Heart to Hearth Interviews

Cookbook author Chandra padmanabhan interview

It was back in 1992, when I received a birthday gift that sparked my interest in South Indian cooking. It was Chandra Padmanabhan’s Dakshin, which went on to become a bestseller among cookbooks. I tried one recipe after another, and […]

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Vijaya Mehta

The serenity and finesse with which she runs her household are truly admirable. Although she grew up in Maharashtra, Vijaya Mehta’s love for Rajasthan is palpable; her charming residence at the heart of the Pink City bears testimony to this […]

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The Perfectionist

As anyone from the Sheherwali community (also known as the Oswal Jains of Murshidabad) will tell you, while chopping vegetables or fruits, the knife should not leave its mark on them. Nothing is cut in a random manner. For instance, […]

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Sundari

“I enjoy learning and experimenting,” she says. It is a simple mantra that reflects her zest for life and keeps her young at heart. For Sundari Ganesan, a TamBram living in Mumbai, variety is truly the spice of life. With […]

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Wheat Kheer

As soon as I entered their Coimbatore home, I was struck by the simple and sweet aura that surrounded this family. Everyone gathered in the room, happy enough sitting around and giving their inputs as I spoke with Alamelu Srinivasan […]

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Rajalakshmi Sampath

The more I admire my friends, the more I want to meet their parents. This curiosity often stems from their underlying presence in many of our conversations. They are mentioned when we are discussing traits or habits or even likes […]

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Kameswari Kunapuli

Beautiful and gracious. And rivetingly multifaceted, as her friend Sitaji Kolluru, who introduced us, had so aptly described. That’s Kameswari Kunapuli, a classical Carnatic singer and teacher from East Godavari, now residing in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. Sitting in her outer […]

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Reddy Sisiters

Our mother’s pakodi kurma is an all-time family favourite to date as is her simple milky drumstick curry,” echo the Reddy sisters. Listening to them talk wistfully about their mother’s cooking, it was obvious that the taste of her food continues to […]

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Sunandaji & Surendra Singh Pokharna

Last month, I received an SMS from my sister-in-law Indu Chordia: “Come home, I want you to meet a very special couple and yes, be prepared to speak in pure Rajasthani.” I laughed to myself but agreed. Even though I […]

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Talented Rajasthani Sudha Nahata

Whether it is special vegetables like chakki ka saag and pachkuta or rice dishes like kabuli pulao, she grew up seeing her mother and grandmother mix the masalas themselves even though the kitchen was the cook’s domain. Indeed, 71 year-old […]

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Ajeeta Mehta

What struck me when I stood in her kitchen was her sheer efficiency—it was neat and tidy, with well-planned cupboards stocking a wide range of ingredients. She deftly placed the jars of ingredients required for the recipe on a tray […]

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Raw Mango Chutney

Come summer and she is off to the vegetable market, looking at the heaps of mangoes and choosing the best ones: for pickles, chutneys, jams and squashes. She started by making it all for herself. As friends and relatives tasted […]

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Leela Krishnan

Hailing from Palakkad, Leela Krishnan is a Tamil Iyer who has been living in Chennai for the past three decades. Having heard her grandson Thejas wax eloquent about her cooking, I was led to her cosy residence in Kalakshetra for […]

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Champa & Brij Bhushan

They have both been engineering students, they have both been teachers, and they have also worked together in their own company. Their common interests extend further—to travelling, gardening and cooking. When they speak, you hardly notice when one stops and […]

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Nirmala Mardia

“There is no greater joy than cooking with your own hands and serving your loved ones,” says 67 year-old Nirmala Mardia, a Rajasthani Jain from Chennai. She enjoys cooking a wide range of dishes for her friends and relatives. In […]

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Kamini

She composes poetry on instant demand at weddings and get-togethers; she dances with a grace that defies her age; she sings melodiously (the ghazals she has performed for All India Radio are proof enough); she has performed in front of […]

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Tara Dakliya

I have known of people competent in arts and crafts, people who specialise in their professions, but this was something I was hearing for the first time! Eighty year-old Tara Dakliya is a Sallekhana specialist, known in the Jain community […]

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Chandri Bhat

The lanes of her life seem to have gently meandered towards culinary excellence. Almost as if she was destined to find her life’s calling and joy in food! This 60-year old food connoisseur, researcher and cookery expert needs no introduction… […]

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Rita

I went expecting some delicious Bengali vegetarian recipes and an interesting conversation. But when I left, I carried back an experience that was so poignant and unexpected—of seeing a family where caste and class distinction have been erased, paving the […]

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Sumitra & Pratap Toliya

Way back in 1974, the Jain community was astounded by the release of two audio clips of the Bhaktamar Stotra and Atma Siddhi Shastra. The music was soulful and the voices mesmerising. Steeped in devotion and spirituality, these LP records […]

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