My name is Swathi (Ambujom Saraswathy), and I was born and brought in Trivandrum Kerala, India and currently living in Texas USA with two kids and hubby. After finishing my PhD in Microbiology I got chance to work in Japan, Sweden and US as part of my postdoctoral studies. I got married in 2004 to a wonderful person who supports me in everything and had my first born girl in 2009 and then had a son on 2012. After having kids, I prefer to take care of kids and started this blog as hobby.
My hubby is the primary taste tester and also the critic and photographer. Now my toddler daughter also joins the taste testing group.
Whatever I write in this blog, is my view.
Why did you decide to start a food blog?
I used to write my recipes, and sometimes the ones that I found from cook books and other sites in my note book. I had completed almost two books, when my hubby said why you don’t start writing a blog. That will be a written online record compared to these books. I started blogging as a written record for my daughter who someday might be interested in cooking. I always wanted to exchange ideas and get tips from others about various dishes. And in the process if I could helps others then it would be a great feeling.
Cooking means pleasure or to kill time how you define it?
When I am young and living at home with my parents I did not even make a single cup of coffee, however all that changed when I started living alone during my postdoctoral studies. I started cooking as I had no other option. I was in Japan and eating out was not always possible for me and I would only get only few dishes that interested my palate. So I decided to venture into the world of cooking. Since I had not learned anything from mom or grandma but having only watched them cook, I learned most of the dishes from my friends, internet, and from my dad memories of how mom used to cooks.
Now it has become a pleasure and takes away most of the stress and I also enjoy various cuisines which I haven’t heard about before.
Since internet is flooded with food blogs, what makes Zesty South Indian Kitchen differs from others and why somebody needs to visit them.
Yes a reader has lots of option to look at various food blogs. Zesty South Indian kitchen contains recipes tested in my kitchen and it has been approved by two toddlers and my food enthusiastic hubby. I always try to give an honest option about the dishes; if it is failed I won’t hesitate to put in the blog. I always think of the people who take the time to read my blogs and perhaps spend their energy and valued materials in making this dish. Hence I always make sure to give an exact idea of what you can expect with a dish and explain thoroughly the step-by step with pictures and explanations and the approximate time you need to make the dish.
Recipes Zesty South Indian Kitchen comes from family, cookbook or other sites?
A bit of everything from my family and friends, cook books, magazines and also other sites. I am grateful to grow up with great cooks like my mom, grand mom and also now around mother-in-law. I always try to learn new culture, cuisine and my hubby also supports this effort from his heart.
What kind of recipes is presented in Zesty South Indian Kitchen? What would you say is your specialty? What “does best”?
Zesty South Indian Kitchen contains a mix of everything, traditional Indian dishes, along with international dishes. You can also find more street food favorites from other countries. I also like baking.
I bake bread, cake and cookies etc. I consider baking bread as a pleasure, and for me the smell of fresh bread from the oven is intoxicating (like a person who sees bottle when he sees booze).
What, so far, would you say has been more successful?
If a reader who sees the recipes and spend his /her time to make the dish and finally let me know that it turned out well and rekindled some of memories, then that is most appreciation, award I can get it.
Taking step –step pictures are they too complicated?
Not at all, they are so simple. When a reader look at the recipes it will be easy to understand the pictures and get an idea of process and final dish. I believe a picture is worth a thousand words. If time permits in future I would love to do a video along with the recipes. I am not interested in putting same pictures in 3-4 times or to make it as art.
Does Zesty South Indian Kitchen contain more Kerala recipes?
No it contains Kerala, southern part of India cuisine as well as other part of Indian Cuisine along with International cuisine. Kerala cuisine is the one I grew up with so I have a special attachment to it.
Do you consider yourself as a master chef or do you have any room for improvement?
I don’t consider as myself master chef, and I have a lot to learn. There are vast varieties of cuisine and I haven’t touched a handful. I need to learn a lot and cook a lot and that is my dream.
Which camera do you use?
I use Nikon D 5000 with 50mm lens, and at times 28 – 55mm lens, for my food photographs and most of time the food photos are taken by my hubby. Since I have a 4.5 year old toddler around and 2 year old, they need constant attention, and hence my pictures are very simple, and like to show food as such, and not with expensive props and angles. If I am looking for angle shoots, props and lights, my food then perhaps with the help of my daughter will be in all places including the floor in a split of second. So we will take pictures according to whatever is possible. But I would love to learn how to take food pictures like the pros. Perhaps this will be a long process….
Finally I would like to thank my readers, and blogger friends who give me valuable and critical comments for improvement. I have also made a lot of friends through this blog.
So hang in there with me in kitchen for the various recipes and tidbits.
Welcome and see you here.
Please contact me at [email protected]