Navigate back to the homepage

The Culinary Code - From bytes to bites

Ishan Sharma
December 3rd, 2023 · 6 min read

As you may already be familiar, it’s been a couple of months since I moved to Bangalore. If you’ve been keeping up with my growing up chronicles, you know it’s been quite the ride. Now, let me spill some beans 🫘 – or should I say, spices? 🌶️

One of the key reasons why I even wanted to move to a different city was because I wanted to learn how to be more independent. Up until my schooling in Jalandhar, I was always dependent upon my parents and others for every single thing.

It wasn’t until I moved to a hostel that I experienced a shift. Simple tasks like booking cabs, talking with the bus conductor, and boarding a bus on my own just to go back home on the weekends, became big milestones. That’s when I felt self-dependent or independent for the first time.

Similarly, in the hostel,

learning how to manage expenses and dealing with a diverse mix of people taught me a lot and played a significant role in my growing up.

Oddly enough, being at home, I never realized how dependent I was on my parents and how much they’ve been doing for me over the years.

For instance, back home, whenever I used to wake up, all of my devices – my airpods, headsets, phone, watch, laptop – used to be at 100% battery level. Apparently, my parents used to plug everything into the charger before I’d even wake up. I never noticed it until I went for a trip to Pondicherry, where I realized that all of my devices were at critically low levels in the morning.

So, even before I set foot in Bangalore,

it was crucial for me to become more independent. I made a conscious decision – no maids, no cooks, and no other household helpers. It was about taking charge of my daily routine and, as it turns out, diving headfirst into a culinary adventure. Cooking became my way of embracing this newfound independence, turning my kitchen into a playground for self-sufficiency and discovery, and it’s kind of a new hobby?.

Cooking, you know, is pretty much like coding...

– breaking down the delicious drama into bite-sized coding problems. It’s like I’m cracking secret culinary codes every time I step into the kitchen. Take chopping veggies, for example. It’s like setting up variables – gotta get those sizes just right. Spices are the cool features in a culinary code library. Mix and match, and bam – you’ve got a flavor symphony.

It’s not just about fancy metaphors, though. Cooking is about breaking a big task into chunks of smaller, more manageable problems. It’s like solving a coding puzzle – you tackle one piece at a time until the whole thing falls into place.

Once the veggies are chopped and the spices are dancing together, it’s just about following a set of instructions or an algorithm, and that’s it.

The Beginning

For the initial weeks after my move, let me tell you, my gas stove was getting more action boiling water than anything else 🥲

I was seriously questioning my decision of going all-in on the independent cooking venture. Under constant pressure from my parents and everyone else, the thought of reconsidering my decision and hiring a cook started to cross my mind.

Then came a game-changing moment… – a friend of mine decided to drop by. Suddenly, I felt a surge of determination. I headed straight to the nearest grocery store and practically bought the entire store – spices, pulses, veggies, a few extra utensils – you name it. From that moment, there was no turning back.

I kicked off my culinary journey with something that seemed manageable – Paneer Bhurji. Easy, right? Well, at least that’s what the recipe claimed. It wasn’t a gourmet masterpiece, but it was a start ❤️ :)

Next up was Chilla – a sort of pancake, if you will. The kitchen was slowly starting to feel less like a no-go zone and more like a place of possibilities ✨

And then, – my favorite,

“Bhindi” or Ladyfinger. Now, that’s when the real cooking hurdles kicked in! :) But hey, I was committed to this newfound culinary independence!

Bhindi | The Culinary Code | @ishandeveloper | Ishan Sharma

Around the same time, I figured out the art of preparing wheat dough and mastering the skill of cooking that not-so-perfect rounded chappati. It wasn’t a Michelin-star meal, but it was MY meal ❤️. And that made all the difference.

Continuing with my cooking journey, I started to grasp the influence of different spices on flavors. Understanding that cumin adds warmth, coriander brings freshness, and a bit of chili delivers that spicy kick – it was about recognizing the distinct contributions of each spice.

Being more efficient

Alongside this newfound spice awareness, I realized the importance of optimizing my time in the kitchen. Efficiency became key, leading me to embrace the concept of ‘meal prep.’

Meal prep is essentially planning and preparing meals in advance. Picture a Sunday afternoon where I gather fresh veggies, proteins, and a variety of spices. With a bit of chopping, dicing, and marinating, I fill up containers ready to tackle the upcoming weekdays.

Meal prep is a huge time-saver, ensuring I have home-cooked meals without the daily hassle. No more frantic searches for ingredients or resorting to quick fixes. It’s a practical solution, especially when juggling work, chores, and the desire for a wholesome meal.

Alongside meal prep, I started experimenting with other techniques, like sprouting pulses overnight.

Sprouting pulses is a simple yet effective method to enhance nutritional value. It’s essentially allowing the pulses to germinate, unlocking a new set of nutrients. So, a jar of pulses before bed would magically transform into sprouts by morning.

Sprouts | The Culinary Code | @ishandeveloper | Ishan Sharma

These sprouts became a versatile addition to my kitchen experiments, especially in crafting various combinations of sprout salads. From chickpeas to mung beans, I explored different pulses and their unique textures. Mixing them with fresh veggies, a dash of lime, and a sprinkle of spices created a refreshing and nutritious salad lineup


Now, let’s talk beverages. In my first month in Bangalore, if you peeked into my fridge, you’d find a colorful array of drinks, but not the healthiest ones. Soft drinks, the whole shebang. Enjoyable? Sure. Healthy? Not so much.

Feeling the need for a change and with a small party on the horizon, I decided to dive into the world of healthier alternatives. Enter homemade mocktails – my game-changing discovery.

Creating mocktails at home turned out to be a revelation. Fresh fruits, a splash of soda, a hint of mint – and voilà, you’ve got a refreshing drink without the guilt trip. It’s amazing how a bit of experimentation in the kitchen can lead to delicious and healthier beverage options.

So, here’s an open invitation – if you’re reading this, consider swinging by sometime. We’ll whip up some mocktails, share a few laughs, and turn a regular evening into a mocktail party. Cheers to healthier sips and good times! 🥂✨

Oh, and let’s not forget my absolute beverage crush – smoothies. In my quest for a protein-packed alternative to my usual shake, I stumbled upon the world of smoothies, and folks, it’s a game-changer.

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with various milkshakes and smoothie concoctions, and let me tell you, it’s the best thing in the world.

Smoothie | The Culinary Code | @ishandeveloper | Ishan Sharma

The recipe is as straightforward as it gets – toss in some milk, add a handful of muesli, throw in a couple of bananas, a sprinkle of nuts, a dash of flax seeds, and maybe a few cherries for that sweet touch. Blend it all together, and you’ve got yourself a protein-packed, flavorful smoothie that’s the perfect post-workout indulgence.

Of course, that’s not all. The kitchen experiments continue, and I’ve ventured into making a bunch of things so far. From crafting some healthy salads to whipping up classics like Rajma Chawal, Pasta, Poha, and Macaroni, Matar Paneer, Dal – it’s been a flavorful journey.

Multiple Dishes | The Culinary Code | @ishandeveloper | Ishan Sharma

Recently, I tried my hand at making Upma, Uttapam, and the latest addition to my culinary conquest – “Dosa.” The kitchen is now a canvas where I play with flavors, try new recipes, and occasionally surprise myself with the results.

In the span of just a couple of months, my kitchen has transformed from a place of uncertainty to a realm of culinary exploration. Little did I know that I’d discover the joy of cooking and find myself experimenting with spices, crafting delicious meals, and even diving into the world of sprouted salads.

A few weeks back, the idea of preparing a Dosa from scratch felt like a distant dream. Now, it’s a reality I savor. Cooking, once considered a mere necessity, has become a hobby I genuinely enjoy. It’s a testament to the surprises life can unfold when you step out of your comfort zone.

Who would have thought that a decision to embrace independence in a new city would lead to such a delightful journey in the kitchen? 🙂

P.S. Just so that I could flex…here’s a slomo video of me flipping over a chilla and bread toast like a pro! 😄

Join my mailing list and get notified about new blogs

Be the first to receive my latest content with the ability to opt-out at anytime. Of course, I promise that I won't spam your inbox or share your email with any third parties.

More articles from Ishan Sharma

Chemistry in everyday life

Discover the 'magical' science behind the fizzing cleaning potion—unveiling how a simple reaction between baking soda and vinegar clears stubborn grime, leaving utensils sparkling clean.

November 5th, 2023 · 3 min read

Unlocking Wisdom

Discover insights and practical wisdom derived from Farnam Street's mental models in our exploration of decision-making and..

October 1st, 2023 · 5 min read
© 2020–2024 Ishan Sharma
Link to $ to $ to $ to $ to $