I love people who love food and for whom cooking is a joy. Today, I have for you a good friend, a foodie at heart, a very accomplished Dietitian and a Health Consultant who loves to cook for her family and is very good at it too! I am so happy she agreed to appear on my space because she truly is a star!
Padmashri (Pallavi) Shanmugaraj, is a Registered Dietitian with Thirteen years of progressive experience in patient counseling, Corporate Wellness Programs, content writing, Academics as well as Recruitment and Training of dietitians. She is the Managing Partner at Prime Health Consultants.
Pallavi, who holds a Post graduate Diploma in Dietetics & Hospital food Service from IHMCTAN, Mumbai also does nutritional assessments, menu designing, effective management, nutrition intervention amongst many other things.
Mother to two lovely sons, she is humble, down to earth and has a magnetic personality. Listen to her kitchen story in her own words, where she also shares some of her personal favorites along with few recipes.
“My husband and I know each other since seventh grade! No, we weren’t childhood sweethearts, we were just the best of friends. We used to visit each other’s houses regularly too!
We got married after 13 years of knowing each other. The girl he knew was a single child, pampered and taken very good care of. He told me, about 6 months into the marriage, that he was scared he would be fed only curd rice and instant noodles all his life, because he had never seen me even make tea. Well, there was never a need and I was too busy being a nerd!
Little did he know that I had developed a keen interest in cooking and learnt quite a few recipes that were regularly made at home. I am lucky that not only my husband but my entire family relishes what I make for them. So, yes! I cook with love and derive a great deal of satisfaction and joy to see everyone enjoy the food!
Once we had kids, cooking was made more fun, colorful and lots of variety was added along with being tasty and healthy. My older son, is my main source of encouragement and motivation, to try new recipes and explore unknown cuisines. I am comfortable making South Indian, Maharashtrian, Gujarati, Punjabi, Italian and Chinese dishes. I bake a few cakes and cookies too!
I am strictly against ready to eat and ready to cook foods (they are loaded with sodium and preservatives) as well as carbonated beverages. It’s plain water, lemon-ginger juice or coconut water only for my family.
To reduce cooking time, I generally do the following:
- Knead the dough the previous night, wrap it in a cling wrap and store in an air tight container
- Keep sprouts, mushrooms, corn and peas handy to add to curries and rice based dishes
- Keep Idli/Dosa batter handy
- Keep roasted rice flour handy, to make string hoppers, puttu etc.
- Keep OPOS* ginger garlic paste, OPOS tamarind paste OPOS caramelized onions, OPOS tomato paste stocked.
- I tend to keep OPOS boiled eggs also in the fridge for a quick snack
(*OPOS – One pot one shot method of cooking)
My favorite recipes include
- Mushroom Pulao
- Dal tadka
- Paneer paratha
- Pasta in red sauce
- Tomato Rice or Pulao – Here’s the recipe link I follow to make tomato rice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrRGOyQK0wU
- Vermicelli Upma
- Vegetable Kurma – Here’s the recipe link I follow for making this recipe. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cw8eVP8mmG4