Who is Meena?

Me ProfileHi There! My name is Meena, and I’m the writer/creator behind Hooked on Heat.

As a little girl, I remember sneaking my Mom’s favourite wok and ladle into my room and pretending that I had my very own cooking show, happily chatting away to the camera while I stirred and added imaginary ingredients. A magician in the kitchen and my biggest inspiration, I loved watching my Mom prepare delicious and fulfilling meals with ease. Though cooking had always been a hobby, I only began to take it seriously after moving out of home and into a hostel for college. Unwilling to survive on tasteless meals provided by the hostel cafeteria, I finally decided to don the apron and armed with a ladle set to work. Now, many years later, I can happily make a mean Indian meal at the drop of a hat!

And what about her hubby?

H&B ProfileThe star of the show, Hubby Dear has gained a handful of admirers, thanks to all his antics in and around the kitchen. Call him the guinea pig or taste-tester, but most guys often fantasize being in his shoes. Being the first to try everything that comes out from this overworked kitchen, it’s no surprise he’s the talk of the town. Or so he believes!

Hold on, isn’t there a baby in the picture now too?

Why of course! Baby Dear became an integral part of HOH in the summer of 2011 when he was first introduced to his first solid food – the sweet potato. Now he continues to experiment with different flavours and textures of food. Not one to watch people eat from the sidelines without at least attempting to grab a bite of what’s on our plates, it won’t be too far long when he’ll join the ranks of his Daddy Dear as the official HOH taste-testers.

What’s with all the heat?

I truly believe that even a simple, quick meal can be made to feel special, and a little spice never hurt anyone, now did it? This food blog is my attempt at sharing my creativity and love of food with everyone. It’s a food journal with many little notes that I hope would come in very handy when I finally write my own cookbook. Now, if only that publisher would come along! I’m pleased to have you know that the publisher did come knocking after all, and I am now the proud author of TWO cookbooks:

- Knack Indian Cooking: A Step-by-Step Guide to Authentic Dishes Made Easy by Globe Pequot Press
- 500 Indian Dishes by Quintet Publishing

So how did she get into cooking?

I began cooking when I moved into a hostel about 11 many, many years ago. Living on your own teaches you a lot, and cooking is one of them! The first few months, I survived mainly on instant noodles and the local take-away. Not long after, I decided that it was time to do something about it. So I called up my Mom, and that was the beginning of our regular recipe exchanges over the phone (did I mention it was long distance?).

Every time we would talk, the topic of what each of us had for lunch or dinner was an unavoidable question. With that continued the saga of how it was made, and what other variations could be added to make better, and not to mention, simpler.

It wasn’t long before I realized that I really enjoyed cooking. It was always a proud moment for me when I got a compliment on my culinary skills. And an even bigger one for Mom when they would tell her that her daughter fell right into her footsteps.

So don on those aprons, fire up that stove and allow me to take you on a culinary journey. A journey so satisfyingly good, you’ll be surprised that you haven’t even stepped out of your home. And as every good host is always proud to declare, I say to you, Let the party begin!

Now seriously, can Indian cooking really be as quick and simple as she says?

Of the few complaints that I often get on Indian cooking, the one that stands most prominent is the myth that Indian cooking is just too hard. Now before you roll your eyes at me and say, yea sure, easy for her, she’s Indian, just hear me out. True, I was born Indian, but as much as I would like to believe, I wasn’t born with Indian culinary instincts induced within my being. Like any of you not familiar with the South-Asian cuisine, I too started off without much knowledge of this exotic cuisine. After spending too much of my time cribbing about how little people actually knew about Indian food, I decided to start a series, Indian 101, to introduce my lovely readers to its simple cooking basics. The cooking primer became so popular, that I was asked to turn it into a monthly column for the food section of The Mississauga News.

So what are you waiting for? Click here to get started.

Tell me more about Meena’s work…

I am a freelance food writer, recipe developer and cooking instructor based in Mississauga, Ontario. My articles have been published in various online and print magazines/newspapers, including the Christian Science Monitor, Alive magazine and The Mississauga News. I also appeared as a special guest for a food segment for Slice TV’s ‘The Mom Show’, aired in the Fall of ’08, and have been featured and interviewed in many digital and print media, including Harper’s Bazaar India.

Below are just some ideas of ways we can partner together. If you have other ideas, feel free to contact me by email.

Food Consultant/Cooking Instructor: I am available to talk about all things related to South Asian cooking, including writing assignments, recipe developments, cooking demonstrations and media interviews. I can help you create a meal plan to suit your needs, lifestyle and taste. I will also spend time teaching you how to shop, organize and cook for a South Asian themed meal. To request a private consultation to best suit your needs or to book a private cooking session with me, please contact me at meena@hookedonheat.com.

Recipe Development: I love creating new recipes! It’s something I’m very passionate about and if you feel that you have a product that would work well in my kitchen, let’s chat!

Product Giveaways and Reviews: I will only review/host giveaways with products that I personally love, use, and know my readers will love. I will absolutely NEVER host a giveaway without first giving the product a proper review by using it. Please note that I reserve the right to express my own opinion (good or bad) of the product(s).

Conference Attendance: I am available to represent your company/brand at any food or blog related event.

Brand Ambassador Programs: I love partnering with companies I am passionate about. I would love to help your company create a customized social media campaign to help meet your marketing objectives. Whether it be sponsored posts or live Twitter chats, I’d love to help you promote your brand/company to my readers.

Some of my recent work has included recipe development for Dairy Farmers of Canada, Nanak Foods and Manitoba Canola Growers.

Please email me at meena@hookedonheat.com, so we can discuss more in detail. You can also request my media kit and rate sheet. I look forward to working with you!

Questions? Suggestions? Requests?

I try my level best to correspond and respond to each comment personally. However, I am only human and do make it a priority to spend as much time with my family and lead a life outside this blog. Drop me a line with all your queries and I’ll try to get to them as soon as possible! Regarding recipe requests, I will try and fulfill them to the best of my culinary capability. Unless of course, it contains chocolate. I’m always in the mood for chocolate!

You can find and connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+.