10 Jun Sadhna Wilson
When you cook not only because you are passionate about cooking but also paying homage to your ancestral heritage, then your food is a complete representation of your heart and soul. Soulful food is what Sadhna Wilson is all about and her bestselling cookbook, Tropical Vegetarian, is a perfect culinary representation of Fijian Indian food that showcases their rich history and heritage.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Sadhna last year when I approached her attending The Indian Bazaar, and she graciously accepted. I also got a signed copy of her cookbook and I was amazed to know that all profits from the book were donated WOW Kids in Fiji. You can find Tropical Indian cookbook in Australia, Fiji, France, etc and read all over the world. Having read the book and tried a few recipes myself, I can tell you it’s a beautiful and inspiring journey into the Fijian Indian culinary world.
I was also fortunate enough to attend the 140th Girmit Diwas with Sadhna and Shivani Maharaj when I saw for the very first time what Girmit was all about. I was really touched with all the stories shared by the Fijian Indian community. History cannot be changed but we should never forget our own because that’s what has made us all what we are today. Sadhna is a very active member of the community and is always up and about to help in any way possible.
A consummate chef, an avid traveler and a person full of life, Sadhna is truly amazing and her food is a true representation of her own self – unpretentious and full of love.
I interviewed the multi-award-winning chef and here are the excerpts from our meeting,
What was the inspiration behind Tropical Indian?
The inspiration behind The Tropical Indian was to first and foremost preserve our ancestral Indian recipes, pay homage to the hard work and sacrifices made by our ancestors through the Indentured Labour System (Girmit) and to leave a legacy for not only my son but for all younger generations of Fijian Indians, now scattered worldwide.
What’s your favourite go-to meal?
My favourite go-to meal…. hmmm this a difficult one as I am always experimenting but I suppose hot puris and potato curry would have to be up
there!! Sometimes, I just make a dry potato curry with panch phoran and serve it with a fried egg… it’s quite comforting and easy and doubles up as brunch, lunch or dinner.
Please share a recipe for fussy kids that can be made in under 15 mins.
I have included a “non-Indian” quick, easy and nutritious recipe for Zucchini Slice Muffins. Kids can get involved in making these and they can be eaten hot or cold.
Zucchini slice muffins
- 2 zucchinis, grated
- 1 stalk spring onion, finely chopped
- 50g leg ham, chopped (optional)
- 1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
- 1/2 cup smooth ricotta
- 2 cups self-raising flour
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Preheat oven to 190°C/170°C fan-forced. Spray oil to grease a 12-hole muffin pan.
Place 3/4 of the zucchini in a large bowl. Add spring onion, (ham), cheese and flour. Stir to combine.
Whisk eggs, oil, milk, and ricotta together. Add to zucchini mixture. Season. Add parsley. Mix to combine. Divide among holes of prepared pan. Top with remaining zucchini.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and just firm to touch. Stand in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or cold.
*** Great to add to kid’s lunch boxes.
Try this recipe and many more from Sadhna’s cookbook and tell us which one was your favourite. Happy cooking.