“This is the millennial generation whose palates are so used to eating pizzas and burgers. My attempt with the launch of Hema’s Veg Rasoi is to showcase how delectable our traditional foods are,” says Hemangi Nakwe (46), a resident of Mumbai, who has been bringing happiness to many people with the food she cooks.
On 13 July 2020, amidst the raging COVID-19 pandemic, Hemangi decided to put her cooking skills to use by starting Hema’s Veg Rasoi. Having served over 10,000 meals so far, she says this has been a rather fulfilling experience.
Speaking to The Better India, she says, “Cooking and feeding people has always been a passion. As a new bride, when I entered my husband’s home, my mother-in-law handed over some of the traditional cookware that once belonged to her mother-in-law. I inherited the stone grinder and brass utensils, which even today occupy a special place in my kitchen.”
While the grinder today is merely ornamental, the brass utensils continue to be put to use to churn out some delicacies.
Bringing Back Traditional Foods
“I wanted to find a way to bring people back to traditional food and make them develop a taste for it,” she says, adding that she enjoys being referred to as the founder and takes her job very seriously. “As the founder, it is my responsibility to ensure that everything from the cooking to the food reaching the client is prepared perfectly. I also ensure that I am in touch with the clients to get feedback from them.”
These small details that Hemangi looks into is what makes her food stand apart in a market that is flooded with home chefs.
Hemangi is ably supported by her husband Prashant Nawke who was formerly employed with a media house. “Ensuring that the social media pages stay updated and all the images get uploaded is Prashant’s domain. He has the expertise in that and manages all the non-cooking related activities,” says Hemangi. The couple used various social media channels to get the word across and soon enough orders were steadily coming in.
Hemangi and Prashant’s day begins as early as 6.30 am, as they prepare their lunch menu.
Adding to this, Hemangi says, “We do not take more orders than we can handle. This also helps in ensuring that we maintain the quality and standard of the food that we send out. We eat the same food that is sent to others as well.” Lunch is the major meal that they cater to and dinner numbers vary according to the orders that are placed.
The menu also changes every day. Their regular lunch menu consists of dal, rice, a gravy vegetable, salad, pickle, roti (3) and a sweet. On Saturdays, offbeat dishes are added to the menu. All of this is sufficient for one person and costs about Rs 195.
Idli, Dabeli, Ragada Pattice are some of the food items they offer as evening snacks. Other items on the menu include Doodhi (bottle gourd) halwa, Ber salad, Modak Aamti, Farali Kachori, Champakali, Palak Khandvi.
“We take a much-needed break on Sunday. That is the day we catch up on our rest and recharge for the week ahead,” says Prashant.
Since offices have now reopened, Hemangi says that corporate orders for evening snacks have also started coming in.
The couple adds that working on building Hema’s Veg Rasoi has been both — challenging and satisfying. Prashant says, “This is not an industry that either of us has any experience in. We have also been learning on the job. From pricing to sourcing the ingredients and masalas, every stage has been one of learning.”
“We serve what we eat,” adds Hemnagi.
To order from Hema’s Veg Rasoi you can send them a message on WhatsApp at +91 89767 64660 or reach out via their Instagram page.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)