K.N. Nithya wins LG’s Mallika-e-Kitchen contest

Advocate K.N. Nithya started cooking in her early 20s. Her very first dish was chicken biryani. “I got into full-time cooking after marriage. Though I started late, I guess I have a knack for it. I would experiment, but nothing tasted bad,” she laughs.

Nithya is the news for she won the current edition of LG’s national-level Mallika-e-Kitchen contest. She lives in Dindigul but grew up in Coimbatore. “My mother told me about the contest, and I signed up. I must also thank my son. He’s such a picky eater, I had to keep innovating to keep his interest in food alive,” she says. Nithya topped the local and South Zone rounds, and competed with 11 participants for the grand finale in Delhi.

Microwave multitask

Nithya confesses that till the contest happened, she used the microwave only for reheating. But all that changed and for the finals, she managed six dishes within the stipulated 90 minutes. The contest involved using the various functions of the microwave. She steamed and roasted chicken to make chicken ice sticks, and teamed it with a mayonnaise-tomato ketchup-lime-and-mint chutney dip. Then, there was soup with oats, chicken and squash, bisibele bhath using brown rice and a combination of fruits and vegetables, Chettinad chicken with candied gooseberry, sprouts morkozhambu and a multi-grain kheer with dry fruits, papaya and banana. “I made a bowl of each. I had to present the dishes well too. I managed the cutting, cleaning, cooking and vegetable carving in time,” she says. Earlier in the year, in August, Nithya was first runner-up on Vijay TV’s Asal Suvai.

After she won the crown in Delhi, she won another cool gift too — a side by side refrigerator. She also earned the chance to go to South Africa to take part in the international round, but a delayed visa saw Nithya miss the opportunity of a lifetime. “I was upset and depressed,” she says. But, she’s decided to move on and has plans to start cookery classes and, possibly, a catering business.