Welcome to my kitchen.
My name is Rashmi Ahuja Toivanen. I come from the Northern part of India. Over a decade ago, I left India to pursue a career in science. My research work has taken me to laboratories in Germany, United States and Finland. A few years back I moved to Finland with my husband Mikko. We now live in Helsinki with our two little boys.
I am a complete foodie at heart.
The name Desi Zaika, which means local flavors, is very dear to me and it was seeded when I participated in the food event ‘Restaurant day’ that started as a new trend in this part of the world.
As a kid growing up in India I always saw my mother cooking delicious food at home for us and she was very fond of experimenting in the kitchen. Being pampered by my mum’s cooking, I found it really difficult to manage with food after I moved out of India.
While living and studying in Germany, I always craved for the kind of food she made at home and was mostly disappointed by the ones sold in Indian restaurants. The food sold there simply lacked flavors and was toned down to suit palate of local people. It was then the turning point in my life: I started to cook dishes that I remembered from home. It took me some time, but it all eventually made me realize that my real passion is with food.
Since then, I have been learning and experimenting in my kitchen for many years. After moving to Helsinki, I used to make food for friends and family in the beginning, and then I started to participate in Restaurant day, first one being in November 2012. When I look back, I can totally understand what was missing from food that I tried in Indian restaurants- flavors of home.
For me food is more than just satisfying your hunger: it is satisfying your soul.
Indian food, especially outside of India is associated with ‘curries’, ‘tandoori naan’ and ‘butter chicken’. Don’t get me wrong, I do like these dishes, but there is so much more to it. There is so much of culinary diversity in Indian food, with each state offering their unique culinary treasures, and many traditional dishes.
The wealth of flavors across the country is simply staggering. The use of aromatic and magical spices, which when mixed in different combinations creates complex flavor profile, resulting in tastes experienced nowhere in the world. You guessed it right, I love spices…love to try and experiment with them in different ways.
What I find amazing is that what started as a humble attempt to replicate flavors of my mum’s cooking in my tiny kitchen in the student apartment back in the time when I was studying has grown over the years into such an intense passion, that I can call myself foodie. My time spend in the US also exposed me also to food from other countries.
Today I not only enjoy making traditional Indian food but love experimenting with fusion food too. Baking is something that I never tried until recently, and I am still learning…
So, the question is, what I am doing here…Well, I am here to share my recipes, which I learned from my mum, thoughts on cooking and food experimentations. I am still a learner and would like to share my culinary creations. I hope you will enjoy trying out recipes from my blog. I will share lots of Indian recipes but also post recipes from different cuisines that we enjoy eating at home.
Thanks for visiting! Feel free to comment and share your own cooking experiences.
Thought of sharing one of my favorite quotes…
“Learning gives creativity
Creativity leads to thinking
Thinking provides knowledge
Knowledge makes you great.”
― A.P.J. Abdul Kalam