Mums and stories features this time Archana from Hebbars Kitchen -a popular blog that showcases Udupi cuisine and many other varieties in vegetarian dishes.
Archana is based in Melbourne, Australia and it was interesting for us to have her share her story recollecting her childhood memories, her journey in setting up her venture and understanding the positive influences in her life including her mum and her husband.
“Having a twin brother made me luckier; as I was never left lonely. My days were always fun-filled and happy. And thanks to my mom and dad as they were fulfilling all my needs.
I was always accompanied with my brother. We were in the same school; same class, same books and carrying similar bags with different color. We always were getting special attention in school for being twins. And yes no one believed we are twins as we were quite distinct from the other.
Like most siblings we were also known for our quarrelling. And I was always initiating the fight and believe me or not it was never ended by me There was a principle followed in our house by my dad and mom; you are never questioned whose mistake it is; but both will be punished. So we were trying to sort out things between us rather than complain to parents.
But later things got changed after my 12th grades. My brother joined NIT and IIT for his further studies so our path became different.
To speak about the interest in cooking, I actually learned to cook after got married. I really didn’t cook much before as I was never away from home and my mom used to cook and feed me whatever I was wishing for. However, I could do easy stuff like rasam and dal. I wasn’t really worried about it because my dad always says, “if you can prepare typical Udupi rasam deliciously, then you can cook anything.”
Obviously, it’s not quite as simple as that, but yes it’s really not that hard. It just takes practice and a little trial and error. My passion for cooking started all because of my husband Sudarshan who has been fond of Udupi and Indian cuisines. And in Australia, it is very difficult to find Udupi Cuisines. As we all have heard “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” I decided to cook and experiment myself.
My mother and father were a wonderful influence in my life and as a child, I sat on the kitchen counter along with my brother watching them cook authentic Udupi cuisines and noticing them carefully with their perfections and the sensitive to smells, tastes, and colors they were adding to the food. So I guess unknowingly I understood the art and science of cooking.
But I started to experiment and learning from my mistakes. I had lots of bad experiments like burning up tawa’s, forgetting ingredients and also sometimes complete messed up my kitchen. As we all learn through experiments, so did I. Thanks to my husband for helping me to learn from those failures and teach me kitchen skills and what not to do next time.
I remember my mom as a magician in the kitchen and my biggest inspiration; I loved watching my mom prepare delicious and fulfilling meals with ease. Though cooking had always been a hobby, and it turned to passion and began to take it seriously after getting married and moved to Australia. Moreover, my husband encouraged me so much in cooking and creating Hebbars Kitchen blog, which motivated me to try out authentic Udupi and Indian cuisines further. Now we can happily eat authentic Udupi cuisines without much hassle.
Everyday I receive hundreds of messages and photos of recipes they try from my recipes posted on Hebbar’s Kitchen. It is really a great honour to get such a positive feedback and responses from your followers. I even get countless of recipe request to post on my blog. So my husband and me work together and decide which recipe to come up next. It is so heart touching when you receive thanks giving mails for posting recipes. One of our followers, named Lakshmi (Principal of Chethana Anikethana MBA College) had written a beautiful mail which touched my heart.
We all know the google can throw up any recipes we desire, but the authentic recipes are very difficult to find. So to cook authentic Udupi cuisines I always end up calling my mom, grandmother and mother in law for the tips and variations to make the dish perfect.
Writing recipes and making videos of authentic Udupi cuisines is always a challenging task. As we being from South India, Udupi; which is well known to many as the ‘vegetarian hub of Karnataka’ and mind-blowing food. Our followers expect it to be perfect. So we work a lot to make our recipes perfect, simple and healthy.
I would like to share few words, which might be beneficial for every mum over here.
Cooking is an art rather than a task. So never force your child to learn cooking. If they really wish to learn then it is good to teach some skills on cooking, as it will be beneficial always. So whenever your child cooks; he (she) must cook with love and definitely it will turn up yummier than ever. More importantly, preparing food really calms anyone down. So it is a best way to cope with stress. And also cooking involves taste, smell, touch, sight and a right combination of spice and flavours. So always enjoy the moment of cooking. This will help you and your family to enjoy healthy and nutritious homely cooked food.
I love to experiment in cooking, especially when the recipe involves lots of fat and calories. Every single mistake I make in the kitchen makes my next dish better, since I always try to learn from those mistakes. However, some times I just follow up traditional cooking style as it is tried and tested and followed from following traditional recipes to imbibe same rich flavors of spices and aroma.
Most of the time my husband and me cook together in kitchen. And here is the thing; my husband is a fabulous cook. He helped and encouraged me to learn many things after getting married. I can guarantee, he cooks far better than me but just that he is lazy. I have heard a lot about his cooking stories from his friends. Just mention any dish of your choice he follows his instinct and prepares it yummier. I am a big fan of his collection of chutney recipes and biryani.”
Wishing Archana all the success for her blog and life.