Hi! My name is Payal. I love food and my family. Recently after several big life changes, I decided to focus more on the things that brought me joy instead of running in the typical rat race. I wanted to share my culture, our food, stories of where I grew up and I wanted to write.
I was born in Fiji. I lived there for 18 years before moving to California with my family. I moved around a bit for college, graduate school and subsequent trainings but I always wanted to come back to my adopted home of CA. I am finally back in CA and settling in. I am getting ready for my wedding and wanted to learn some recipes from my Mum so I could make them for myself and my new family.
Mum doesn't have written recipes. She was taught how to cook by her mum who was taught to cook by her mum. It was all word-of-mouth and practical teachings. I remember sometimes asking my mum how much of something to add to a particular dish I was trying to replicate and she would always say, "andaaj se". Which basically means estimate according to how much food you are cooking. Anyways, in all my time away from home, I missed Mum's cooking quite a bit. I would try to make some of the foods that I missed but they somehow would never turn out like hers. It actually would make me miss her and home even more.
So I stopped trying to make her dishes because I didn’t know how to make anything with "andaaj se". Instead, I tried all kinds of new foods and would try to replicate them at home. I was somehow better at it as there was always some similar recipe I could find online. I now have a collection of recipes that I feel confident making and sharing with people. I actually don't have to follow the recipes anymore and can make them according to my own "andaaj". Life is funny like that.
I wanted to be able to make my family recipes like that too and record them as well for future generations. Since I have come back home, I have convinced my mum to collaborate with me on this pet project and allow me to blog and write about her recipes. If you have a hankering to try ethnic foods from Fiji and want to learn how to make them with simple ingredients, this is the blog to read! I hope you will enjoy them as much as I have!