The Lovely Home Kitchens of Mumbai

We have always felt Indian food is best had in a home. There is no, not one restaurant which serves the amazing tastes and varieties of Indian home food. And what does Indian Food even mean? Last time I checked there were 28 states and 8 union territories. Each of them have a completely different language and food culture. Within each state there are various regions with varying ways to cook the same dishes. And within those regions are various mothers who have their own heirloom recipes for the same dishes.

The only way to taste true Indian cooking is in an Indian home. If you are lucky enough to have foodie friends who will invite you for a hot home cooked meal, you will realise the true taste of Indian food.

Read more: The Lovely Home Kitchens of Mumbai

The introduction of delivery services allowed many people to set up home kitchens. Covid too sped up the home kitchen concept, as many people lost their jobs and were finding ways to be gainfully occupied, and run the, well, kitchens. However not all home kitchens are really home food. Many of them are too “restauranty” and one must be careful to sort through them to find the true gems. I try. Here I try and list a few.

(I will keep updating this post)

Top of my list is “Helonci”. Started by Tahin Ojah, Helonci is an Assamese Home Kitchen. Assam is a beautiful state in the North East part of India and its food has its own unique character and flavours.

(Helonci is a green leafy plant, which grows near water bodies. It is known for its medicinal properties).

“Since childhood my bonding with food has been extraordinary and the most used sense organ of mine has been my tongue. I was very talkative and kept my taste buds busy by exploring new and unique cuisines from every region possible. While trying out different dishes in every trip to a new restaurant would many a times leave me with an upset tummy but that didn’t deter me. It was only when I left for Delhi for my higher studies that I realized my love for Assamese food. My mother never allowed me in the kitchen as she thought I would mess up her tidily kept kitchen and as a result I didn’t know basic cooking till I started living on my own. I had a Bihari cook who used to cook awesome north Indian food but the Assamese in me craved for my Mom’s cooked Masor Tenga (tangy fish curry) or the simple dal. But thankfully there was Assam Bhavan in Delhi where I could satisfy my cravings for Assamese food. But when I shifted to Mumbai, I realized that there were no Assamese restaurants and the only Assamese home chef available was too far from where I live. So strong was my craving for Assamese food that I started to cook on my own with the help of my mother’s cooking lessons on phone. I started feeding my other Assamese and non-Assamese friends as well. They really appreciated my cooking and this prompted me to think in the lines of starting a home kitchen for people like me who crave for Assamese food in Mumbai. And this was the start for ‘Helonci’ my home kitchen.”

Assamese Meal with Helonci
A Thali with chicken fry, beans aloo fry and Omita chicken, (chicken cooked with raw papaya)
Masor Tenga from Helonci
Masor tenga, tomato tangy curry with fish.
Mutton Curry from Helonci
Mutton curry
Raw Paapaya dish from Helonci
Omita Khar, raw papaya dish
Raw papay dish from Helonci
Pork with Banana Flower.

Another awesome home kitchen is “The Slow Fire Chef” run by film makers Semanti and Amit Mehra. Both foodies and fabulous creatives, they decided to share their creations with everyone. You order a day or so prior, and they will have it delivered to your address.

The Slow Fire Chef
Punjabi Dhaba style Tomato Fish Curry.
The Slow Fire Chef
Kanpuria Bhuna Gosht.
The Slow Fire Chef
Mutton Dak Bungalow Curry. (This curry is a recipe from the old Post Office Bungalows from the colonial era. )
The Slow Fire Chef
Sukha Gosht Bhuna

Josie has her own Kitchen focussing on food from the North East of India, mostly from Nagaland. “Josie’s Kitchen” serves some awesome dishes you would have never heard of, as food from NE is just about getting publicity.

“Josie’s Kitchen is a home based Kitchen Serving authentic North east cuisine- bringing the taste of the North East to the mainland. Started as a hobby and still continuing it.”

Josies Kitchen

Doh Sniang Nei Iong is a pork dish from Meghalaya, one of the North East States of India. A very famous dish which is pork cooked in black sesame seeds with minimal ingredients.
Josies Kitchen
Pork Skin Crackers
Josie's Kitchen
Smoked pork with snails. A Naga Delicacy. With Garlic, chives and cherry tomato.
Josies Kitchen
Bai = Vegetable stew. Squash + vietnamese balm leaves + Ginger flower + French beans + green chilli with fermented pork lard.


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