Culture & Lifestyle / Time To Double Dip! Exploring The Chutney Cuisine With Cookbook Author Jasmine Daya

Time To Double Dip! Exploring The Chutney Cuisine With Cookbook Author Jasmine Daya

Culture & Lifestyle Oct 22, 2018

She’s a triple threat – a mother of three, a successful lawyer, and an author.  We caught up with Jasmine Daya in Toronto to chat about the pleasures of food, managing time and her latest venture – her first cookbook – JD in the Kitchen: Indian Appetizers and Chutneys


GW: How do you manage work, home and still find time to write?

JD: Admittedly, my life has become quite chaotic with an intense pace that never stops but when you love what you do, it’s not “work” but instead a way of life that gives me great pleasure. I have daily to-do lists for work and home that keep me in line with what needs to be accomplished for the day. I also rely on my calendar to ensure that I don’t miss anything. Even my kids are well aware that if it’s not in my calendar, it doesn’t exist!


Exploring The Chutney Cuisine With Cookbook Author Jasmine Daya
Exploring The Chutney Cuisine With Cookbook Author Jasmine Daya: Jasmine Daya. Photo Credit: Jasmine Daya


GW: How important do you find food and family meals?

JD: Food is not only necessary but is one of life’s simple pleasures. It can evoke a feeling of immense pleasure, such as when you smell a freshly baked item straight out of the oven or take that first bite of a sinfully sweet dessert. Food also brings people together. Whether it’s building a relationship with colleagues, negotiating a deal, laughing with friends or bonding with your family.

The importance of making memories with food and family meals was instilled in me by my parents. We used to have dinner together almost every night growing up. Sometimes there would be lots to chat about and sometimes everyone was too tired to talk but we were together and that strengthened us as a family. My parents loved entertaining and having our home full of joy and laughter. They would say “What’s the point in having a house if you don’t enjoy making use of it?”  Food was the centre of it all.

GW: What inspired you to write the cookbook?

JD: I started writing down my grandmother’s recipes when I was in high school.  I lived in Toronto and she lived in Victoria. I used to fax the recipes to her and she would make corrections and fax it back to me. I still recall that glossy fax paper roll that used to come out of the fax machine. I would stand in front of it anxiously awaiting the slow transmission to complete. She was an incredible cook. I’ve heard stories about how she won baking competitions in Nairobi back in the day. As she aged and started to develop health issues, I wanted to ensure that her memory would live on through her recipes. Although the recipes have been tweaked over time by both my mother and me, many of them are rooted from my grandmother’s recipe collection. In particular, the Indian sweet dish recipes which is one of the cookbooks in the series that will be released shortly.


Exploring The Chutney Cuisine With Cookbook Author Jasmine Daya
Exploring The Chutney Cuisine With Cookbook Author Jasmine Daya: Her Cookbook. Photo Credit: Jasmine Daya


GW: What about appetizers and chutneys enticed you to write a whole book about them?

JD: My first book, JD in the Kitchen: Indian Appetizers and Chutneys, is only the first in a series of cookbooks. I chose to start with this one as it not only shows how to start a meal but also enables people who may not normally cook Indian food to try it out. Once we get to the entrees, there are a lot more ingredients and steps for each recipe so I’m easing my audience into it!

GW: What is your favourite chutney and why?

JD: That’s a difficult question! It depends on what I’m pairing it with but if I had to choose one, it would be Coriander Green Chili chutney. It’s delicious, adds a colour burst to the table, it’s ready within minutes, minimal mess and I usually have the ingredients at home. This chutney also pairs well with non-Indian food!

GW: How do you pair chutneys and foods? Which flavour profiles are complimentary?

JD: Pairing chutney with food is mostly based on tradition within Indian culture, it’s just known what pairs with what. It’s kind of how in western culture you can put barbeque sauce or ketchup with anything you want but you generally know what it should be served with.

Exploring The Chutney Cuisine With Cookbook Author Jasmine Daya
Exploring The Chutney Cuisine With Cookbook Author Jasmine Daya: Her Ismailia Bhajia. Photo Credit: Jasmine Daya.


GW: For the beginner chefs out there, what is an easy recipe to start with from your book?

JD: Most of the appetizer recipes in my book are relatively easy but if you want to start with an extremely simple one, Reshmi Bhajia may be a good option as it’s just like making mini pancakes except spicy and flavourful!

GW: What is your favourite recipe from the book?

JD: Ismailia Bhajia is my favourite appetizer and has been since childhood!  My mom used to make this for me and could not keep up with how fast I would eat them with my dad. I now make it myself but definitely not often as I can’t stop eating these addictive potato fritters. Given that I’m not a kid anymore, overeating is problematic in the mid-section. The recipe is online if you want to try it out, its super easy to make.

GW: Where can readers purchase your book?

JD: The hardcopy of my book is available on Amazon and Lulu however a spiral bound copy which is perfect for the kitchen is available on my website, where you can also preview some of the recipes. I also have a mini spice packet line available on my website so you don’t have to buy large packages of Indian spices from the grocery store and then worry about storing them in your kitchen.

Now, get in the kitchen and spice it up!


Main Image Photo Credit: Jasmine Daya 

Geeta Wahab

Geeta Wahab


Cultivating a life she loves, Geeta (@geets.suites) is chasing all her passions, including her love for home décor. As a brand new home owner, her current journey has launched her further into that world - check out her Instagram @geets.suites for tidbits of her story and other decorating pieces. A...


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