I was for long a much pampered daughter among three siblings in an ideal Assamese family. Yes, I belong to the Emerald Valley, “Assam”; the north eastern glory of India. For the uninitiated, Assam is famous for one-horned rhino and tea. I grew up amidst the beauty of Brahmaputra and the flavorful Assamese cuisine. I cherish, I love and I live this food. I am proud to be called as the Kharkhowas –a classic Assamese delicacy.

But, household work was not my cup of tea for a long time. When I had to move for higher studies far away from home, I had to for the first time face the real life challenges like cooking, planning out the menial day-to-day chores.

My tryst with cooking started with a half-cooked dal (lentil curry) for my family and bloomed into romance, cooking myriads of delicacies ranging from desi to sushi for an army of friends.

My stay in Bangalore was unforgettable also for another incident. I had landed from my birth home to “Muniappa’s home” – home away from home. It was like what Gokul was to Lord Krishna. I was adept at cooking dal and brewing Assamese tea by now, but, sharing the kitchen with Preethi, Pallavi aroused an interest in trying my hand at various cuisines. I saw Dakshin (South-Indian) cuisine beyond Idli, Sambar and Dosa. The new recipes tickled new taste buds of mine. In a way my initiation to cooking and travelling started here.

My first partner in crime in experimental cooking was my dear elder brother Ankur, an unexpected partner at that. We used to turn traditional dishes into an unimaginable fusion, like Aloo Dum – Chow Mein. As this shared interest over fusion cooking grew, so did a new chapter with my brother. It was an unforgettable time of experiments, incidents, and accidents and creations.

My real test of cooking came with marriage to Biman and later on with my girls, Inakshi and Ayona. When I moved to Bahrain, my socializing started in full swing. Festivals, Poojas, Parties, endless events had necessitated me to start my journey with cooking and hosting. The encouragement and appreciation that ensued this, changed the day-to-day menial routine of cooking into my passion. Springing up surprises on my unwitting friends became a habit with me. I love spurring up new dishes with whatever is available in my pantry in a jiffy. This passion has now encouraged me to go one step further in sharing my food diary with you all.

My travels have influenced the way I see, think and perceive food. The way I see a place, understand its culture is through the prism of the colors and smell of food. My inspirations for fusion are greatly inspired by them. Come and enjoy this journey with “Petite Chef”, Manisha and my “Big Platter”.