I was born and raised in Ndola, Zambia, Central Africa, by my mother, who was an excellent Indian chef. She taught me her most difficult dishes, all-time favorites, vegan/nonvegan samosas. Growing up with this daily repetition of making chapatis and samosas along with other Indian delicacies, I mastered those skills very well.
When I was 20, my parents got me married to an Indian businessman here in Manila. We were blessed with five children.
Then came an opening in Maya Kitchen. The chefs who were my friends felt I could hold classes successfully. Again, it was the samosas and dal puri (yellow lentil and deep-fried puffed Indian bread).
Over the years, the Mediterranean feast became my trademark: kebabs and assorted wraps as quick meals for bachelors.
In 2004 and 2007, I had health setbacks. I had a brain hemorrhage and was diagnosed with breast cancer. I recovered miraculously with God’s grace and healing. I had an encounter with Jesus and an angel during my surgery.
After my recovery, I started counseling as a certified life coach by the Fowler Wainwright Institute of Professional Coaching. This opened many doors of healing and praying for others.
My meeting with chef Reggie Aspiras brought about a perfect understanding; she believed in my cooking skills and gave me the opening to hold classes in her perfectly designed kitchen. Their favorites expanded to include vegetable/chicken biryani, chicken masala, bhaigan baratha (roasted eggplant with spices), masala potato bhaji and palak paneer. We held both angel readings and cooking sessions. Chef Reggie and I both understood the attitude of gratitude. We both served healthy home-cooked meals to children. It gave us a purpose to serve the Lord and appreciate all that we have in our life.
My five children are all adults, following in my footsteps. My youngest son is a chef. All my children have acquired the loving skills for cooking their favorite cuisines. My mother is so proud of each of them, as her legacy continues.
By 2020, I had survived nine surgeries and this has not stopped me from praying to the Lord whom I serve. Now I start courageously as an author of my first book, “No Longer I,” which speaks of my life as a spiritual warrior, my love for God as I overcame my trials.
My gratitude to chef Reggie for believing in my gifts. Glory be to God.
Chicken Masala (aka Karahi Chicken Masala)
1 kg chicken thighs and legs, about 10 pc
Juice of 1 lemon (cut in half)
1 Tbsp yogurt + ½ c beaten yogurt
3 Tbsp ghee (clarified butter) or preferred oil
3 red onions, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp masala spice
Red chili powder
Kasoori methi (fenugreek)
Marinate the chicken with a bit of salt, half the lemon juice, and 1 Tbsp yogurt. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Heat in a deep pan the ghee or preferred oil.
Fry the red onions, until golden in color.
Add red chili powder, if desired, and stir well.
Add 2 Tbsp of masala spice. Stir very well over medium flame for a few minutes.
Add the chicken pieces and stir-fry very well.
Add salt to taste.
Take beaten plain yogurt and mix into the chicken mixture.
Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Mix often, as you don’t want the bottom to stick or burn.
Add as a final touch a pinch of kasoori methi and juice of other half of lemon.
Garnish with sliced chilies and chopped fresh cilantro.
Serve this with hot roti (bread).
The author is a mother who loves cooking as her mother taught her. She is a life coach consultant and counselor. She is also the author of the book “No Longer I”; tel. 0917-7913369.
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