IT TOOK six years for Neha Sen to progress from burnt rice and carbonised dahl to the MasterChef kitchen.
"I didn't learn to cook at all until I came to Australia from India to further my education," she says.
"I was living in Townsville attending James Cook University and living on takeaway pizza and Coke when my Singaporean-Indian landlady took me in hand and introduced me to cooking.
"I also started Skyping with my mother back in India and had quite a few long distance cooking lessons. That was really the beginning of my fascination with blending the flavours of Australia and India," she says.
"Both my parents are doctors and my father served in the Indian Army for more than 20 years. Every few years he would be transferred and I was exposed to different cultures, languages and food every time we moved."
Today she showcases her take on a simple breakfast favourite:
SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH AN INDIAN TWIST
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp chopped potatoes in the size of a dice
2 tsp sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tbsp chopped red onion
1 clove garlic chopped fine
¼ tsp turmeric
1 tsp long red chillies chopped
1 tbsp chopped coriander
Heat vegetable oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped potatoes and shallow fry till golden and done. Keep aside.
In a bowl whip 2 eggs for 2 minutes. Add sour cream along with salt and pepper (salt and pepper to taste) and mix and keep aside.
Heat a pan with butter. Once the butter starts to bubble, add the cumin seeds and let them splutter for a few seconds.
Add the chopped onions and garlic and sauté till they are soft and golden.
Add the turmeric powder and the chopped chillies and sauté for 15 seconds. Add the egg mixture and the cooked potatoes to the pan and cook for another minute while giving it a bit of stir. Take it off the heat, add some fresh coriander.
Enjoy it with a piece of toast!
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