Learning to cook Indian food can be intimidating. There are often many ingredients. In addition, the timing with the spices is especially important to preserve the fragrances and flavors of authentic Indian food. As a result, we often tend to give up. But you don’t need to miss out. Learning to cook Indian food with a trained chef such as Chef Raina can help overcome some of the fears and improve your skills. Choose among simple iconic dishes, such a samosas, or go for an all out 3 course Indian dinner and start cooking like a chef. As a plus, these classes are meditative, healthy, and suitable for all dietary needs including vegan and vegetarian, as well as gluten free. Online Indian cooking classes will allow you to explore Indian recipes and Indian food from different parts of the country.
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We interviewed Chef Raina, culinary professional with over 5 years experience and a long time passion for Indian food
How did you start cooking Indian food?
My passion has been cultivated by watching my grandmother cook with so much care and love. Seeing her put her heart into what she did drew me to the kitchen.
It led me to doing my homework on the kitchen stool, where I sat and learnt a lot by just observing her, which eventually made me LOVE cooking.
What is your oldest/fondest memory regarding food and cooking?
Some of my fondest memories are of me standing on a step-stool & eating raw chopped vegetables & discovering their original flavour.
I also remember developing the taste for spicy food with my father. Close to where he worked, a famous roadside food vendor sold the best wada paos (Indian burger) and coconut water. It was our favorite monsoon snack.
You have a passion for international food. What made you develop such interest?
To be honest it started with my love for pizza’s!!
When I moved to New York, my husband and I explored a lot of different kinds of authentic foods that I had never heard of.
I learned how deliciously different our ways of cooking are, yet still beautifully connected when we cook & enjoy food.
You embarked in this adventure of online classes, and you started making your first sales. Congratulations! What made you realize that you could share your passion with others through video?
After the pandemic hit, I started meditation and mindfulness cooking and it really helped me. I was reading articles about the mental health being affected by lack of activity and socialization because of COVID and I thought I should share this with others. It’s fun, you’re keeping yourself safe, healthy and fed while virtually making a friend!
Your strength is online cooking classes featuring indian recipes, what is your most fun class?
My favorite class to teach is the Big Indian Lunch.
It’s a 2 hour long class and it really helps me connect with my students and teach them a lot more about spices and share stories about my culinary experiences. Also, my family loves feasting after class!
When I think of online indian cooking classes, I imagine it is challenging to teach such aromatic dishes without being able to smell them. How do you compensate for this challenge online?
That’s where I use mindfulness to describe and help them visualize my experience. The key to good cooking is nothing but the emotion with which we cook, and I teach what cooking is supposed to feel like instead of what steps are to be followed for the recipe. Because we have all forgotten that! I believe that a dish even if made incorrectly can be tastier if it’s made with love!
I know you also developed recipes for dog treats. I am sure many readers will be curious about how to do this. Can you tell us more? What kind of food do you prepare, and is it easy to make at home?
The dog food and treat recipes that i develop are all vegan. It’s extremely easy and healthy, kids also love making it!
All you really need to start with is a base grain/oatmeal with some mashed fruit, unsalted vegan peanut butter & some fun bone shaped cookie cutters-which are really just for you. & you’re good to go!
What's next? Do you have any new ideas coming soon?
I have a few dog food classes coming up next along with an authentic pickle making class! I am also writing a cookbook to share my childhood favourite recipes. My husband (who is also a foodie) and I, are planning on making some podcasts this year!
I also got selected to be a part of the ‘Favourite Chef’ competition & made it to the top 15! You can vote for me here!
Education- Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Studies
Experience- Over 5 years of professional culinary experience as a personal chef, runs a catering company in New York City called ‘Khado Khado’ and also hosts virtual Mindfulness Cooking Classes on Nailit.
Check out the latest classes here!