Meet the Culinary Expert: Mallika Badrinath


Mallika Badrinath needs no introduction as she is a household name having done many cookery shows on television besides authoring many cookery books. She hails from Salem and was born to iron merchant Bangaru Chetty and late Srimathi. She studied Home Science in Sharadha college and shifted base to Chennai after her marriage to Badrinath, a Chartered Accountant in the year 1977. She is blessed with 2 sons, one son is settled in Bangalore and the other in the US.

Mallika was brought up in a joint family where she hardly even entered the kitchen. She recalls with pride the first dish she prepared, an Andhra style brinjal gravy  post marriage. She slowly got interested in cooking and started collecting recipes. In fact she became such an expert that she started authoring cookery books. Her first book was released in 1988 and more than 1000 copies were sold. The book contains recipes on side dishes for puri and chappathi. She then went on to write 30 books, out of which 28 have been translated into English as well. Her books are in great demand and are really helpful for beginners and bachelors.

Mallika is a very creative person and was adept at crochet, fabric painting and doll making. She learnt Carnatic music and knows to play the Veena. However, she doesn’t find time to pursue these hobbies now. She recalls that from a young age, she was made to wake up early and even now is an early riser. In fact, she has her first cup of coffee at 5.15 a.m. everyday before starting her daily routine.

She does not have any favourite food and prefers anything vegetarian. Though she had a sweet tooth during her childhood days, nowadays, she prefers to have a balanced diet. Her lucky colour is green. She is a very religious person and spends lot of time reading spiritual books and  makes the crown for Lord Krishna  at the Venugopala Swami Devasthanam at Gopalapuram. She uses papier mache, bells, lace, plastic mugs, stones, artificial jewelry and false hair to prepare the crown for the deity and makes about 3 to 5 crowns per year.

Her YouTube Channel Mallika Badrinath Veetu Samayal keeps her on her toes. She has recently started posting recipes in English for the benefit of beginners. She tries to focus on cooking healthy dishes and  emphasises the need to incorporate all the 6 tastes or arusuvai as it is known in Tamil in order to boost the immune system. She also harps on  the necessity of consuming food rich in calcium, vitamin C and vitamin D. especially in the time of this pandemic. Mallika writes about health issues for the magazine Kumudam. She does cookery shows on Doordarshan, Sun TV and Vijay TV. Besides this, she does health oriented programmes for Rotary Club and Lions Club. She has won a number of awards for her cookery skills.

Mallika hopes that someone comes forward to do scientific research in the field of food and she says that she will give all possible assistance on her part.

As Francois de la Rochefoucauld sums it up, “To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.”

Juliana Sridhar is a lawyer and columnist



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