Common perception is that cooking is an inherited skill; actually, it’s not. It is an acquired skill and like every good dish, takes time and patience. The secret sauce is that the energy you put into a recipe is as important as the ingredients and you as a cook bring life to the recipe.

My name is Rama Sriram and I’ve been living in U.S for the past 20+ years. Fun facts: I never cooked when I was young; I started only after I got married and the initial attempts were unmitigated disasters!  It all started as a survival skill in the UK. But after a while, something wonderful happened. What began from a collection of recipes from my mother and grandmother slowly evolved into the exploration of different cooking techniques. I gradually learned cooking different dishes from the simple to the devilishly complex ones and in the whole process, realized how much I enjoyed it. The process of chopping up vegetables, making a sauce from scratch and innovating new dishes grew on me.

I am by no means a Michelin starred chef but a wife and mother of two girls, who has been cooking every day and making multiple meals for more than 30 years. Now I can definitely say with confidence that what started as a mostly experimental exercise has now become a passion. A lot of people consider cooking to be a chore but for me, its very therapeutic and like meditation. It’s a stress buster.

Cooking is an art because you use your imagination and creativity as the paintbrush and ingredients as the palette of colors to create a masterpiece. Because there are no rules your ability to improvise is limitless; the possibilities are endless. What you create is yours alone and no one can make an exact copy. Ever wondered why the same dish that you make never seems to taste like what mother made?

Cooking also gives me the opportunity to learn about different cultures and cuisines, which to me is extremely fascinating. I have the opportunity and ability to learn from foods I’ve eaten at restaurants and just guess the ingredients just by look and taste. And so, I come back home to try my hand at recreating them! 

There’s so much about the cooking experience that I enjoy. It’s all behind-the-scenes and impacts all your senses, often invoking fond memories: coffee brewing, the sound of the knife cutting into fresh vegetables and fruits, the sizzling of grilled vegetables, the fragrance of bread baking in the oven, the sound of boiling rice, the scent of fresh basil, the flavors of pickles, the aromas of cilantro, parsley, and spices, the richness of ghee and hot butter, the crackle from the skillet, the taste of wine, the whistle of a tea kettle or pressure cooker and many more ….. 

Cooking for me has always been a means of therapy, but of late, it has turned  to a great opportunity to share my recipes with my audience on Instagram. 

The more I learn about nutrition, the more I’ve come to realize that the most important factor for healthy eating is to avoid processed food and focus on market ingredients. Delicious healthy food doesn’t have to be complicated. You learnt that from your grandmother, right? And the best way to do this? Cook for yourself and as much as you can. I know exactly what's going into my food and I can make it exactly the way I want to. No hidden ingredients, no weird additives or preservatives or chemicals.  

Here’s another twist. As a vegetarian, I love encouraging my audience to eat clean, and to cook with natural ingredients – and where possible – eat as plant-based as possible.

I just focus on fresh foods, so my meals taste great, are satisfying, and make me feel good. And when I share my food with you all, I know that I'm taking care and showing my love for you all as well.

There’s nothing quite so satisfying as the praise from a well-cooked meal. Hearing the words ‘this is amazing’ is a huge motivator and keeps me going.