How so many Indian moms wear the chef hat as well at home

Today's kids are is blessed to have moms who are open to experimenting and creating new kinds of baked foods. Some popular dishes include homemade pastries, tarts, chocolates, even homemade ice-cream.

By Chef Mukesh Rawat

A modern Indian mom is more than a caretaker, often a breadwinner, a domestic engineer and chef. Increasingly, she uses appliances such as cooking ranges, mixers and grinders, juicers, microwaves, hand-mixers, traditional ovens and others essentials in a modern kitchen. Moms in Indian homes are becoming experts in using such appliances to make all kinds of mouth-watering dishes. In this endeavour, they are also helped by online cooking channels and recipes available online. A question that is increasingly being asked is, are Indian moms gradually becoming accomplished home chefs as well?

How Indian moms are turning chefs

Baking has always been popular in Indian households. Since childhood, most Indians have been treated to cakes by their moms. Every child has memories of licking clean a bowl of batter before it entered an oven. Indian moms have always enjoyed cooking for their children. Today’s generation of children is blessed to have moms who are open to experimenting and creating new kinds of baked foods. Some popular dishes this generation of children regularly enjoys include homemade pastries, tarts, chocolates, even homemade ice-cream. Learning how to make such desserts isn’t easy, but many urban Indian moms have donned the avatar of chef and mastered cooking them.

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Indian foods are still favourites

While children love desserts, it is the main course that is the centre of attraction and essential for good health. Indian households have always loved dal and roti. This combination of food is a staple in most Indian homes regardless of income. Other types of foods increasingly popular in India and which advertise the chef like qualities of Indian moms include tandoori chicken and malai kofta. While earlier such delicious delicacies were usually enjoyed in restaurants or ordered in, today’s young urban moms, often assisted by their maids, don’t shy away from cooking such dishes in their kitchens.

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Traditional Indian sweets remain popular

Every Indian has a sweet spot for traditional Indian sweets. This is one reason why traditional Indian sweets like gulab jamun, kheer and others continue to be prepared in increasing numbers in Indian kitchens. It helps that the batters and ingredients needed to prepare such foods are readily available making preparation easy and quick.

Western main courses

Until recently, western foods weren’t popular in Indian homes. It has only been in the past few decades that pizzas and hamburgers have grown in popularity. Today there are an endless number of establishments making and selling pizzas, making things even more exciting is the fact that many Indian moms have mastered how to make pizzas as well. The pizzas served in Indian homes are however different from those sold at fast-food outlets. The women are open to experimenting with foods, which is why pizzas cooked by them have a heavy Indian flavour. Vegetables such as tomatoes are often used as toppings and chicken pepperoni is often replaced with chicken tikka. What really makes their quality as chefs stand out is their grasp of what their family is likely to love. This is why pizzas topped with tomatoes and chilies are such a big hit. Indian moms understand that members of their household will love such combinations which were unknown before pizzas become common in India.

Hamburgers are another popular cuisine in India. But hamburgers cooked at home are different from traditional ones. A hamburger in an Indian home is likely to not contain meat. Rather the meat patty is likely to be replaced by with one made of potato. Such burgers are likely to be served alongside large helpings of tomato sauce, just like hamburgers are in the West.

With all the dishes Indian moms have mastered over the past few years. It’s fair to ask whether they’re part homemaker and part chef. Young Indian children and adults in urban homes are indeed spoiled for choice as they gorge on delicious ice cream, cakes, gulab jamun, traditional Indian cuisine, authentically Indian pizzas, and burgers.

(The writer is an Executive Pastry Chef in Academy of Pastry Art India.)

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