Hi!! Welcome to my Dastarkhaan. I am Haala. I have a Masters in English literature and an MBA in International Business. I am a home maker and I take a lot of pride in my work. I am a food lover, food photographer, traveler and people lover. I live in New Jersey with my soul mate, Muyeen and 2 boys, Aryaan & Kiyaan.
I believe that life is the biggest blessing is living it with happiness and contentment, it is actually a person’s biggest achievement. I am fortunate to belong to a family who share my belief. Cooking has always been my passion. It’s a stress buster and we as a family love trying new cuisines and flavors.
I have always loved the fragrance of spices and had keen interest in cooking from as far as I can remember. My grandmother and mother have always been appreciated for their dishes by family and friends, and as a little girl, I always dreamt to be able to cook the same way, some day. Luckily, my Mother in law is a great cook and my husband from his early childhood tasted great food and is a big fan of food made by his eldest sister.
My cooking took a new turn 13 years ago when I took up my new job as a “home maker”. Coming to USA after getting married to my super techy husband, who is the world’s best “food critic” according to me, gave new definition to my food experiments and exposed me to new parameters of flavors and varieties. He just didn’t help me look deeper and enhance my cooking skills but also helped me broaden my view about looking at food and flavors. The growth as a home chef and personality changes, that I see in myself are amazing. This website a gift from my better half is his way to appreciate my talent and being his soulmate is truly my life’s biggest blessing.
I belong to the “sun city” of India, “Jodhpur” & after being married to the man from “garden city “of India, I proudly belong to Bangalore/ Bengaluru as well. We love traveling as a family and indulge in a lot of outdoor activities as well. Every trip helps us discover new places, culture and cuisines. Though a hardcore fan of Indian food, I appreciate cuisines from all places. I abide by strict rule of not intermixing flavors while trying an authentic dish. I love fusion dishes but, I do not like the idea of changing the flavors of an original dish that you might be trying for the first time. My personal favorites are Indian, Mughlai, Italian and Malaysian.
In the world of today, where take away foods are available at click of a button and frozen food is the easier and a cheaper option than to buying ingredients and cooking time, I choose the alternative of spending my time cooking for my family and that’s a suggestion I give to others as well. Your health and body are what describe you. Trying different foods is great but making it a habit might have you suffer consequences that might be hard to reverse. Specially, when I learn that teenagers today are not able to boil an egg, it kind of makes me rethink of what kind of examples we are setting for them. Make your cooking time happy by learning it through easy steps at your own pace.
Most dietitians suggest eating what your grandparents were consuming and that brings us back to simplifying and purifying what we consume. As much as it is difficult to produce food as pure and good as their time, even our eating patterns and our taste buds these days are so demanding that pure food might feel tasteless. I know it sounds funny but, it’s kind of the reality these days. When I changed cooking from a hobby to getting into details of food is when I discovered that a little bit of time and effort makes your health, body, soul and most importantly your taste buds happy. Let me get this clear, I am not a diet freak and my food isn’t made for patients either but, I believe in taste with proportion. I think whatever you eat should be made the way it is supposed to be made. Using olive oil in place of ghee and air frying in place of deep frying actually makes me cringe. My idea of good food starts with a masala chai made with whole milk to a Parantha loaded with pure ghee and halwa made with real sugar. You have one life; make it happy, beautiful and flavorful. So, eat food that brings a smile to your face, something that makes your heart happy, food that satisfies your soul and in between those beautiful meals enjoy a few flavorful dishes that keep you healthy to add more taste to life.
Going back to cooking your meal, Kitchen is the warmest place in your house. It is the heart to your home. It needs to be the place that spreads most happiness, like your heart spreads love. Anything and everything made with love and smile turns fabulous. Put on your favorite music and cook what you love. Don’t blindly follow a chef, follow someone like you. Someone who cooks for people. I have messed up so many dishes following chef recipes step by step and resulting in dishes that turn out awful, until I discovered that those dishes displaying aren’t meant to be for real people. They have a crew setting up things, correcting mistakes, enhancing colors and make things look larger than life. Real life and real people is a different ball game. The recipes you will see on this website are all food made at home, by me, pictures taken during the actual process and easily doable.
Believe me, once you get the hang of cooking your food, you will never go through the frozen food aisle of your favorite grocery store again. Cooking is divine and simple. All you need is someone to teach what you enjoy. It does not have to be time consuming and you just need someone to guide you.
I teach people how to cook. I offer courses in person as well as online. I teach everyday food that can be cooked fast and are satisfying with delicious taste and I can also help you cook a seven course meal for 50 people in your own kitchen and get all the praises. Cooking is beautiful, and anyone who loves good food can easily learn how to cook.