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Weekend

Updated on: Sunday, December 19, 2021, 07:49 AM IST

Foodie Trail: 'We started from home and now we have a godown at Vikhroli', says Heena Thakkar, a proud owner of Rahe Gujarati Snacks company

Mumbai-based food blogger and homechef Heena Thakkar, who has over 16.3k followers on Instagram, gives a glimpse into her kitchen
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“We try to keep our Instagram posts as real as possible. People should feel they are interacting with a human and not a company.”

Mumbai-based food blogger and home chef Heena Thakkar (30) has an impressive and burgeoning following—her Rahe Gujarati Snacks on Instagram boasts 16.3K followers. Heena strongly believes that the energy that goes into preparing a meal communicates itself to the person eating the meal. She says, “The secret recipe of our food is to make it with love.” She says without an iota of self-aggrandisation, “Most of the snacks recipes are 100 years old (got it from my grandmother). We have employed a special Maharaj to make the snacks.”

No artificial ingredients, healthy, hygienic and tasty food that is subjected to sampling and testing — nothing escapes Heena’s hawkeye. Her husband, Raj Mehta, who has a digital marketing background takes care of the marketing and order generation. Excerpts from a chat with her:

Did you take any formal training in cooking?

I am partly self-taught. Cooking has been my passion since my school days.

Who was your inspiration?

Both my grandmother and mom are brilliant cooks. My grandmother always complained that you guys don’t eat the real food. “The real food was what we ate in our growing years,” she would say.

What was the first dish you made?

Biryani — salt and masalas were less.

Were there any cooking disasters while trying new dishes?

My mom never took a risk and in my initial days, she was always around.

Besides Gujarati food do you specialise in any other cuisine?

Chinese.

How many people are there in your team?

We are a team of 10 members, which includes cooks, packaging, marketing team, etc. We have a process in place which helps us come up with new items.

At what stage did you feel confident to start your online business?

Friends and relatives were our initial clients. We had a very small stall in Mumbai. But we got tons of positive reviews and that gave us the much-needed push. We started from home and now we have a godown at Vikhroli, Mumbai.

What pushed you to start blogging?

It was mainly for building our brand.

Which has been your most successful post and why was it so appealing?

It was a reel of Makhana. Mainly because the life of a reel is much more than any other post as per the Instagram algorithm. Also, people can see what they are going to receive when they get a closer look at the product. We try to keep our Instagram posts as real as possible. People should feel they are interacting with a human and not a company.

What do you do to improve your content?

We keep on experimenting with the content and make a note of what gets the maximum engagement. Based on the performance we put similar kinds of content.

Sandwich Bhakarwadi

Sandwich Bhakarwadi

Ingredients:

For dough

2 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup gram flour

1 tsp carom seeds

2 tbsp oil

Salt

For stuffing

½ cup roasted peanuts

1 tsp poppy seeds

1 tsp sesame seeds

1 tsp fennel

1 tsp Kashmir red chilli powder

½ tsp garam masala

¼ tsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp sugar

Salt

½ lemon juice

Oil for frying

Method:

Dough preparation: In a large bowl, take one cup maida and 1 tbsp besan. Add ¼ tsp turmeric, a pinch of hing and half tsp salt. Mix it well. Now, pour 2 tbsp hot oil and mix well. Crumble and mix well making sure the flour is moist and holds shape when pressed between fists. Add water as required and knead to a smooth and tight dough. Grease the dough with a tsp of oil. cover and rest for 20 minutes.

Masala stuffing preparation:

In a small blender, take ¼ cup dry coconut — you can also use desiccated coconut. Add 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp fennel, 2 tsp sesame and 1 tsp poppy seeds. Further add ¼ tsp turmeric, 1 tsp chilli powder, pinch hing, ½ tsp aamchur, 2 tsp sugar and ½ tsp salt. Blend to slightly coarse powder without adding any water. Keep aside.

Preparing Bhakarwadi: Knead the dough slightly and pinch a large ball of dough. Flatten them as you do with chapati ball. Grease the rolling base and rolling pin with oil. Roll them into a round/square shape making them slightly thicker than chapati. Spread a tsp of tamarind chutney leaving the sides, followed by the masala stuffing leaving the edges. Now, grease water on the sides to seal the ends while rolling.

Slowly roll the dough tightly, making sure there are no gaps, or else while deep frying, bhakarwadi will fall apart. Cut the roll into 2 cm long or as desired. Press and flatten slightly. This helps layers and masala to be intact. Heat the oil on medium flame and deep fry the rolls on low flame. Stir occasionally till they turn golden brown and crispy. Drain the bhakarwadi on a kitchen towel to remove excess oil. Serve with masala tea or store in an airtight container once cooled.

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Published on: Sunday, December 19, 2021, 07:49 AM IST
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