Rasaala: What And Why


Having born in a community that consumes only vegetarian food, it was a challenge to be vegetarians while eating out when we first came to the US, back in the early ’90s.

We were regularly asked “if I take the meatballs out of the sauce, can you eat it” at restaurants. Burger King quickly became a favorite go-to fast food place for their veggie whoppers, and we learned to order cheese burgers, hold the burgers, please!

Our adopted country has come a long way since those days—the awareness for vegetarian food has tremendously increased. Most restaurants offer vegetarian versions of almost anything on the menu. (I recently went to a Mexican food truck selling burritos, and ordered a burrito minus the meat. Which was basically a taco, shredded cabbage and some sauce. The guy refused to charge me! )

We never discussed raising our kids as meat eaters – it was understood that our kids would be vegetarians as long as we fed them. Now, as grown ups, they are choosing to be vegetarians, and I am a happy mama!

Rasaala was born out of my need to leave a cultural thread—flimsy as it may be, but a strong vestige of the cultural identity, namely food, to my children.

Another reason was more selfish. When my kids left home, I started to panic about what would happen after I’m gone, and my kids want rasam, that most basic of South Indian comfort food, and the potato roast that they both love. Initially my kids suggested I publish a family cookbook. After I researched publishing, I came to the conclusion that a website is much more versatile and dynamic. And fun!
And so, Rasaala was born.

Rasaala is a Sanskrit word that means many things—among them, mango tree, nectar, and full of nectar—which spoke to me when I was brainstorming a name for the site.

What can you expect from Rasaala?

A few points about the recipes:

– All of my recipes are vegan/vegetarian

– I will acknowledge sources where I have used another’s recipes

– I will only post recipes that I have tried, and even though I eyeball most measures, will try to be as specific as I can be

– Since I don’t use eggs or products that have animal source such as gelatin, or cheese made with rennet, I’ll also provide appropriate substitutions as applicable

Though my recipes are not limited to Indian, a good number of them will be Indian. And, Indian cooking uses some specific tools. I have a section called Tools Of The Trade under Resources where I have listed these tools unique to Indian cooking, and a source to obtain them (usually from an Indian grocery store, or from India)

The logo:

I wanted the theme of my website to be represented in the logo, and I wanted it to be colorful, and I wanted it to be a little whimsical. I think I got all of it.

I would love to hear any constructive feedback you may have. Please feel free to drop a note to srilatha91@comcast.net.

Acknowledgements And Thanks
To all those I pestered while brainstorming a name, and the logo!

A special thanks to friends and my family who encouraged me along the way!

And to friends who wish to remain anonymous – you provided technical help, and guided and motivated me at every step to keep going!

Cheers and happy cooking!