The Lady Who Cooks Nourishing Delicious Food
I like to regularly check out William Sonoma’s Instagram to get cooking ideas. One day I noticed the delicious dishes prepared by Meera Nalvadi and started to follow her on her website, https://www.nourishdeliciously.com and Instagram. As the name of her website suggests, her food is both nourishing and delicious.
Recently, I had the opportunity to interview her via email correspondence. In the interview, Meera shared her cooking philosophy and talked about how her childhood experiences at home influenced her present-day cooking. She also gave me some tips on how to cook food with turmeric and what new discoveries she has made in her recent trips abroad.
Q: Your food looks so delicious and healthy, how do you come up with these recipes and when did you start cooking/writing for the blog?
A: I started cooking when I left home for university. I learned the basics from my mother who taught me a lot about choosing ingredients, preparing and recipes that I grew up eating. I started my blog in 2014 when I decided to chronicle all the dishes my family loved to eat. My inspirations are from my travels, cookbooks, favorite bloggers and of course my mother.
Q: About how many times do you have to make the food on your blog before you are satisfied with it? What are your conditions for final acceptance?
A: Some of the dishes on my blog are family favorites that have been made several times before. I usually make them at least two times before I post them. I make sure the measurements are accurate and I’m satisfied with the flavors.
Q: On your website, you mentioned you grew up in India. India is famous for its many spices such as turmeric, coriander, and others that are good for people’s health. Do you have any suggestions for cooking food with turmeric?
A: Sure, yes, turmeric is essential to Indian and my cooking. When using turmeric it is important to add some fat and black pepper with it. The chemical compound curcumin in turmeric is best absorbed by the body with fat and black pepper. I use turmeric in lentils, curries, I add a pinch while cooking rice sometimes and my favorite is turmeric latte. Turmeric is a versatile herb, it has a mild flavor so add it to pasta sauces, grilled food, etc, it doesn’t affect the flavor of the food and only adds a bright yellow color.
Q: How do you choose your vegetables? Do you buy them from the supermarket or do you buy them from farms? Any suggestions for cooking vegetables to the right texture and taste?
A: I prefer choosing fresh seasonal vegetables as much as possible. I’m lucky to live in California. There are many fruit, nuts, and vegetables. I prefer buying them from the farmers’ markets, but supermarkets most times.
Q: Which style of cooking is your favorite: grill, stir fry, boil, steam, etc?
A: I love to grill and stir fry as they add so much flavor to the veggies. I also love raw veggies in salads with homemade salad dressings and veggie curries. I find my children enjoy veggies in curries and eat a lot more veggies that way.
A: My favorite spices are turmeric, cumin, coriander, and black pepper. With just these four spices one can create a delicious meal without too much effort. I love all herbs; I especially love oregano, and cilantro; I feel they transform a meal.
A: When I travel, I pick up lots of local ideas for recipes. I recently went to Thailand and it was an amazing experience. The local Thai food was nothing I had ever eaten before. One of the local restaurant chefs was kind enough to show me how she made her red curry (I have that on my blog). Another example is the Berber omelet in Morocco, a local traditional lunch item, but never seen or heard outside of Morocco. I wrote a post after I returned but never got to post it, which I will do shortly.
Q: The summer is approaching. Could you recommend some dishes that are suitable for the season?
A: We love summer grilling and love to grill vegetables and fish. Summer is also great for salads. My favorite summer recipes are inspired by the Mediterranean-Asian region. I have a few favorites on my blog.
Q:How do you balance nutrition and taste or is a balance even required? In summary, what is your cooking philosophy?
A: Ah! This can be tough. My philosophy is to practice moderation, take time to enjoy your meal, and eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and lentils with a little fish or meat are delicious, satisfying, and important for staying healthy.
It's also important to treat yourself and enjoy a piece of cake occasionally. The important thing is to enjoy everything in moderation.
(Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Chia Berry Jam, Courtesy:https://www.nourishdeliciously.com/)
We thank Meera for taking the extra time for sharing her cooking during her busy schedule. Please do check out her website and Instagram (@nourish_deliously) for nutritious and delicious food ideas and updates.