Hi! I am Sala, the creator of Veggie Belly – a vegetarian food blog with hundreds of easy, meatless, globally inspired recipes from my kitchen in beautiful Portland, OR. When I am not cooking, developing recipes or photographing food, I am either traveling the world or working with my husband on the software company we founded.
I was raised in India by vegetarian parents, and have been vegetarian most my life. I love eating meatless and will never change it.
I’ve had an interest in cooking since a young age. I remember making Mickey Mouse-shaped dosas all through my summer vacation when I was nine! My interest in food, cooking and entertaining comes from both my grandmothers.
My maternal grandmother is a dedicated home maker and a talented cook. She can whip up a delicious, soul-warming meal in no time with so much ease. The kitchen in her central London townhouse is alive with the flavors of India. There is always a pot of something simmering away. There is a constant flow of guests and family coming over to eat. When I visit, she makes my favorites – spicy lentil stew with tamarind and okra, fluffy steamed rice, chayote squash with yellow split peas and peanuts, and fresh broccoli sautéed with flecks of coconut meat. When I was a teenager, she taught me to cook several of her signature Indian dishes. It was during this time that I learned an important lesson from my grandmother – when you cook with love, it shows through in the food.
My paternal grandmother, on the other hand, was a career woman. She didn’t have the time or inclination to cook. “I can’t boil a pot of water!” she’d proclaim proudly. But she had a keen palate and a great appreciation of good food. She gave her cook detailed instructions, and lovingly supervised every party, dinner and tea she hosted. Dinner parties in her house were legendary. Her cook would make scores of dishes, and she’d serve them buffet style on her lawn, under coconut trees that were decorated with strings of lights. My grandmother passed away last year, but memories of this incredible woman, and her passion for food and people continue to inspire.
As different as they both are, both my grandmothers have influenced my cooking. When I moved away from home, I started to travel around the world. I’ve been to over 40 countries in 6 continents. Global cultures and cuisine never cease to fascinate me. I get inspired to re-create the foods I’ve tasted in different countries as soon as I return home. And with such a busy schedule, I’ve learned to adapt these recipes so that they are easy enough to prepare for a weeknight meal with ingredients that are readily available.
I developed a collection of globally-inspired vegetarian recipes. I found myself constantly sharing these with family and friends, either sending off emails or scribbling recipes on paper. I created Veggie Belly to share my recipes not just with the people I know, but the world. And now I looking forward inspiring even more people by creating sharing original vegetarian recipes with bold, exotic flavors for eHow.
In addition to the recipes I’ll include on eHow, you can try some of my favorite recipes from my blog:
Easy Veggie Pad Thai
Almost Instant Noodle Soup in a Jar
Mughlai Vegetable Biryani
Mango Blueberry Quinoa Salad