We’re so excited to announce our first cook, Sejal. Sejal is a homecook based in Barnet, specialising in Indian food, but in her own words she “can cook anything”.
Our team visited the place where the magic happens, her home kitchen in Finchley. On entering, we’re greeted by the smell of an infusion of spices, and the feeling of home. We sampled Sejal’s delicious homecooked food, and it’s fair to say her dishes were some of the best Indian food we’ve ever tried. We sat down with Sejal to get to know the cook behind the indulgent butter chicken and mouth-watering chilli paneer.
What’s on the menu today?
“Today we’ve got masala chicken, butter chicken, jeera chicken, palak paneer, chilli paneer, lamb masala, fish pakora, and chole bhatura”
What’s your heritage?
“I’m Indian. My parents are from India but I was born here in the UK. A lot of my food is influenced by my parents and also by my husband, who is from Kashmir. He brings a lot of flavour to my cooking.”
What’s your earliest memory of food?
“Being at my grandparents house, with my parents and my aunt and uncle. I was always in the kitchen- everyone would always be trying to get me out of the kitchen actually.”
Where are your recipes from?
“Most of my vegetarian food, my Gujarati food, is from my mum. The rest is self taught. I look at recipes but then I try to cook it myself. I also take inspiration for things I’ve tried, such as in restaurants or while travelling”
What do you think of when I say ‘home cooked food’?
“Firstly I think of my mum. Home is where the mum is. I think of good, authentic flavours. A lot of restaurant food is processed, pre-cooked, rushed. Not slow-cooked like a lot of my food is. My food is slow cooked to allow all the flavours to absorb into the meat or vegetables.”
“Home is where the mum is”Sejal
What do you love most about cooking for others?
“The joy it brings to everyone. Even when you guys (The Flavour Street team) were trying my food, the genuine love and enjoyment of it. It makes me happy.”
What’s your favourite dish to cook?
“It used to be chilli paneer and butter chicken, but now jeera chicken has definitely taken over. Only because I started cooking it recently, the others I’ve been cooking a long time. I only ever had jeera chicken in restaurants, but now I can cook it the way I like it”
For any budding home cooks, what advice do you have?
“Aside from all the important legal and admin stuff, just be true to yourself. Don’t try to be overly ambitious and cook things you can’t do. I can’t do sushi, it’s one thing I can’t cook and I won’t try it because I can’t roll the rice etc. You know what you know, stick to it and you can grow from there.”
Where do you source your ingredients?
“Mostly from the lovely local shops we have here in Finchley. Mainly small independent places. I use a lot of Indian ingredients so I also go to some Indian grocers for herbs, spices and specific vegetables”
If you’d like to try Sejal’s food, you can browse and pre-order her range of delicious dishes on our site.
Keep an eye on our Instagram for more home cooking content.