Mar­ket Meal: Take-away Thai and In­dian dishes new ad­di­tion to lo­cal farm­ers mar­kets

Owner and op­er­a­tor left her day job to pur­sue cook­ing

Edmonton Journal - - FOOD - LIANE FAULDER lfaul­[email protected]­mon­ton­jour­nal. com

Sim­ple foods, with big flavours — that’s what you’ll find at Mini Kitchen, new this sea­son at the South­west Ed­mon­ton Farm­ers Mar­ket.

Mini Kitchen, run by Damini Mo­han, spe­cial­izes in In­dian food. The busi­ness came about slowly, over a num­ber of years, sim­ply be­cause Mo­han grew up, left home, and could no longer get the same kind of won­der­ful In­dian food that her mother, Renu Mo­han, pre­pared for the fam­ily.

Born and raised in In­dia for 17 years, Mo­han al­ways liked to cook.

“But I used to cook ev­ery­thing but In­dian. I could eat In­dian food any­time, so I took it for granted,” re­calls Damini, 27, whose fam­ily moved to Ed­mon­ton in 2003.

A few years ago, she had an op­por­tu­nity to live in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to com­plete an in­tern­ship, and sim­ply couldn’t find an In­dian restau­rant that could match what she was able to get at home. So Damini started ex­per­i­ment­ing. Over time, she built up a con­sid­er­able reper­toire and last year, she de­cided to give up her day job and pur­sue cook­ing full-time.

In Novem­ber 2012, Mini Kitchen be­gan sell­ing a line of In­dian food prod­ucts at the city mar­ket at city hall, and in Jan­uary she ex­panded to the Sal­is­bury Green­house mar­ket. Now she’s at seven lo­cal mar­kets, in­clud­ing the new French Quar­ter mar­ket at Cite fran­co­phone on Sun­days, and of course, the South­west Ed­mon­ton Farm­ers Mar­ket.

Mini Kitchen prod­ucts are frozen (as are many ready­made meals at farm­ers’ mar­kets, due to health reg­u­la­tions). They sell in 500-millil­itre con­tain­ers for $11 each, or three for $30.

When I cooked the dishes at home, I pre­pared bas­mati rice as an ac­com­pa­ni­ment. But you can also pur­chase naan bread from Mini Kitchen, made us­ing Renu’s recipe.

Each of the dishes was de­li­cious. The but­ter chicken, made with a com­bi­na­tion of chicken breasts and chicken thighs, was laced with cream, but also gen­er­ous amounts of yo­gurt to cut down on calo­ries and fat.

The pome­gran­ate chick­peas were firm. Damini uses dried chick­peas and soaks them overnight to avoid the mushy qual­ity as­so­ci­ated with canned chick­peas. Cumin and co­rian­der add kick. A third dish, spinach stud­ded with nuggets of fried pa­neer, also sur­prised me with its com­bi­na­tion of flavour and nu­tri­tion. Mini Kitchen also sells a line of Thai prod­ucts, in­clud­ing a red Thai co­conut curry.

Damini now has her mother work­ing in the busi­ness, and they are plan­ning to open a small café to­gether with some other mar­ket ven­dors as soon as they can find a suit­able lo­ca­tion in the cen­tral part of Ed­mon­ton. For de­tails on the busi­ness, go Mini Kitchen’s Face­book page.


Damini Mo­han, from Mini Kitchen, makes Thai and In­dian food that you can take home — all frozen for safety — from the South­west Ed­mon­ton Farm­ers Mar­ket.

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