Categories
Food Food Story

BUILD YOUR FOOD STARTUP: EMPLOY A SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING STRATEGY

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Pexels.com

Granny’s food is what legends are made of. Unlabelled containers stuffed with snacks and masalas like mystery boxes. Made in house. Daily staples such as milk and cheese, common. But no meat. On any ceremonious occasion, tradition explicitly forbade the consumption of meat or eggs, because the killing of animals was inauspicious. The food was served on pattal leaves to guests, or steel plates which were in the homes.

Food is not something that resonates with everyone magically. It has evolved by leaps and only those who are in sync with this evolution are paving the way into the future. Perhaps you are already someone who has a deep connection with food. Isn’t it time to introduce your passion for it to your city folks?

Indian food scene is distressingly out of sync with our roots because restauranteurs have tried to make the janta happy by offering mediocre versions of local dishes. But many food chains have also made their mark by following their brand vision. How did they manage?

Show a readily-identifiable sign that the food you serve is a wonderful choice in everybody’s opinion.

True, marketing and promotions help. But if you have skill, passion and a dream, that counts for a lot more. Let’s talk more.

Let’s take an example. Rajesh is a passionate foodie in the city with a mission – of introducing the public to the plant-rich dishes. If Rajesh had turned his focus to vegetarian food – and by extension, plant-rich, then that niche opens a window into the gastronomical delights of Indian cuisine that he would have to master. But he wanted the focus on being ‘plant-rich’. Your next question is:

How will the number of sales increase?

When it comes to starting a new venture, it is all in a name. By that, I mean that people should learn about you. Otherwise, having no publicity can be injurious to your brand. Very few brands are actually able to create something that resonate with the public, inspite of lack of publicity. But even if they don’t have publicity, there are other factors such as financial support and funding that aid them.

However as I mentioned, others need it.

If you look at some brands that started from scratch without any funding, their success story is deeply entwined with having a successful social media marketing strategy.

Should you have a lot of vigour to stay ahead, get more publicity as it can be very important for your business – it can actually complement your growth.

Remember, there are still rules when it comes to social media. The strategy needs skill.

If you are looking for a social media marketing consultant for a food startup, let’s connect.

Currently a food and travel writer + social media marketing consultant for food startups, Aishwarya Khanna found reading about food and beverage, inventing new recipes in the kitchen and overall trying to learn the ropes of food consulting very exciting. So she decided to be in this field and worked a short while in a cafe and hotel for practical experience. She doesn’t have a background in hospitality. But she loves every two cents’ of advice she can get to thrive in this industry.

Categories
Society

STOP BASHING WHISKEY

By Aishwarya Khanna

photo by ghee and maida

PS: This is a feel-good post.

I was trying out food combinations at home and so I came up with this sexy duo of cheese spread and dark chocolate on a cracker, which I believe would taste well with whiskey. So my mind scrambled to Oban where I had my last experience with whiskey.

I decided to write about it.

Here it goes.

It was a sunny day in December and I had just arrived in Oban from Mallaig.

Just like any holiday town, Oban was tucked away in glory and circled by water. I was not really sea-sick because I was too excited to embark on the trail – from one end of the town to the other. I traced the horse-shoe shaped path to stay on dot and reached the finish point. And that took 30 minutes. That was the trail.

But despite the small size of the town, it is such a bewildering place to talk about.

Wait don’t be puzzled yet. I meant in relation to the whiskey after all – which itself is made with the water of the Oban bay.

Even though the locals are quite familiar with Oban whiskey, the tourists are slightly bewildered.

With its reputation for having one the best Scotch whiskies, there is no doubt that the best things will often be given the highest benefit of the doubt. So naturally Oban can be an intimidating place. The tourist says: Hey, I’m sure Oban must be the holiday spot of the elite so I’m sure, I don’t want to step in there.

Most people stigmatise whiskey as a pretentious hobby for the rich. We, as naive learners, connect 2 + 2 to make 5. However, individually, there are some elements of truth to both the things. First, the stigma around drinking whiskey or any type of alcohol, exists. As long as people are going to stigmatise whiskey, they will automatically stigmatise the rich. And that’s where the second problem lies: connecting every problem we have to the rich.

Yes, it is true that whiskey is presented as an elitist commodity. Yes, it is also true that the rich truly believe that it is an elitist commodity. But the smart buyers are not falling for that crap anymore. High society snobbery is soon going to dwindle because the numbers in which they exist will dwindle at some point. The market is swarming with the newest brands of whiskey players in the market. They are more energetic and approachable and unmasking the double standards of the whiskey industry.

The new rule of drinking states that it is a fun activity to be enjoyed with folks. So why can’t we just keep our confusion, our stigmas and our grudges aside about drinking, and have a good time in the bar? Do you need more incentive to change your mindset?

I got you.

Here’s another one.

We are still waiting for good things to happen to us. I repeat: we are waiting for good things to happen. No more bad days, no more failures, no more losing we say. But everyday is the same. And so, we never make that impulsive decision. We never climb Mt. Everest. We never take that road trip in Spain. And all that is understandable. But we don’t have to do everything as ordinary people.

At least we can enjoy the small things like having two cheat days in a row and still hitting the gym. We can go out twice in a week and hang out in our favourite place. We can message that crush of ours and ask him or her out on a date. We can do so little and still be happy.

I agree that there was no need for using this post about whiskey to talk about the other stuff too. But sometimes, I am so flustered by the thought of us faking it all out all the time, pretending as though our lives are so rich with love when in fact, this journey means constantly rediscovering what makes us happy. Can’t we be more creative?

Now I truly feel like doing things differently. I feel like being truly authentically myself. So seriously drink! Maybe it is raining, drink. Maybe you’re angry. Drink. Maybe you’re starved. Drink. It’s all good!

If you still looking for a reason to complain, you can always talk to me. Just hit me up! I am always ready to hear people’s problems out. I am always ready to sprinkle your problems with a little bit of laughter.

Categories
Cook Flavour-Bomb Food

SOYA CHAAP Ⓥ

Active Time: 1 Hour

Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

Yield: 3-4 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

1CHOPPED ONION
1CHOPPED TOMATO
2CHOPPED GREEN CHILLIS
250 GRAMSSOYA CHAAP PIECES
1/2 TSPPEPPERCORNS
1/2 TSPFENNEL SEEDS
1/2 TSPCUMIN SEEDS
1 TSPCHILLI FLAKES
1-2 TSPCHILLI POWDER
1 TSPCUMIN POWDER
1/2 TSPTURMERIC
1 TSPCORIANDER POWDER
1 TSPSALT
2-3 TBSPLEMON JUICE
1/2 TSPPEPPER
1/2 TSPMANGO POWDER

STEPS:

Step One: Prepare the Marinade

There are three parts.

Heat oil in a pan. Add half of the chopped onion and tomato along with a few chopped green chillis. Mix properly while pan is on low-flame. Remove when slightly brown.

In a pestle, grind fennel seeds, cumin seeds, chilli flakes, peppercorns (not too smoothly). Add 1/2 tsp(s) of chilli, coriander, cumin and mango powders respectively. Heat oil in a pan and dry-roast the masala on low-flame, till it turns fragrant.

Mix the masala with caramelised onion-tomato and blend together on high-speed.

Step Two: Marinate the Soya Pieces

In a bowl, combine soya with 1/2 tsp(s) of coriander powder, turmeric, chilli powder, salt and pepper respectively. Transfer the marinade to the bowl. Rub it gently on the soya pieces.

Step Three: Sauté the Soya

Finally, heat oil on medium flame. Add the remaining onions, tomatoes and chilli. Slide them to one side. Next, combine the marinated soya pieces and mix thoroughly for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat immediately, then sprinkle the remaining chilli powder, salt and lemon juice.

Suggested Pairing

Top the soya chaap with coriander sprigs and serve as it is, or with roti.

by Aishwarya Khanna

Currently a food and travel writer in India, Aishwarya Khanna pursued her bachelor’s from The University of Edinburgh. She loves enjoying the magic of Indian cuisine. Please see this section to know more about Aishwarya. Follow her food journey on Instagram.

Categories
Eat Out Food Story

REST AND RELAX BEFORE YOU OPEN DOORS AGAIN

Rest and relax, while you are inside. But if you are feeling the agony, embrace it because the rumours are true: here comes a revolution as soon as doors open again.

Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

Many experts in the restaurant industry have expressed that businesses are at the brink of death, as COVID-19 has swallowed up a whole industry in a matter of days. But the weaknesses of the industry businesses was not public knowledge to devour. Most of the facts related to the hardships of the people in this industry were truths that only the insider was privy to. The workers have, since long, been under-praised for their service.

Survival in the service industry is burdensome. When restaurants were open, there was so much going on. You couldn’t be absent even if you are eyewateringly sick, as people are counting on you to deliver an experience that is going to knock someone’s socks off. However bringing your A-game forward has not just been harder and harder, it has not paid off well either. Many restaurants are scared to pick pace and thus, have hesitated to open doors again.

But beware: don’t take it lightly when you are ready. This time, you will face the wrath of employees who will fight for their rights.

The Kalyug Age

How unfortunate that the restaurants employing more than 700,000 people in India are so bogged by the decimated visibility of their brand. But on the edge, the question that is still relevant remains: what will they do to salvage workers’ rights? Will they do anything at all? Will the fight for unionisation be the future of hospitality? Sounds to me like the revolution which was sure to happen gradually in the restaurant industry is going to take place now.

When death comes to greet you, you meet him as a welcome friend than a gruesome foe. However those who are seeing the impact immediately are feeling anger and resentment as things begin to fall apart. They shall not be stepping down without a fight. Restaurants, big and small, might rise again with a bombshell of new trends that will attract dining guests sooner or later but the atmosphere behind the scenes is going to perpetrate immensely.

Many of us hope the situation turns in the workers’ favour. But if employees throw spaghetti on walls to rebel against the poor work pay, this movement may die down before it even begins.

Some restauranteurs are pro-community industry experts. Their restaurants are a vehicle for revolution unto themselves– catalysts for the boundary-pushing socio-cultural and economic evolution of the country. Through their input, things have progressed far more than we know in this gigantic circus inspite of trials and tribulations.

I agree that there are many flaws too but if you are going to revolt rashly against a part of the system that we all know is crippling, then you may push away those people who may be willing to support you.

As doors open, it is slightly pushing it too far to conclude that guests will always stand up and support their favourite restaurant. Pro-community industry experts will agree that the change has to, most probably, come from within. But it has to come slowly and steadily, not by venting out one’s emotions.

A Plea: Celebrate Employees, Who Are the Heart, Soul and Brand.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

The channel between the customer and the server has incentivised a new dialogue. When you factor how people are feeling the heaviness of loneliness in the new world, you clearly see how restaurants bring our emotions to the fore that stand in stark contrast to our disdain towards the turmoil. The person we meet as well as the server who we come in contact with at the restaurants seem to inherit, or at the very least, understand all our idealistic hopes that we bring with us in the desire to have a good time.

If employees have to return to their jobs with a hanging face, feeling unrequited, not only will their career growth suffer badly but their families will have to pay the price. No matter how tough things get, I urge restauranteurs not to break up with their work family.

Small businesses have taken the worst hit. Support them by ordering in. Beyond that, it will take a two-way channel between the government and the restauranteurs to give employees relief in the pressure test. It will also take a lot of commitment from the leader – the boss, and the investors to pay for the employees’ small and big expenditures as long as the lockdown is imposed.

Time is passing. The pandemic has left us in confusion, but to abandon the playground to save yourself first is exactly what you need to avoid. It is true that the cost of rent, imported foods, and the lack of safety are the issues that the restauranteurs need to deal with first. But in the meantime, do not forget to take care of the people who work hard to make your restaurant a success.

Currently a food and travel writer, Aishwarya Khanna is also a graduate from The University of Edinburgh. She is currently in India. Please see this section to know more about Aishwarya.

Categories
Cook Flavour-Bomb Food

QUARANTINE EXPERIMENT 10.

Active Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 3 Servings

RECIPE BY AISHWARYA KHANNA. FOLLOW HER FOOD JOURNEY ON INSTAGRAM.

INGREDIENTS:

1 CUP COOKED WHITE/BROWN RICE, 1 CUP CAULIFLOWER FLORETS, 1 CUP GRATED CABBAGE, 150 GRAMS COTTAGE CHEESE, 1 CUP TOMATO PUREE, 1 BAY LEAF, 1 KASMIRI CHILLI, 1 TSP MUSTARD SEEDS, 1 TBSP PAV BHAJI MASALA, 1 TSP GARAM MASALA, 3/4 TBSP CHILLI, 1/2 TBSP TURMERIC, 1/4 TBSP CORIANDER POWDER, 1 TBSP SALT.

STEPS:

Step One: Make the tomato base.

Heat oil in a cooking utensil on medium flame. Add the bay leaf and Kashmiri chilli. Pour the tomato puree and add these spices to the puree: chilli, turmeric, coriander and pav bhaji masala.

Step Two: Add the veggies and protein.

When the tomato puree starts sizzling, add the cauliflower florets, grated cabbage and cubes of cottage cheese. Mix thoroughly. Add rice to the mix. Top it with garam masala and salt. Stir thoroughly.

Currently a food and travel writer, Aishwarya Khanna is also a graduate from The University of Edinburgh. She is currently in India. Please see this section to know more about Aishwarya.

Categories
Drinks

QUARANTINE EXPERIMENT 9.

Active Time: 30 Minutes

Total Time: 30 Minutes

Yield: Makes 4 Servings

RECIPE BY AISHWARYA KHANNA. FOLLOW HER FOOD JOURNEY ON INSTAGRAM

INGREDIENTS FOR THE LEMONADE SYRUP:

2 CUPS WATER, 1 TSP CHOPPED BASIL, 1 TSP GINGER, 1 TSP FENNEL SEEDS, 1/4 TSP RED CHILLI ZEST, 1 LEMON, 1 TSP PEPPERCORNS, 6 TSP SUGAR 1/2 TSP APRICOT SYRUP (OPTIONAL), 1 TSP CHIA SEEDS

STEPS:

Step One: Make the basil water.

Put the chopped basil and one cup of water in a blender. Mix it on high speed till the basil dissolves evenly.

Step Two: Make the syrup.

Heat the remaining one cup of water on medium flame in a pot. Add the fennel seeds, peppercorns, ginger and chilli zest and squeeze the lemon juice. Add basil water and sugar while stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and let it chill.

Suggested Pairing:

Fill a glass with ice cubes, apricot syrup and chia seeds. Pour 4 tbsp of the syrup. Top with cold water. Stir.

Currently a food and travel writer, Aishwarya Khanna is also a graduate from The University of Edinburgh. She is currently in India. Please see this section to know more about Aishwarya.

Categories
Cook Food Fusion

QUARANTINE EXPERIMENT 11.

Active Time: 1 Hour

Total Time: 2 Hours

Yield: Makes 5 Servings

RECIPE BY AISHWARYA KHANNA. FOLLOW HER FOOD JOURNEY ON INSTAGRAM.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE PUFF PASTRY:

2 CUPS ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR, 1 1/4 CUPS FROZEN BUTTER, 1 TSP SALT, 2 CUPS WATER, 1 1/4 CUP SUGAR

INGREDIENTS FOR THE LENTIL FILLING:

350 GRAMS SOAKED GREEN LENTILS, 2 CUPS WATER, 1 CHOPPED ONION, 1 TSP GARLIC-CHILLI PASTE, 2 TSP CHILLI, 1 TSP CORIANDER POWDER, 1 TSP CUMIN POWDER, 1 TSP SALT (AS PER TASTE), 2 TBSP LEMON JUICE, 1 TBSP OIL

STEPS:

Step One: Make the puff pastry.

This step has two parts.

Mix all the dry ingredients with water so that it forms a loose dough. Transfer it on a baking sheet, wrap, and put in the fridge to chill for one hour.

Remove the dough from the baking sheet and put it on a flat surface. Laminate the dough by folding and repeating many times using a spatula or your fist, so that you get at least two to three layers of butter and dough. This is a very important step because when the frozen butter comes in contact with the heat, it will make the dough flaky. Ensure that the butter spreads evenly by folding the dough. Freeze for an extra hour.

To read more about laminating: click here.

Step Two: Make the lentil mix.

Fill water in a pot and put the lentils in. Cook lentils on medium flame till they turn mushy. Drain the water out. Mix all the spices with the lentils.

Step Three: Make the lentil filling.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan on medium flake. Caramelise the onions with the garlic-chilli paste. Add the lentils and mix thoroughly. Squeeze lemon juice. When the mixture looks dry, grind it in a blender.

Step Four: Stuff the filling in the puff pastry.

Remove the dough from the baking sheet. Stretch it out as long as possible. Since this is a homemade pastry, you have to use a rolling pin to make a rectangle. You can divide your pastry into mini rectangles but I used the long rectangle as it is. Spread the lentil filling on it and fold from the sides.

Pro Tip: Make one giant puff on the long rectangle. 🙂

Step Five: Bake.

Pre-heat the oven at 120 C. Transfer the puff pastry on the baking tray. Bake at 200 C for 20 minutes.

Currently a food and travel writer, Aishwarya Khanna is also a graduate from The University of Edinburgh. She is currently in India. Please see this section to know more about Aishwarya.

Categories
Cook Food

QUARANTINE EXPERIMENT 8. Ⓥ

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: Makes 2 Servings

RECIPE BY AISHWARYA KHANNA. FOLLOW HER FOOD JOURNEY ON INSTAGRAM.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SCRAMBLE:

5-6 CUBED SAUTEED OR DEEP-FRIED TOFU, 1/4 BOWL OF CHOPPED ONIONS, 1/4 BOWL OF TOMATOES, 1 KASHMIRI CHILLI

INGREDIENTS FOR THE MASALA:

1/2 TSP CHILLI FLAKES, 1/2 TSP CORIANDER POWDER, 1/2 TSP CUMIN POWDER, 1/2 TSP SALT, 1/2 TSP TURMERIC, 1/2 TSP PEPPERCORNS, 1 TSP GINGER-GARLIC PASTE, 1/4 CINNAMON STICK, 2 CLOVES, 1/2 LEMON

STEPS:

Step One: Deep-fry tofu.

In a mixing bowl, rub the tofu with ginger-garlic paste. Heat oil in a cooking vessel. Start adding the tofu pieces. Flip them on all sides till they turn golden. Do not let the pieces stick to the bottom of the vessel or they can burn.

Learn how to make homemade tofu.

Step Two: Ground the spices.

Grind all the spices and half of the ginger-garlic paste in a pestle. Heat a pan on low-flame. Put the masala in the pan and shake it so that large debris breaks down; remove after twenty seconds.

Step Three: Grind tomatoes and onions.

In a blender, mix onions, tomatoes, kashmiri chilli flake and leftover garlic-ginger paste.

Step Four: Sauté everything.

Heat oil in a pan. Add the deep-fried tofu, the grounded paste, onions and tomatoes. Squeeze lemon juice.

Suggested Pairing:

In India, a common breakfast is egg or cottage cheese scramble with paratha. Try tofu scramble with a flaky homemade paratha.

Currently a food and travel writer, Aishwarya Khanna is also a graduate from The University of Edinburgh. She is currently in India. Please see this section to know more about Aishwarya.

Categories
Cook Flavour-Bomb Food Gourmet

QUARANTINE EXPERIMENT 7. Ⓥ

Active Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Yield: Makes 3 servings

RECIPE BY AISHWARYA KHANNA. FOLLOW HER FOOD JOURNEY ON INSTAGRAM.

INGREDIENTS FOR PANISSE:

2 CUPS CHICKPEA FLOUR, 1 CUP WATER, PINCH OF TURMERIC, PINCH OF SALT, HERBS OF YOUR CHOICE, SESAME SEEDS FOR GARNISH

INGREDIENTS FOR ONION CHUTNEY:

1/4 CUP CHOPPED ONIONS, 1 TSP OLIVE OIL, 1 TSP LEMON SQUEEZE, 1 TSP CHILLI FLAKES, 1 TSP SRIRACHA

STEPS:

Step One: Make Your Own Tofu From Scratch.

In a mixing bowl, put all the ingredients for panisse (burmese tofu). Whisk the mixture and transfer it to a pot on low-flame. Using a spatula, keep stirring it till the mixture becomes thicker. Transfer into a glass dish. Refrigerate for 40-50 minutes.

Step Two: Make Your Own Onion Chutney.

Put pan on medium heat. Add the olive oil. Sauté the onions till they turn brown. Add the rest of the ingredients; stir constantly till the chutney begins to thicken.

Suggested Use

Toast sourdough slices. Spread peanut butter, onion chutney and tofu on each slice for a gourmet experience!

Currently a food and travel writer, Aishwarya Khanna is also a graduate from The University of Edinburgh. She is currently in India. Please see this section to know more about Aishwarya.

Categories
Cook Food

QUARANTINE EXPERIMENT 6. Ⓥ

Active Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Makes 1 Bowl

RECIPE BY AISHWARYA KHANNA. FOLLOW HER FOOD JOURNEY ON INSTAGRAM.

INGREDIENTS FOR STIR-FRY:

2 CUPS WATER, 1 CUP VERMICELLI NOODLES, 1/2 CUP BELL PEPPERS, 2-3 GREEN CHILLIES, 1 TSP OLIVE OIL, 1TSP GINGER-GARLIC PASTE, 2-3 TSP COCONUT MILK

INGREDIENTS FOR THE COCONUT-CARAMEL PASTE:

1/2 TSP CHILLI FLAKES, 1/2 TSP PEPPERCORNS, 1 TSP GARLIC-GINGER PASTE, 1 TSP SALT, 1 TSP SRIRACHA SAUCE, 1 TBSP COCONUT SUGAR, 1 TBSP SOY SAUCE

STEPS:

Step One: Make the sweet paste.

Combine coconut sugar and soy sauce in a small bowl; microwave for 20 seconds till the sugar dissolves; remove. Add chilli flakes, garlic-ginger paste, salt and sriracha sauce. Mix well.

Step Two: Boil the rice noodles.

Heat water in a steel pot over low flame. Add salt. Throw in the rice noodles. Let them rest. Remove the rice noodles when they turn soft.

Step Three: Sauté the veggies.

Heat oil in a pan. Once it begins to splutter, add the ginger-garlic paste along with the veggies. Stir it all in the pan till they look slightly charred.

Step Four: Mix everything.

Add the rice noodles and the coconut-caramel paste. Pour the coconut milk in the pan and mix thoroughly.

Currently a food and travel writer, Aishwarya Khanna is also a graduate from The University of Edinburgh. She is currently in India. Please see this section to know more about Aishwarya.