Where: Sax Pub

What: Cockta

Some Slovenes don’t eat gelato; some Indians, like Amrita Roy Choudhury, don’t drink tea. She also doesn’t know what the word curry entails, as this Western-world beloved term is not used in her language. But she sure does speak the language of love: to a Slovenian, and to her cookblog Taste buds.

You came to Slovenia, to Ljubljana five years ago to pursue your PhD in bioinformatics at the National Institute of Chemistry. How are your studies going and what are you intentions afterwards?

I just finished my PhD and am still living with my husband Blaž in the dorm for postgrads in Bežigrad. Currently I am not looking for a job, but for a post-doc: as I want to stay in academics, this is a must.

In Slovenia?

Probably not. The bioinformatics scene is not huge here, it is not well-known abroad.

You do keep a cookblog. What cuisine do you specialise in?

I adore cooking. Of course I cook Indian – Northern Indian and Bengali cuisine, as I am from the northern part – but I like to experiment a lot and learn about new dishes, ingredients. Slovenian too, of course. Some Indians living in Europe who are my devoted readers tell me they don’t have to call their mom now how to prepare some of our food as they read my blog.

Do you get all the ingredients in Slovenia?

I used to get most of the stuff from India, Germany or Austria, but now things are improving here. I recently found two stores which sell a few of the lentils and spices.

Let’s demistify curry. What’s curry for you?

I have no clue what curry powder is. It seems more like a generic term used by the Western world. In India, we don’t have it. What we do is to just mix up some basic ingredients in different proportions to get what we call in English curry. We don’t have the word curry in any Indian language, as far as I know. What Westerners call curry as a dish is some sort of gravy with all these spices. I have no definition of curry myself.

How do you call those side dishes – gravy-like sauces, that come with dosa, idli etc.?

All of them are different and have different names. Two common things with dosa and idli are rasam and sambar, and they’re definitely not curry.

What about curry tree?

That’s a whole new thing again and has nothing to do with the curry you have in mind. The leaves from the curry plant are used to temper the oil and give flavours to all sorts of dishes besides the ‘curry’.

Beer or wine?

Neither. I don’t drink, haha, at all.

Tea or coffee?

Coffee because I’m not a fan of hot drinks that much. I like the flavour of coffee, even when I’m in India. Frankly I drink coffee only when I’m offered and it’s polite to accept. I drink cocoa, and lassies and fresh juices instead.

Favourite cafes and restaurants in Ljubljana?

I don’t really go to cafes much, but sometimes I stop in Cacao and Zvezda. Their location is convenient. I get their gelato, but not the coffee. I love gelato, of course!

Anything in Ljubljana dining scene you miss from abroad?

I would say there are not many restaurants showcasing different international cuisines. Also availability of Asian ingredients (especially fresh vegetables) is limited (or very expensive) compared to other Western countries. Understandably, this is due to low demand etc., and the scenario is slowly changing for better. What I really miss and crave for is the fast food. Burek, kebab, burger are really heavy and not for casual munching during an afternoon stroll. Coming from India, which offers a huge array of snacks, I feel the options here are very limited. Oh, I am also still surprised with the almost unavailability of ice-creams every winter! Haha! 🙂

If you could, who would you like to cook with?

I watch a lot of Australian cooking shows, so I would pick Maggie Beer.

Thanks for reading!

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