Food & Drink

Raynes Park chef wants to burst myths around Indian food with cookery classes

A Raynes Park chef is teaching authentic Indian cuisine from her home.

Nidhi Verma created Meri Rasoi, which means ‘my kitchen’, in 2011 to showcase real Indian food.

Initially cooking with friends and other mums she received positive feedback. “They said they it was brilliant because that sort of food doesn’t really exist in restaurants,” she said.

Mrs Verma realised that many people had misconceptions. She said: “Very little was known about the real Indian food that Indian people eat in their homes.

“Indian food is generalised as very spicy, time consuming and greasy. Myths I wanted to burst.

“We eat Indian food 5 days a week at least, if it was anywhere close to unhealthy we wouldn’t eat it.”

Although Mrs Verma is originally from Punjab she and her husband Sahil grew up in Indian military families.

As her family moved around India, her mother learnt new recipes. Mrs Verma said: “A lot of love time and effort was put into it.”

REAL INDIAN FOOD: Mrs Verma’s pineapple mint raita. Photo credit: Christine Taylor

A trained Mechanical Engineer with an MBA, Mrs Verma moved to London and worked in the city as a marketeer.

Mrs Verma said: “We would come back as a couple and crave simple home-cooked food.”

She teaches a classic Indian home cooking class, a simply vegetarian one and a chicken biryani masterclass.

Mrs Verma has a lot on her plate because she is also writing a recipe book, teaching as a guest chef and launching a new recipe box.

The idea for the box came after being disappointed by one, saying it was ‘in no way close to a real chicken tandoori’.

She won’t be sacrificing her teaching though. “My cookery school is brilliant, and I will continue to teach,” she said.

Mrs Verma enjoys her work: “I love meeting people, that’s the biggest joy of it.

“Food has put me in contact with people from all walks of life and chefs doing a great job in their space. It’s been amazing, fulfilling and satisfying.”

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Feature image shows Nidhi Verma. Photo credit: Christine Taylor

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