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 Home > City Resources > Food & Dining > Cooking tales

 Cooking tales  

Tarla's magic formula to a man's heart

Dear Tarlaji, thank you for the recipes you had sent my husband. HeCook it up with Tarla Dalal prepared the 'Quick Aloo Mutter & Plain Paratha on his own. Now it seems that I have competition in the kitchen. - This is one of the 100 E - mails, the veg cuisine queen, Tarla Dalal, receives every day. An 8-year old from Haryana calls up her office for an alternative ingredient, not available to him. Mails from NRI wives travelling to India for a holiday, desperately requesting quick easy-to-cook recipes for their husbands to make, flood her mailbox. She is the lady who made vegetarian cooking a delight, even before the world moved towards vegetarianism.

Which other lady can teach you the easiest way to a man's heart. Tarla Dalal has sales of over 1 million cookery books to her credit, is part of the kitchens of over 20 million Indian homes, has women glued to her show 'Cook It Up With Tarla Dalal' and over a million men thanking her for honing their wives' culinary skills.

Tarla with her meets India's best selling cookery author, Tarla Dalal, at her office-cum-kitchen, where some of the best recipes are born.

Experiments are on for baby food, puries galore with potatoes, beetroot, raw bananas, pumpkin, onion, in every permutation and combination. Three chefs and 2 nutritionists share her passion for cooking as they join her in her food-adventures. Together, they keep the value addition going at her interactive website and churn out the best for Tarla's exclusive cookery books.

The lady herself is a delight, bubbly and excited to talk about the subject close to her heart. "I was 9 years old when I first started cooking. Like in most traditional Gujarati families, we girls were taught cooking at an early age. Then I learnt to make only Gujarati food," says Tarla, on her first experiments with food. This passionate spark was kindled after marriage, when her husband, an avid food lover, encouraged her experiments. After her family members were smitten, she moved on to share her skills with many enthusiastic women. Soon there were long queues of brides-to-be, housewives and even working women fighting for their place in her cookery classes. The Khaleej Times in Dubai said - 'Tarla Dalal has streamlined eating habits in India.'

Cooking is fun - Tarla She travelled the globe with her magic formulae visiting Tokyo, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brussels, Antwerp, Lisbon, Zurich, Nairobi, London, Toronto and New York. Every city added to her culinary knowledge, while she made foreigners and NRIs more kitchen savvy. "Though I have travelled around the world, most of my recipes are born out of experiments from books. I have modified the recipes and ingredients to suit Indian tastes and even changed non-vegetarian dishes to suit the vegetarian palate," she says. "Foreigners, unfortunately, do not take very easily to Indian cuisine because of the hot spices. I was amazed when my recipes for poori-bhaji and raita became a hit with the Japanese and had the local people literally licking their fingers," she adds.

Tarla is a trusted household name, with little need for aggressive publicity. "There is a lot of competition in the market, with many cook book authors and several food websites. But I try to stand apart offering simple, easy to try recipes, which work even for the uninitiated. I double and triple check my recipes for flaws and miscalculations in measurements and only when I feel that the outcome is perfect, I go ahead and publish it," says Tarla, a perfectionist to the core. With just her name attached, her books cross sell each other. To stay on top of the cook book field, she publishes Tarla with her son, Sanjaysome of her recipes in established publications like The Indian Express, Mid-day, Afternoon, Femina, participates in programmes on radio and television, has book launches and judges competitions.

Today, at 65, she and her son, Sanjay Dalal, successfully manage her website, her company Tarla Dalal Cookbooks, and are on the threshold of launching 'Tarla Dalal Homeware.' She will soon lend her name to exclusive table cloths, aprons, kitchen gloves, table mats and coasters and a myriad of other kitchen and home related accessories.

So, the next time you are worrying what to make for dinner, remember the magic words 'Tarla Dalal.'

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