Hi, I’m Ashley, the writer and recipe maker here at My Heart Beets. Thanks for reading my blog!
Let me introduce you to the rest of my crew. My husband, Roby, and my two little boys are my taste testers. These three picky eaters help me decide which recipes are “blog-worthy.”
I think you’ll love everything you make from my site, but if you don’t, you’ll have to take it up with them.
(I’d love to share a beautiful professional family photo here on the blog, but whenever we take those, one of us is usually crying in the photo, lol. Maybe one day, but for now, this selfie is the best I’ve got 🤷🏽♀️).
Here’s our story.
My husband Roby and I have been good friends since high school. We both went to the University of Virginia, and after a couple of years of being just friends who would occasionally and awkwardly hold hands – he asked me to be his girlfriend. On our fifth dating anniversary, he proposed. And a year later, we were married. Twice.
You might be wondering what this little love story has to do with cooking… well, a lot.
You see, we were both born in the US to Indian immigrants. I grew up in a Punjabi family eating delicious North Indian food, and I was completely unaware of how varied Indian cuisine was until I started dating Roby. He introduced me to South Indian cuisine, specifically Keralite food, and I fell in love (with both him and the food).
Soon after marriage, I felt the desire to learn our family’s recipes. The problem was that when I’d call to ask for measurements, my mom and my mil would tell me they cook “andaz naal” which basically means they eyeball everything. Anyone with Indian parents knows they don’t measure ingredients (ever) and so trying to recreate their recipes is tough.
My solution to this was… to pester them. 😂 Whenever I’d visit home, I’d follow my parents and my in-laws around the kitchen, taking notes and asking questions. I would sometimes “help” them as they cooked, measuring their ingredients before they threw them into the pot. I started paying close attention to ratios as well as how things were supposed to taste. I used this information, gathered over several years, to test and develop many of the recipes that I share here on my blog and in my books.
I continue to learn a lot about cooking from my moms, but it’s my dad who helps me perfect my recipes.
I’m convinced my dad is a supertaster (he has a powerful sense of smell, too) – he can try a dish once, tell you exactly what’s in it, and most importantly, tell you what to add to make it even better. I have my dad taste test a lot of my recipes, especially my traditional Punjabi recipes. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to test certain recipes before getting my dad’s approval (gajar halwa, chana masala, rajma – the last one he approved, and then a year later, changed his mind and told me to try and “make it one level better.” Sometimes I think he just likes to keep me on my toes 😂 ).
There’s one more thing I’d really like you to know about me, and that is, my “why.” The reason I share my recipes here is because I want to help make Indian food accessible. If you’re Indian and are looking to feel more connected to your culture or to eat food reminiscent of the cooking that you grew up with, I hope to help. If you’re new to the cuisine, my hope is that you’ll embrace it, and introduce it to family and friends. I believe that food brings us closer, and I think when we’re all a bit closer, we’re all a bit happier.
I’m thrilled you’re here and excited for you to give my recipes a try. If you make a dish, please leave me a comment to let me know what you think!
If you’re new here and wondering where to start, give one of the recipes below a try. Also, be sure to check out my onion masala series – it makes cooking Indian food a breeze!