When I launched the #BestKeptSecrets project, I wasn’t sure what I was up against and how excited others would be by the thought of a curated e-book. All I knew was that the idea of sharing food stories seemed like an exciting project and I am glad that the crowd and my readers thought it was interesting too!
Even though our first edition had a very short submission deadline, we got over 30 submissions. The book got published in February 2014 and you can download it here.
When the book first came out, it was free to download for a short period of time. We now have a ‘pay what you like’ option where you can pay anything from INR 10 to INR 100 – whatever you feel is a fair price. To give you a glimpse of what you can expect, below I’ve highlighted some of the stories and recipes featured in the book:
Ilish Bhanpe by Antara Roy
Indian Shad, Hilsa or Ilish, Bangladesh’s national fish is a pride for any bong ever born. From the Pride that a Kaku (uncle) feels when he walks past the envious stares of his neighbours and mates, with a big ilish tail peeking through his fish-carrying-bag; to the pride of a Kakima’s (aunty’s) fish filleting skills with a sharp iron cutting device (Boti); its pride all the way!!!
Puranpoli by Soni Khadilkar
Puran poli is a traditional sweet dish prepared during the festival of holi in maharashtra. It’s also prepared during most of the auspicious occassions like pooja, marriages in every maharashrian household. My mother makes it every year during holi and she makes the best pupo (as I fondly call it) in the whole world.
Great Aunt Potato by Pooja Vir
My Sindhi mum married into a Punjabi household believing that love would be enough. It was – except in the kitchen! A Punjabi tradition she wasn’t prepared for was to cook a dish for her new family on her first day as daughter-in-law. Ma was completely lost in a Punjabi kitchen. My dad’s great aunt saved the day by whispering this easy potato recipe in my mum’s ear. This recipe has continued to save many more marriages since then.
Gur da Halwa by Pooja Khanna
Ghee and Jaggery are a powerhouse of energy for the cold winter of Punjab. My Nani’s halwa still lingers in my taste buds. Gur Halwa was a delicacy to be had during every visit to Nani’s home in winter. And today when I make it for my children with same affection and love; I can feel it nourishing their body and nourishing my soul.
Bengali Kosha Mangsho by Kalyan Karmakar
Kosha mangsho is a quintessentially Bengali dish which means mutton which has been kosha’d (kosha means saute’d, bhuno’d) in a thick onion and spice paste. This is my own recipe but the end result is fairly authentic. Best had with luchis, paratha, rotis, pulao rice or steamed rice, the trick lies in the marination and the masalas.
Batata Saung by Shanti Padukone
The small community that I belong to is mainly concentrated in Karnataka and can trace its origin to Kashmir. When I was little, ‘amchi’ food – as it is called colloquially – would be prepared by my mother regularly as it is simple and easy to prepare. The Batata Saung (yes, it is pronounced ‘song’) is an Aamchi dish that is something really different yet easy to make.
Pork Sorpotel by Elson Sequeira
Some time back, I visited Mangalore, my hometown. We visited a different relative each day and here is what we were served Day 1- Pork; Day 2- Pork; Day 3 onwards – Pork. Only goes to show what pork means to us Mangaloreans. Pork Sorpotel is a typically a Goan dish that made somehow made its way to Mangalore. Here is the secret recipe straight from my grandmum.