This blog is an homage to Jaishree, a beautiful and graceful woman who has worked as the cook at the Sambhavna Trust Clinic in Bhopal, India. For years, Jaishree’s incredible food has blown the minds of clinic volunteers.

Her cooking style is an inspiration to me because of her extraordinary ability to create culinary masterpieces using ONLY VEGETABLES, very few utensils, and an oven equipped only with a two-element gas burning stove top and a mini refrigerator.

She is a genius with a pressure cooker, can whip up 3 curries and 15 chapatis in an hour, and knows how to get rid of a nasty ant problem by scattering chili powder all over the kitchen.

When I first met Jaishree in 2008 she was quiet and shy around volunteers. She spoke no English and I could only communicate my appreciate for her meals with thousands of enthusiastic “mmmmmmmmmmmmm” s. She had run into unfortunate circumstances in her life and was raising her two young sons all on her own.

4 years later, Jaishree’s children are attending good schools, achieving, high grades, learning English, and sharing their knowledge with their mom. As a result, Jaishree has come out of her shell and during my time spent at the clinic in the fall of 2011, I spent a lot more time chatting with her and most especially, learning from her authentic cooking style.

A lot of the recipes on this blog will be Indian, a lot will also be vegetarian, but it’s not limited to just those categories.  I’ve invited some of my friends to contribute, and if you’d  also like to, please let me know!

Jaishree, working her magic

Me, whippin’ up some dumplings

4 Responses to About

  1. Martine says:

    Hi Melanie, Your mom has just shared your blog with me and I can’t stop checking it out. I went to London recently and made a point to go to Ottolenghi. It was great. I also have 2 of his books. (not sure if he has more) Glad you are happy in England. I will let you know once I make one of your recipes. Take care. Martine (Egineering recruiter who worked with Rebecca)

    • theopinionatedtraveler says:

      Dont tell my mom but i’m going to send her the Ottolenghi book for her birthday! Plenty. The collection of all his vegetarian recipes from The Guardian. I bought the book and I’m OBSESSED. You’ll see over the next few weeks (if you continue to follow the blog, that I’ll be trying out a lot of his recipes). Last night I made the leek fritters, I’m going to post about them tomorrow. I know my mom (and dad) will LOVE that book but I’ve tried not to talk to my mom about it cause I want it to be a big surprise! Her b’day is in late July so dont tell her that’s my plan! Glad you’re loving the blog!

  2. syedtariqibrahim says:

    Wonderful effort by a wonderful person.. Hats off for you.. for being si kind and for praising an ordinary Indian cook. It must no where in Jayshree’s wild imaginations that her recipes would go global one day.. but you made it happen by dedicating this blog to her.. next time whenever you are in town or at Sambhavna Clinic.. do let me know.. would love to meet so kind and wonderful people. As they’re aren’t many left of your type in this world..


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