The Peninsula contest winner publishes cookbook

 30 Jun 2016 - 11:51

The Peninsula contest winner publishes cookbook
Author Riniki Ghosh with her cookbook Zaika. (Salim M/The Peninsula)


By Pramod Prabhakaran
Doha: Zaika — The essence of true simplicity and flavour of food — is a new cookbook published by a longtime Qatar resident.

True to its name, it has many mouth-watering and flavourful recipes made with easy-to-find local ingredients that have a strong Indian influence.

What makes this book of recipes by a longtime contributor to The Peninsula —Riniki Ghosh — special is the way she explains every recipe in depth with appropriate footnotes explaining various ingredients and techniques.

Ghosh has been interested in cooking from childhood and spends time fine-tuning her recipes to perfection. This passion for cooking and food is visible on the pages of this book.

She was a regular contributor to the weekly recipe contest organised by The Peninsula and over the years has won many times. “Contributing to ‘The Peninsula Recipe Contest’ gave me an opportunity to experiment with new recipes and winning the contest gave me confidence to publish a book with my recipes,” Ghosh said.

She has also won many other contests in Qatar and India and has contributed recipes to various publications.

“I have been cooking for a long time. My son and husband are foodies and they intensely enjoy my cooking and encourage me to try out new dishes. They, along with my friends, prodded me to compile all my special recipes and put them together in a book,” she added.

On rare occasions when she has used not-so-common ingredients, Ghosh has provided substitutes easily available at the local markets.

The book contains recipes popular among The Peninsula readers, like Sweet and Sour Cold Salad and Exotic Spring Mocktail, which won prizes in the recipe contest. A few dishes in the book like Fish Pulao and Mustard Egg Delight have a distinct Bengali influence of Ghosh’s home state in India.

In dishes like Quinoa Kebabs and Crunchy vegetable Cornflake Kebabs she has mixed and matched Indian flavours to Middle Eastern and Western ingredients with great success.

An enthusiastic food lover, Ghosh has attended many workshops in Qatar and abroad and has learned many of her techniques from chefs during her travel. “I like to talk to chefs and take tips from them. During one of my trips to Sri Lanka, I got a chance to learn pickling from local chefs there. These tips help while experimenting with my recipes,” Ghosh said.

Zaika contains 40 recipes divide into starters, main courses, rice, vegetable dishes, fish and prawns, poultry, mutton and desserts.

“Most of the recipes in my book are made regularly at our home. A few dishes, like the kebabs, were created in recent times. Ingredients like Quinoa are not used much in Indian cuisine, this got me thinking how to use it in an Indian context and the result is Quinoa Kebab,” Ghosh said.

Riniki Ghosh can be contacted at [email protected]

The Peninsula