I am here today with Keny Metha from Kohima – a self-confessed lover of all things food and cooking. Her creative hobbies serve as a treasure trove for her friends and followers – to discover new cuisines, cooking styles, and plenty of other creative arts. To me, she comes across as this mysterious being, who is always up to something – usually ‘cooking up’ a new concept/idea. Add to that, her calm energy, one cannot help, but be inspired, whenever we are around her.
Over a chat, I try to dig deeper into her love for food and cooking, her sources of inspiration, what kind of music gets her creative juices going – and also get her to share a simple recipe that we can all try out. Read on for the full conversation.
Deno: Hey Keny, happy to be having this conversation with you on R&L 🙂 Please introduce yourself, and tell us more about what keeps you occupied these days.
Keny: Heyy… Keny here everyone : ) I’m 24, and I stay in Kohima..(P.S you don’t choose the homebody life, it chooses you 😉 ) I’m still on a road to self-discovery, I feel there’s always more you can learn about yourself. I love exploring new things and trying my hand at anything that’s creative, thankfully I have amazingly talented friends who keep me inspired. Currently, I am a “little” obsessed with food, I love to cook and I love to eat! So you can say I am a foodie – on a journey : )
Deno: How would your friends describe you?
Keny: Stubborn, goal-driven, articulate (apparently, said one friend), mom of the group I guess.
- Deno: Good one 🙂 Tell me more about how you got started with your love for food and cooking.
I decided very early on in life that I wanted cooking to be my profession. I started cooking when I was in class 2, I remember because I burnt my fingers, it’s a funny story. I was a very home-oriented child, I spent a lot of that time watching food channels. I remember we had this mock interview thing when I was in class 8. Our English teacher asked me what I wanted to do with my life, and without a pause, I said ” I want to cook”… I guess that’s stuck with me 🙂
Last year, I had the opportunity to open a little pop up in collaboration with Big Bite (Deno: that’s one of the oldest and most popular eat out in Kohima) in one of their food courts. It was a wonderful experience. I wouldn’t really call myself a “chef”, still learning.., but I’ve always loved food and cooking. So, hopefully, I get to have a place of my own where I can share my experiments with food with my customers.
Pulled Chicken Taco by Keny Metha
Ramen with Shiitake Mushroom by Keny Metha
Deno: Any chef you look up for inspiration?
Keny: There are many who I look up to, from celebrity chefs to the local chefs I know here – to my friends and family. I’m inspired by different people in different fields, even when it’s unrelated to food. I think just creating in itself is inspiring.
Any special thing you planning to ‘cook up’ this year?
I’ve got some things I’m working on, they’re still in the process. I think with the lockdown and this pandemic, it’s been hard on everyone but I think it’s helped me center my perspectives, it’s also given me time to experiment with food a lot more. I can’t say much about the future, but hopefully soon, you’ll hear more about it 🙂
Deno: What’s your favorite snack?
Keny: Toast with some cream cheese and a drizzle of honey. Try it, it’s so simple to make, and it’s super tasty.
Deno: What are your current favorites?
Keny: I have been listening to a lot of lofi, Novo Amor, Japanese, Swedish artists, some classic rock n’ roll when I’m in the mood. Also, my love for poetry has been growing as of late. And of course, lots of books about food. Recipe books not so much, more like, books about food, I recommend “The School of Essential Ingredients Book by Erica Bauermeister.”
Keny Metha recommends | ‘The School of Essential Ingredients’ by Erica Bauermeister
Deno: How many hours a day do you invest in your hobbies?
Keny: 24/7? When it comes to something you’re passionate about, it’s okay to be obsessed with it. I think about food most of the time, I think about different flavors, how they’ll pair together. That’s why I love grocery shopping. Checking out new ingredients in the market, and thinking about what I can do with them is a great pastime for me. I’m also currently really into knitting, especially with the winter season around, it’s a blissful and useful hobby 🙂
Deno: Any special message for R&L readers?
Keny: Thanks Deno for taking time out to talk to me, and I’d like to thank R&L for giving me this space to talk about myself and my passion. Truly, this conversation gave me more insight into myself. I think sometimes we forget to just reflect.. so this chat has helped me do that 🙂
I’m in a happy place .. and very grateful for the experiences that have allowed me to be where I am today. I still have a long journey ahead, and I plan on savoring every moment of it. I am also sharing a simple recipe for R&L readers ‘Spicy tuna rice bowl.’ Do try it, and hope it makes your day a ‘lil better with this simple dish 🙂
Keny: About the dish, rice is our staple food in Nagaland, and tuna (tinned fish) is easily accessible in any neighborhood local shop. So it is super easy to make. I recommend adding green leafy vegetables as toppings; you can also some creative and healthy ways to garnish this simple dish with local seasonal greens.
Spicy Tuna Rice bowl by Keny Metha
- 1 canned tuna
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tsp ginger paste (grated fresh ginger)
- 1 tbsp vinegar/lime juice
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3-5 tsps chili powder (depending on how hot you like it)
- Some toasted sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp cornflour
Directions to make:
- In a small bowl, make a sauce by combining the oyster sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, grated ginger, chili powder, and cornflour. Add a bit of water if needed.
- Heat a pan, add the oil and fry the garlic till it’s slightly golden. Add the sauce and stir for a bit.
- Add the canned tuna and simmer for a few minutes.
- Serve on top of rice with some assorted greens and sprinkle with sesame seeds. I also added some fish roe for garnish.
Deno: That’s it from Keny and me for now, do check out her music and book recommendations, and of course, her ‘Spicy Tuna Rice bowl’ recipe. I am personally thinking of trying out her toast with cream cheese and honey for my evening snack today 🙂
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