Hi, I’m Sanjana, a British-born food writer and recipe developer with Indian and East African roots.
My mission is to bring playful and modern vegetarian Indian and East African food to your kitchen. K.O Rasoi explores the food culture of East Africa which, with its diverse ethnic population has produced a vibrant and delicious cuisine, influenced by regional Indian cooking. Inspired by the Indian and East African dishes I ate and cooked growing up, my recipes are homecooked comfort dishes the whole family will love. Sometimes vegan, always vegetarian. K.O Rasoi (‘rasoi’ from the Gujarati word for ‘cooking’) represents the harmony and togetherness of the family in the form of cooking.
I’ve been curious about vegetarian food ever since I could see over the top of our gas cooker. I hope to share with you the feelings of excitement I had when I rolled my first wonky chapattis with miniature kitchen utensils that looked like they’d been manufactured in toy town. I’d use my hot pink chapatti board and rolling pin to make terrible-tasting rotlis which my mum would cook and my pa would wolf down with gusto, whilst telling me I was a fabulous chef even though they were utterly dreadful. And that was all it took – I had discovered my love of Indian food. Forget your typical puff of glitter – for this alternative little Indian girl, childhood was all about that magical cloud of chapatti flour. Typical home-cooked Gujarati cuisine was where my journey began. As I grew older and (hopefully wiser), it developed into a need to understand my families’ Kenyan heritage, feed my appetite for Indian food, learn more about French pâtisserie (my second love) and of course, share my recipes with people. Today, I hope my cooking is reflective of who I am; a fusion of fabulous flavours brought together with a pinch of spice and buckets of passion.
K.O Rasoi (pronounced K. O RAsoy): a perfect balance of flavour on two ends of a weighing scale. On one side sits Kalidas Parmanand Modha and on the other sits Odhavji Haridas Thanky – two top East African chefs and my beloved grandfathers. This place was created for them and their knockout food. K.O Rasoi (‘rasoi’ from the Gujarati word for ‘cooking’) represents the harmony and togetherness of the family in the form of cooking. I use this as a place of reflection upon what I cook at home. Inspired by the Indian and East African dishes my mum taught me to cook as a girl, I embark upon some interesting experiments.
I started writing this blog with the hope that documenting and sharing my recipes would help people with their cooking adventures too. Looking back at my first ever posts, I realise that my life as a blogger began blind. I didn’t even have a camera. I didn’t even think I needed one! Today, I can’t imagine sharing a recipe without a photograph. I learned very quickly that eating is not only about the flavours of a dish, but also the way in which it is presented. And so began my love affair with food styling and photography. I finally upgraded to a Canon DSLR and bought myself a macro lens which I absolutely adore. The process of being inspired by a handful of ingredients, developing a recipe using them, cooking it, styling and photographing it before writing it up into a blog post is a 360 degree experience I’ve become addicted to.
In 2014, my work was shortlisted and commended in the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year Awards. An accolade I’m truly humbled by. I’ve never had any formal photography training, nor do I believe I’ve finished learning. I do my best to read, research and practice, practice, practice. I also have a severe Pinterest addiction which only fuels my curiosity.
Some food photographers I love include: Meeta Khurana, Mowie Kay, Souvlaki for the Soul, Jean Cazals and Ben Dearnley.
Blogging Back in 2007, as I wrote my first blog post as a student of English Language & Literature and Arabic, I was so unaware of the wonderful opportunities and friends that I would meet in the years ahead. I had no idea that my innate urgency to cook would collide with my aspirations of becoming a creative writer. Fast forward to today and here I am, a digital obsessive, online editor, producer and dreamer of all things delicious.
Writing this blog has become ingrained within my very bones and I can’t imagine being without it. It’s my place of reflection and retreat. I hope you enjoy browsing through my recipes, ramblings and food adventures.
If you have any questions, please get in touch with me:
Facebook: K.O Rasoi