Cooking is a passion for many of us, but there is something special about Bangalore based, 61-year old Santosh Bangar who dishes out some really simple, easy to prepare and light on the tummy food, that is sure to bring a smile across our faces.
She started her food blog ‘Santosh’s Kitchen’ just a year ago, and already enjoys a huge popularity from around the world and has a fan following of 245 members who avidly follow her food blog on easy to make, home cooked food.
A lawyer by profession, Santosh Bangar has always been interested in cooking from her childhood days.”My mother was a great cook and used to experiment with a lot of dishes. Everyone used to love her food and this inspired me too,” remembers Santosh. Some of her mother’s favourite dishes that she fondly remembers are Zarda (Sweet Rice), Onion parathas, Kabuli chana, Rajma, Pathod (arabi ke patte ke pakode).
How did it all begin?
Right after she got married, Santosh and her husband shifted to Raebareli, near Lucknow and lived in a cozy colony with 100 families from various parts of the country. “We used to have frequent family gatherings consisting of potluck style parties, that gave us a chance to show-case our culinary skills,” quips Santosh.
She further adds, “Everyone loved the food prepared by me. I also got a chance to learn recipes from my friends belonging to different states of the country. After a short stint of practicing law, I decided to be a home maker and enjoyed cooking different styles of dishes for my family and friends.”
The first dish that Santosh made was Kabuli Chana under the guidance of her mother for her family. The dish was admired by all and with that started a new culinary journey.
How did the blog ‘Santosh’s Kitchen start?
“In today’s fast paced world, I see my children having no time to cook due to hectic office hours. So I decided to start a blog especially for this purpose to promote simple and easy cooking without compromising on taste and nutrition. I experimented on how a dish can be simple, yet tasty,” says Santosh.
She started her blog around a year back and was inspired by her daughter’s sister-in-law Shanthi Krishna Kumar who was visiting her daughter at that time. It was she who helped Santosh come up with this food blog. She was not aware that one could create food blogs earlier. When she came to know about Shanthi’s cooking blog, she says, “I instantly felt that I should also start something like this to showcase my passion for cooking and to reach wider audience.”
She further adds, “My main objective of this food blog is to inspire the young generation to not consider cooking as a burden, but to love it and also find a way to be healthy. There is a trend of fast food, which causes health problems as we all know, but our kids still stick to it either due to either negligence or laziness.”
How does she come up with simple and tasty cooking?
She sincerely feels that the priority of good and healthy food still exists in this world. Since people are more health conscience, this acted as a catalyst to start a food blog which can help others to fulfill their sense of taste and meet their health requirements.
Santosh regularly watches cookery shows and also surfs several food blogs and then experiments with new dishes and tries to come up with her own versions. Some of her favourite and most interesting recipes are Dal-Baati ,choley bhature, corn cake, vegetarian egg, eggless dates and walnut cake.
Memories of Food
One of the few things that she notices fast disappearing from the daily household kitchen are:
i) Chutneys ground on stone or the traditional pestle and mortar which give a totally different taste than masalas ground in an electric blender.
ii) Homemade sweets and biscuits that were not pretty to look at like commercial ones, but were tastier and healthy.
iii) Homemade chips and papad that have been replaced with processed ones.
iv) Homemade snacks have been replace with junk food.
v) Homemade drinks which were fizz and chemical free.
Followers of Food
On asking her how does she feel on having more than 200 fans following her food blog, Santosh replies, “It feels great to be recognized by everyone as it gives a sense of achievement and belonging. It also inspires me to try and experiment new recipes and share with my friends online.”
Don’t miss the simple household tips that Santosh regularly adds with her recipes. If any of her readers have a doubt, they just drop in a line and she promptly replies.
What are the five most important tips while preparing a dish?
Santosh shares five important tips for personalizing your cuisine:
i) A dish should be prepared keeping in mind the likes and dislikes of your guests.
ii) Always taste the dish for salt, sugar and spice before and adjust if required.
iii) The appearance and presentation of a dish is as important as the taste.
iv) Prepare food with love (very important); it shows.
v) Prepare a little extra quantity than required, to avoid embarrassment of its shortage during a party.
Santosh Bangar can be contacted through her blog – http://santoshbangar.blogspot.com/.