What is common among Promenade rub, Brigade seasoning, and Cunningham blend? They are masalas named after streets in Bengaluru and have been created by Geramin La Brie, who has over a period of time despite having settled in the United States, kept in touch with her Indian roots through her love of food. So in love she is with Indian cuisine, in particular South Indian cuisine, as she was born and raised in Bengaluru, that she has been rustling up some dishes, spiced up by Indian masalas.
In a recent launch at Fava, UB City, Geramin released her latest book, Sutras of Indian Cooking. She was in conversation with Bengaluru-based actor, Rubi Chakravarti, a close friend. In fact, her friendship with Rubi led her to develop an interest in cooking. “Rubi was my neighbour and as youngsters we would always try to cook together. She was an excellent cook,” says Geramin, “My expertise in cooking developed later on, after I went to the States. Food is such an important element of who you are. A lot of things can change but your food habits pretty much remain the same. I could travel any part of the world and eventually want simple South Indian food. So I started to cook. I wanted my children to like Indian food and that way form a connect with India.”
The spices Geramin has created demystifies Indian cooking, but retains its essence. “Abroad we don’t have the time or help for cooking. I needed something that could be prepared fast and yet was tasty. For that I thought of cutting the steps down. These masalas are not just for Indian food, you can use them for grills too. I came up with recipes that I sell in the United States.”
Speaking about her inspiration for writing Sutras of Indian cooking, Geramin says: “We are not even aware of some of the secrets we have that have come down to us. I thought why don’t I write down recipes which contain Indian spices that are beneficial for your health?” Every recipe is accompanied by nuggets of information. “Every spice has a health sutra. I also included a knowledge sutra.”
Geramin has a lot of recipes that contain an abundance of greens and foliage, rich in folic acid. “I have a charity to help children with cleft palette in India - ( Deutche Cleft ABMSS ). I met renowned plastic surgeon, Dr Sharad Dixit who told me there is a huge epidemic of children born with this syndrome. I found out one of the reasons was that the mothers didn’t have folic acid in their food, which is found in green, leafy vegetables. On Facebook, I have my Sutras of Indian cooking page and every week I devote recipes for pregnant women with a lot of salads, green-rich recipes. This has become a huge part of the charity I believe in.”
Ask her what her favourite eating out places in Bengaluru are, and she promptly says, her eyes lighting up: “Koshys and Woody’s!”
Sutras of Indian Cooking is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.