As any cook worth her/his salt will tell you, the best way to learn a new dish is to watch someone else make it in front of you. That is the simple idea that is the basis of Show Me the Curry, a cooking blog that is rich with videos of recipes both simple and exotic, with a bent towards Indian cuisine.
Show Me the Curry is the brainchild of Hetal Jannu and Anuja Balasubramanian, neighbors in the suburban Dallas town of Frisco,TX. As kids grew up and out into school, the friends decided to embark on a venture that allowed them to use their time productively while not missing out on a single moment of “mommy time.” Both loved to cook and a cooking video blog seemed like a perfect fit. Keenly desirous of keeping what is (literally) a home-grown business professional, the friends decided to post two videos a week faithfully, with a few extra ones during festivals and special occasions.
“Even I’m embarrassed to watch our early videos,” says Anuja with a laugh. The two taught themselves the basics of video production and editing and kept improving on the bi-weekly videos, while the website was designed with a lot of help from Hetal’s techie husband.
In an industry with very few entry barriers, Show Me the Curry distinguishes itself by the professionalism of its videos and the foolproof nature of its recipes. One friend gushed, “I made Gobhi Manchurian for the first time with the help of their video and it turned out perfectly.” Their recipes also have tips for the inexperienced cook. “I learnt all my cooking through trial and error,” says Anuja , “so I figured out cooking secrets and shortcuts the hard way. Why should anybody have to reinvent the wheel?” For instance, the website features a perfect way to make chapatti dough ahead of time and freeze. Anuja is a self-taught cook and Hetal, who grew in the US, brings a unique perspective to Indian cuisine.
Not all recipes are Indian, though the bulk of them are make to suit the Indian palate. “As cooks, we tend to get stuck on our comfort zone,” says Anuja. “Hopefully these videos will encourage people to experiment with at least cuisines outside their region in India, if not western ones.”
SMTC also has a DVD out that helps cooks to put together a party menu stress-free. In addition, an affiliate program with Amazon allows novice cooks to get some of the hardware associated with cooking.
Show Me the Curry has been around for less than two years but it is already putting the two friends on the path to financial freedom. It is a free site but its popularity makes it an attractive proposition for advertisers. “We have close to 5000 subscribers between YouTube, SMTC and the community,” says Hetal. SMTC gets about 10,000 video views per day on YouTube and 20,000 on the website. It is a great example of a successful blog that is neither technology-related nor politically inspired.
Credit for the success must also go to SMTC’s marketing efforts. The videos are available of YouTube and SMTC is up on Twitter, FaceBook, Orkut and other social networking sites as well on mobile phones. The friends also decided to start a SMTC community where viewers could put up their own recipes. “And if one of them is really good, we make a video of it ourselves, with credit to the original poster,” says Anuja.
The website has been featured in many of the local media affiliates and on USA Today. “We want to become a household name one day,” says Hetal.
Here is a video on how to make perfect Ras Malai, one that is the favorite of the founders:
H/T to Madhavi Cheruvu for the article idea.