British-born Indian Cookery Writer and Broadcaster Vicky Bhogal is on a mission to reduce food waste by teaching people how to actually cook from scratch. Her recently released cookery book, Cooking Like Mummyji, is inspired by the Punjabi food that she grew up with, but uses very few, and inexpensive ingredients, and the framework of techniques is perfectly geared to easily use up what people already have in their cupboards and fridge.
Vicky explains: “Food waste is quite a new phenomenon, and one I don’t experience. To me it’s because people have lost the ability to truly cook, not just slavishly follow celebrity dinner party recipes. If you really know how to cook you can open your cupboard that’s got four things in it and you will make a meal.”
Vicky’s British-Asian upbringing taught her to cook with not much to-hand yet still create wholesome meals. A lot of British-Asian families grew up with very little money so they found ways to use what they had in different recipes. For example you can make a delicious dhal, have it with rice or chapati and have nourishing food for the family for a week, as well as getting enough protein without lots of meat.
Now determined to teach people how to cook for themselves without being enslaved to recipes, beholden to particular ingredients or bewildered by what to do with a wrinkly red pepper or bag of wilting spinach, she wants to free them from buying the ingredients for particular recipes and then just throwing away what is left over. Cooking Like Mummyji contains some easy, highly versatile and delicious recipes that reduce food waste in their simplicity, and can be made with all sorts of produce and flavourings, examples from the book include many of the marinades, stuffed flatbreads, all-in-one quick rice pilaus and vegetable sabjia, along with pickles and chutneys. Vicky is now planning a series of ‘pop-up cookery school’ demos and ‘restaurant takeover’ supperclubs on using homecooking to ensure sustainability in our kitchens and get people feeling really confident with their cooking and ready to use up whatever they have.
Cooking Like Mummyji was first published to great critical acclaim in 2003, selling out before publication and garnered thousands of loyal fans, but then, due to changes in the publishing office it was commissioned from, it suddenly fell prematurely out of print for almost 10 years. Unpublished but unforgotten, it unexpectedly spread by word-of-mouth around the world and due to that popular demand this cult status bestseller has finally been stunningly reprinted after a long, truly fascinating and inspiring journey back to print after Vicky’s determination to follow her dream to put it back on the shelves for future generations.
Now this eagerly anticipated, beautifully revised, edition by new publisher Grub Street over a decade later brings this cookery classic back to glorious life, with exquisite new food photography by the lauded Regula Ysewijn, revised text bringing it bang up to date, including favourite recipes from A Year of Cooking Like Mummyji and special brand new dishes. In over 100 recipes it explodes myths and stereotypes, revealing the secrets of the real, authentic, traditional Indian home cooking, using British ingredients, that Vicky Bhogal grew up with in her Punjabi home in Britain, and is more relevant to our food scene now than ever.
As a globally renowned and respected food writer, Vicky warmly welcomes you to this insider’s guided journey, recipe by recipe, through heritage, spoonfuls of memories and her world of delicious family food. As she says, “I have often thought it such a shame that the Western world is not let in on the secret of real Indian home cooking, as though it is a sort of long-standing trick, our last remaining jewel. I wrote this to share what we really eat at home, which is much lighter, fresher, healthier and fragrant than that which you find in a typical Indian restaurant and has a vibrant breadth of flavours. A handful of simple spices, like musical notes, can be combined in many different ways to create beautiful melodies”.