in the nooks of a hotel room all glamour becomes work. How else would you explain the passion of the hospitality crowd?
"So tell me more about life at Culinary school?" I am eager to know.
"3 years of basic, quantity and exquisite, specialized cooking eventually in the final year" I learn. That is amidst hard and long hours with hands-on field experience in 7-star kitchens across the country. The whole thing is administered by the Ministry of tourism which at that time was nudging the Hotel Industry to churn out world-class products to put Indian hospitality on show at the world stage.
Sanjay was an amazing product of the Food-production lab. A friend and old time colleague who was watching his production unfold on the set tells me that Sanjay was a bit of an extrovert - jovial, enthusiastic, hard working academic who not only went on to win the gold medal in 1991 at an All-India competition for culinary arts with a dazzling array of original recipes but then also managed to come out right on top when he got selected from among thousands of campus and other applicants to join the prestigious "Welcome Group Management school" with its haloed portals and training labs located within the revered portals of the 7-star "Maurya Sheraton" in New Delhi.
Much of what he teaches the world and dishes out as fare at his restaurants was learned at the feet of renowned Chefs and tried and tested on elite guests that frequent Delhi?s Maurya Sheraton (Bill Clinton was apparently a fan?.all presidents from G8?.wow!). he quiet calmly tells me that the high point of his career was making the simple and humble omlette ? for none other than 7 heads of nations at a G15 summit in New Delhi. Whew! And later at the 5 star property of the group at Park Sheraton in Chennai. A lot more got added along the way when he moved to other properties within the group like the Rajputana Sheraton in Rajasthan and the Moghul Sheraton at Agra. The last pit stop was at the Welcome Group property at Vadodara. Moving to Chicago in 1997 set Sanjay up on the ramp to much bigger things when in 2 short years he wowed Chicago with what would be billed as the most authentic taste of India in the chain of restaurants that he set up. He decided to elevate his status from chain restaurateur and decided to take an early retirement.
I could have laughed. Geniuses do not retire. They take long business-plan vacations. One lazy morning he woke up to put his dreams into a studio of all things. Complete with camera, lights, wires and plenty of action.
Restauranting is limiting to an extent. It takes every moment of your waking day leaving very little time for new things. So I am not very surprised at Sanjay?s shift to something much bigger on the world stage.
The dawn of the internet has made a few stars out of ordinary people with access to a decent camera, and bandwidth to the great www. The sprouting of YouTUBE and the social network has every enthusiast searching for answers out there.
It was only a natural progression to see this gourmet hit the airwaves with all guns blazing. On September 10, his gourmet site went into a soft launch. Vahrehvah.com has the potential to shake up the Internet food portals like no other Food site has.
We were interrupted (TWICE!) Once by an international phone call. It was an excited young desi viewer from Germany who called to tell him that she loved his show. I was not surprised. Then he gets a call from Dubai. I smile. "Move to Hollywood" I tell him. It would suit the lifestyle. He shrugs it off.
I spent a couple of hours on the site this afternoon and the layout and design is built intuitively with allocated space for recipes classified by their origin and place on the food chart as well as by course on the menu. So for instance if you were to have a craving for Shahi Nizami cuisine and had some Chicken in the freezer and felt like making a lip-smacking entree out of it, all you have to do is access vahrehvah.com and search by chicken for an entree and Voila! You not only have the detailed recipe and cooking method and ingredients listed out but the amazing thing is you also have a video demonstration of the dish being prepared in Sanjay's chirpy and laughingly humorous manner. That is what is interesting too.
I am an amateur cook myself who loves experimenting with odds and ends in the kitchen and sometimes I fancy walking into my kingdom and churning out a Nizami delicacy. What I like about Sanjay's site is that the video actually takes me through a step-by-step process to explain exactly how to go about a www.vahrehvah.com acomplishing this. For someone like me-and for you too I am sure, looking at it being prepared tells you exactly when to throw onions into the pan or why does mustard have to crackle or even what exactly goes into the Tandoori Masala you go and buy at the store. To me that rocks! It quite simply allows Mr. Nobody to impress friends and family with learnings from a gourmet. Suddenly I am chef somebody and my kids love it. I dare say I even have my wife talking about it with her girlfriends.
"So what are the plans for the future?" I want to know. "Are you going to be on Oprah?"
He smiles. "A long way to go", he tells me . The plan is the way most websites go. It's a free lunch for now. Literally!!! His pal having lunch with us said "Well free for now". But Sanjay shot me a glance. "I will keep it free for always he says". I have my doubts. It is a large venture with real costs for electricity, ingredients and manpower, hosting and development for the website and constant maintenance. Its a tall order to keep it free. Sanjay wants to eventually do DVDs next year to generate a revenue stream. But for now, you are in control. You want your lunch free, log on, register and enjoy it while it's still free out there. Sanjay hopes to perhaps get food majors and constituents interested enough to allow him to keep the venture free.
His true passion is to get the word out about how we can cook and eat healthier with fresh food and authentic recipes. What I truly like about the site also is that it is participative. It does not lock the user out. In fact it locks them in. They register, they get hooked on his easy style and humor and ability to laugh at himself. Before they know it they are enthusiastically commenting and he is inviting them to post their own recipes on the site. A separate section on the website allows the user to claim their own spot of fame by posting recipes and videos that contribute to even more participation from fellow users. "This is going to be a food community soon" I inform him.
"I know", he says.
It was irresistible. I had to go back and see what was being made today. So here I am. I am going home to try and make the Dum ka Murg tonite. The aroma on the set got to me. It looks good on the site when it was uploaded. Maybe I need to pick up some Dalchini on the way home. Thanks to Sanjay I know it's not going to be authentic without these seeds of Cassia. And now this amateur chef is empowered!
Go check it out yourself. And you will be too!
2/12/2007 by Joseph R Lima