Chandigarh author and cookbook, gives homemade food a gourmet twist

From participating in a cooking competition to running a catering and hospitality business with her husband, urban entrepreneur Seema Sharma has come a long way.

Sharma’s love for the culinary arts blossomed nearly a decade ago when her son entered her into a cooking competition.

Her love of food and cooking led her to her first book, Recipes, which launched here on Wednesday.

The book packs in a robust lineup of vegetarian recipes that give homemade dishes a gourmet twist.

So you have Asparagus chai, paneer jalebi, pasta in brinjal sauce, bharwan ghiya, polenta sticks with sarson ka saag… just to name a few.

Sharma said: “Food plays an important role in our home. When we want to receive guests, our first concern is the menu. I’m sure the situation is the same in most households. That’s why I decided to put together a collection of recipes that make everyday dishes tastier and more exciting.”
Sharma likes to experiment and this is reflected in the use of ingredients in her dishes.

To make it a complete package, Sharma has packed everything from non-alcoholic party drinks, snacks, main courses to chutneys, rotis and desserts.

Vrat (fasting) dishes also take place in the book along with a section – Instant Cooking. “There is a growing demand for quick-to-make recipes, and I’ve provided some tried-and-true options for those who aren’t looking forward to spending too much time in the kitchen after a long day of hard work,” said Sharma.

The entrepreneur is a self-taught chef and a fan of the famous chef Marut Sikka. “I find his gravy and cooking style similar to mine,” she added. Sharma’s no-fuss style and love for black pepper are most noticeable in her recipes.

“I highly recommend using fresh vegetables and masalas as they are healthier and add flavor to the food,” said Sharma, who took nearly two years to put together all of her recipes.

“While this book mainly shows North Indian food, my next book will feature regional flavors from other parts of India,” Sharma said.

While she’s left out non-vegetarian recipes (she’s vegetarian), the author believes this is her USP. “You don’t often experiment with vegetables and I like to do that. These recipes have been tried many times,” she said.

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