Pragati Bidkar is the founder and creator of the immensely popular vegetarian food blog KamalKitchen.com. ‘Kamal’ means wonderful or magical in the Hindi language, and it is everything she wants her blog and recipes to be.
Pragati started experimenting in the kitchen since a young age and has been dishing out yummy food for friends and family for 25 years. She studied and worked in the United States for many years, and absorbed regional cuisines and influences. Today, she focuses on using locally available produce and selective herbs and spices in her cooking.
In her books, you will find a Less is More approach to Indian cooking. Her recipes are bold, flavorful and tailored for global food lovers and culinary adventurers.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a city that is known as the center of India. The cuisine of this region is hot and spicy and takes into account the extreme climate. The region is also very cosmopolitan, being situated at the crossroads of the country.
India is a diverse country, and cooking styles vary a lot depending on the geographical region and ethnicity. The various branches of my family hail from different regions within the same state, and these influences led to a wide variety of food in the kitchen. Later, I went away to study and also spent many years in the United States. I lived in many different US states and cities and got a first hand experience of local dishes and recipes.
I have picked up something from every place I have lived in, and have developed my own culinary tastes which symbolize what I like best in every type of cuisine. When I recreate an old family recipe, I try to maintain the essence of it, but also make sure it is something I myself will enjoy today. So for example, a traditional recipe might call for one cup of oil and one cup of pepper, but I know that's not going to work today. I take the key principle, which in this case, seems to be balancing heat with an equal amount of fat, and use the concept to create something which is more contemporary and which fits our needs today in terms of lifestyle and health.
Every place I have lived in, and every person I have met or interacted with has enriched my life and given me something I will cherish and remember forever. I believe food takes on a divine dimension when it is created or served with passion and love.
When I cook or create recipes, I hope to capture not only the right flavor, but the right emotion behind it.
When did you first start writing?
I remember writing a poem in high school. I wrote for my college magazine, and then dabbled with some short story writing. I started my food blog in 2008, and that opened the flood gates. In 2012, I started my content marketing company. Writing services are a big part of my work. I have written over 600+ articles or blog posts in the last three years, many of which are recipes I have created from scratch.
30 Days of Daal is just the first installment in a series of cookbooks that I hope to publish.
Enjoy fresh and healthy curry dinners with the step by step recipes in these cookbooks. All books have stunning photos of the prepared dish.
Less is More when it comes to Indian cooking and the recipes in the book illustrate this. Old family recipes and recipes from the heartland of India are featured. Many of these are not found on popular restaurant menus but are simple and tasty.
Newbies and new cooks the world over can now try their hand at cooking their favorite Indian curry recipes.
Chai Street makes exotic Indian food is easily accessible to culinary adventurers and home cooks across the world. Street food equals fun, and the book takes a playful look at favorites such as Bhel Puri, Vada Pav and Pav Bhaji from the streets of Mumbai, Bread Pakora and Aloo Chaat from Delhi, Chura Matar of Benaras, Idli from the South, Momos from the North East and of course, Chai Latte.
Rice Bowl features vegetarian rice recipes from the various regions of India. Stunning food photos, step by step instructions, special tips, hands on advice on how to stock an Indian pantry, how to cook perfect rice on stovetop, or using a rice cooker or pressure cooker make this a handy guide for global cooks. So plan a curry dinner soon and wow your family with pilaf, biryani & much more!
Looking for quick and healthy dinner ideas?
Prepare quick weeknight dinners with recipes like Dal Fry or Green Moong Daal with Ginger, impress guests with restaurant style Dal Tadka or Dal Makhani, and cook leisurely Sunday dinners with the Parsi Dhansak, Oriya Dalma or Masala Daal.
30 Days of Daal brings you authentic but simple Daal recipes from the heartland of India.
Bubba and the Dead Woman
on Dec. 04, 2015
I had this book on my Kindle for the longest time, but somehow never got to it until earlier this year. I was bowled over. I love books set in the South, and I like my mysteries to have a lot of atmosphere and a slow pace. You will get all that in this book.
Bubba seems like a pretty simple guy, but then as you read on, it is like peeling an onion. You come across more and more facets of his personality. The mystery also unfolds gradually. This is a must read and I am looking forward to other books from this series.
Murder On The Mind
on Dec. 04, 2015
This is a very well written book, although a bit graphic in terms of violence or imagery of it. I prefer Agatha Christie type books when it comes to mysteries, so this was not my kind of book. But once I started reading it, it became so compulsive that I read till the end. The author has you in the first few pages and reels you in. After that, you cannot help but keep turning the pages, or hitting the next button.
If you love thrillers, this one's for you.
Dying to Get Published
on Dec. 04, 2015
I fell for this book in the first few pages. For any author or aspiring author, it is like viewing a reel of your own life. You can actually empathize with every thing the character goes through. The group of supportive author friends is something I want for myself. The story is interesting, there is humor and the character is so ingenious. The plot twists and turns to the delight of the reader. Definitely a series I want to read.