Meet Award-Winning Cookbook Author Monisha Bharadwaj

Updated: Apr 15

Writer Name: Monisha Bharadwaj

Location: London, UK

Years of Experience: 35

Available for writing projects: Yes

Niche/Beat/Genre: Indian Cooking

Website: Cooking with Monisha

Other sites: Facebook, Instagram

Books (if applicable): 16, including The Indian Cooking Course (2016), Indian in 7 (2019)

Favorite food: Indian

Writing tip for fellow writers: Never give up!

female chef standing with arms crossed
Monisha Bharadwaj is an award-winning London-based author of 16 books.

Chef Monisha Bharadwaj is an award-winning London-based author of 16 books. She was awarded Cookery Writer of the Year in 2003, and her latest book, Indian in 7 has won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award UK 2020 for Best Indian Cookbook in the World. Her books have sold almost a million copies in eight languages.

Monisha trained as a professional chef in Mumbai, and has been a food consultant to the Times of India, creating menus for celebrities, such as the deputy Prime Minister of India. She's been invited to speak about Indian cuisine, and has been a judge on Iron Chef America on The Food Network.

How long have you been writing about Indian food?

I trained as an Indian chef in India in the early '80s and started writing about food soon after, so quite a few years now.

Tell us about your books and how they differ from one another.

I’ve written 16 books and am currently writing my next one, which will be published at the end of 2021.

My books differ either in theme (India’s Vegetarian Cooking, Stylish Indian in Minutes, Indian in 7) or in the readership they target (The Indian Cooking Course, which is like a bible for those want to learn about the cuisine from the inside out).

Why did you decide to start a website about Indian food?

I opened my Indian cookery school in London in 2004, and the website was essentially for that business. It also lists all the other work I do, writing, events, talks and more. The website allows me to engage with my clients and let them know about my cookery classes, both in-person and online ones, as well as new book releases.

What is your favorite Indian meal, and why?

I truly believe that one’s favorite food is that which is linked to memory and comfort. That’s why mine is a simple home style Indian vegetarian meal that includes rice, lentils and a vegetable side. My parents are vegetarian, and although I was not brought up as one, such a meal makes me feel warm and happy.

What is the most misunderstood thing about Indian food, in your opinion?

I’d say there are two things. Firstly, that Indian food is all curry! Secondly, that everything is spicy hot. Both are myths. Restaurant food is way different than home cooking, which is more subtle, fresh and varied.

Indian dish murgh dum biryani
Monisha teaches how to make dishes like murgh dum biryani at her London-based cookery school Cooking with Monisha.

Can you share any quick tips for those who love Indian food but are afraid attempt cooking it?

Don’t be afraid of the diversity and complexity of Indian food. I am sometimes asked, 'Where shall I begin?' The answer is, keep it simple. Make an easy curry (my mantra is few ingredients) with rice. Add a salad and some natural yogurt on the side, and you’ll have a feast.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your current career?

I love the fact that through my books, I’ve managed to go into nearly a million kitchens and inspire people to eat Indian food like it should be eaten--with an emphasis on good health, wellbeing and flavor. I love it when readers get in touch with me via social media and share photos of their dinner.

Every evening, I see quite a few delicious images of my recipes being made all around the world. That’s the best reward of all.

Anything else you’d like to add?

As a food writer, I try to keep myself current by constantly researching food and Indian food in particular. While creating and writing recipes, I keep in mind that they will be prepared in different countries around the world so I try to keep my ingredients and methods easy, but authentic.