INDIA'S first cooking celebrity and author, the queen of vegetarian cooking Tarla Dalal died in Mumbai on Nov 6 after she suffered cardiac arrest.
She was 77 and much loved around the country for her cooking show Cook It Up With Tarla Dalal which was filled with her quick wit and love for cooking.
She has more than 150 cookbooks, which have been translated into several Indian languages, to her name and they can be found in many Indian homes.
In Singapore, too, Mrs Dalal touched the lives of many who followed her recipes. One such person is Singapore's own cooking celebrity Sarab Kapoor, who hosts the Cook, Love, Eat with Sarab Kapoor show. Mrs Kapoor's love affair with Mrs Dalal's recipes began as a young girl.
Mrs Kapoor told tabla! that one of the first cookbooks she owned was Mrs Dalal's The Pleasures Of Vegetarian Cooking. "I vividly remember trying her Burmese Khow Suey recipe as a young girl."
Mrs Kapoor had been in talks with Mrs Dalal to do a show together on Cook, Love, Eat. Mrs Kapoor said: "I met Mrs Dalal last year in Singapore. I was overwhelmed by her warm and affectionate aura.
She told me that she loved the fusion of international cuisines presented as vegetarian delights in my show. She gave me an incredible amount of encouragement and guidance and shared my passion for promoting healthy vegetarianism. She was enthusiastic about being a part of the show."
Mrs Kapoor called her death a big "shock", adding that Mrs Dalal put "Indian vegetarian cooking on the map and made it accessible to everyone".
Mrs Dalal was born in Pune and began cooking from the age of 12, helping her mother in the kitchen.
She married Mr Nalin Dalal and moved to the United States which was where her cooking career really began in the early 1960s.
In a tribute to Mrs Dalal, her son Sanjay has posted a poignant remembrance on her website www.tarladalal.com, where he tells of her initial journey in a foreign land experimenting with various cuisines and devouring cookbooks with infectious enthusiasm.
"My father loved multi-cuisine food, and motivated his wife to try her hand at different cuisines," Mr Sanjay wrote.
Once back in Mumbai, Mrs Dalal began her cooking classes in 1966, which soon gained popularity and became a "must-do course" for girls approaching matrimony.
Her first book The Pleasures Of Vegetarian Cooking was released in 1974. Since then her books have sold over six million copies, while her website gets 2.8 million visitors every month. Mrs Dalal was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honour, in 2007.
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