If you’ve ever been disappointed with Indian takeout in New York City, you may be better off whipping up your own masala. With all the different tastes and regional cuisines of India, the techniques used to make the food so flavorful often don’t translate by the time they get to the States.
That’s where Mukti’s Kitchen comes in. A Calcutta native, Mukti moved to the U.S. in 1986 and has been conducting cooking classes out of her Brooklyn abode for over 10 years. It’s there in her lovely home that she teaches people from all walks of life the secrets behind cooking authentic — and healthy — Indian food.
“It took me a while to get out of the security of getting a paycheck every two weeks,” Mukti tells Us Weekly of leaving her steady job as a biologist back in 2006. “I decided to start Mukti’s Kitchen when a few good friends insisted that I do something to let others know about my Indian cooking, and the variety and uniqueness of it. I retired from the nine-to-five routine so I could work full-time on my dream: bringing the flavors and the benefits of Indian cooking to America.”
“People used to tell me, ‘Mukti do you miss science?’ I was missing my daily routine in the first year, but now I don’t look back,” she assures. “I feel like I am using science in my cooking every day.”
The aspiring cookbook author takes students through the nuances of Indian spices, which she recommends you always buy whole and grind yourself.
“People are intrigued by the flavors, health benefits and healing properties of Indian spices, but many Indian restaurants don’t use whole spices, and they use old oils, cream, and artificial ingredients too,” Mukti explains. “They don’t know the authentic Indian cuisine style, which is healthier, lighter and has better flavors. People who come to my class tell me their concept of Indian food has changed by taking my class.”
During the three-hour tutorial, Mukti divulges the “secret” recipe for her amazing masala, before diving into different dishes based on the class you attend — everything from pakora and dal to okra, eggplant and samosas.
“I have a desire to share my passion of food with people to empower them to cook for themselves, and eat more healthy diets and be happy and healthy,” she says. “So as long as my own health permits I would love to continue doing that.”
For more on Mukti’s classes, visit her website.