Born and raised in Kathmandu, Dixya Bhattarai has been living in the United States since the last 10 years. She is a Clinical Dietitian by profession and an aspiring Food Blogger at Food, Pleasure, and Health. She has been steadily blogging since the year 2012, and sharing recipes created in her tiny kitchen in Fort Worth Texas.
Batsala Rajdhami of Glocal KhabarÂ recently interviewed the lady behind the popular food blog. Excerpts:
Can you please your culinary journey? When was the first time you cooked?
I started cooking after I graduated from college, during my internship around 2010/2011. I had no interest in cooking while I was in Nepal so my true culinary interest started only within the last few years. I donâ€™t recall the first time I cooked but I vaguely remember making instant noodles when I was in Nepal.
And, how did you get into blogging?
I started blogging around 2011 when I started cooking a lot more. Food, Pleasure, and Health is my passion project that started as a way to document nutrition-related information and recipes I was experimenting with in my tiny kitchen. Over the years, it has evolved into a food blog where I share wholesome recipes and nutrition-related articles to inspire everyone to cook quick, home-made, nutritious meals.
Can you tell me some of your strengths that really helped you in cooking and food blogging?
One of my biggest strengths is my educational background in Nutrition. I have a Bachelors and Masters of Science in Nutrition, so naturally that helped me understand the importance of nutrition for my health and wellness.
Do you eat out often? When you do, whatâ€™s your strategy to make sure youâ€™ll still be eating paleo?
I love eating out but since I limit eating out to mostly on the weekends or special occasions, I enjoy it to the fullest.
Do you indulge in cheat meals once in a while? How frequently and what does a typical cheat meal look like?
I am not a huge fan of â€˜cheat mealâ€™ or â€˜cheat daysâ€™. Instead of feeling deprived or binge eat in one sitting, I like to enjoy everything in moderation.
Can you share about an instance when you came up with a really well turned out dish? Would you please share about your proudest achievement?
I was really happy when I was able to recreate Restaurant Style Red Thai Curry at home! Itâ€™s a staple, flexible recipe that is loved by everyone.
What is the availability of ingredients like in the Texas? Are you able to cook all of your favorite dishes?
Texas is a mecca for all the ingredients you can possibly imagine. I am fortunate to be surrounded by multi-cultural grocery stores within 10-15 milesâ€™ radius, and online shopping has made accessibility to ingredients so much easier. I wish I was better at cooking Nepali food, especially things like â€˜mula ko acharâ€™, â€˜khasi ko masuâ€™, and â€˜chatamariâ€™.
Are there any cooking techniques, dishes or styles that particularly intimidate you and you have yet to try?
I do not have any formal training in cooking so everything I do is through repetition and practice in the kitchen. I am mostly intimated by baking because patience and methodically measuring everything is not my style.
You share a lot of basic cooking tips and recipes on your blog. Are there any â€˜Dixya Bhattaraiâ€™ trade secrets that are still hidden from the public eye?
I donâ€™t have any trade secrets per se, however leading a healthy lifestyle is a priority for me so it does require a little bit of planning, time management, and routine in my everyday life. Some of the things I do on a weekly basis includes meal planning and cooking most meals at home.
Dentists are known to be very precise in their actions. Do you carry this precision into cooking or do you go by instinct?
I am not very methodical when it comes to cooking, which is why baking is not my strongest suite. However, cooking is a technique that does require some attention but I taste and cook as I go.
Can you remember the worst cooking nightmare you have been through? Any epic recipe failures?
I have recipe failures a lot more than I would like to admit. I like to experiment with recipes and make them nutritious, which requires alternate cooking method or ingredient substitution and things always donâ€™t go as planned.
If you could just banish any one food, from the earth, what would it be?
I donâ€™t like raisins, papaya, and grapes with seeds so Iâ€™d be just fine without these foods.
Whatâ€™s the one kitchen tool you couldnâ€™t live without?
I love a good, sharp knife!
Whatâ€™s your favourite recipe from your blog?
Whatâ€™s the most adventurous dish youâ€™ve ever eaten?
On my recent trip to Mexico, I ate a dish called Huitlacoche tartâ€Šâ€”â€Šhugely filling pastry with the fungi which grows on corn.
What ingredients would you bring on a desert island with you? (Pick only 3!)
If I could bring only three ingredients, it would probably be nut butter, eggs, and coffee.
What are your cooking inspirations? Give your Top 4 things that inspire you the most?
My cooking inspirations are seasons, my pantry/refrigerator, other cooks, and my bottomless appetite!
What would you say that is the greatest satisfaction of being a food blogger?
I love how I can use Food, Pleasure, and Health as a platform to share my kitchen experiments and nutrition-related information with people all over the world.
How satisfied are you with the financial aspect of food blogging?
I donâ€™t rely on my food blog for income, however, it brings me several partnership opportunities which I am very grateful for.
What advice would you give to people willing to start a food blog?
For anyone starting a food blog, just do it. Itâ€™s a great way to channel your creativity, learn different skills such as writing, photography, cooking, and most importantly, you become a part of a community!
What can we expect from Dixya Bhattarai in the future?
I hope I can continue to inspire people to make nutrition their priority through my recipes and nutrition articles. Besides sharing easy, wholesome recipes that can be made by anyone in the kitchen, I hope to have cooking videos soon as it is easier for everyone to follow through.