My journey to start my YouTube channel began in December 2006. I still find it hard to believe I am still running a successful channel that I enjoy with all my heart. We will continue to bring you great content as long as we can. When I say “we” I mean my husband Alex, who has been instrumental in this journey as my videographer, and I. This foray into the world of YouTube and social media was something I never imagined I would be involved in, let alone plan. This was especially true since I had no idea what YouTube even was at that time. Not knowing just how big YouTube was or what kind of platform it was probably an advantage for me because I did not feel scared or threatened by it.
I decided to ask Alex to help me out with my first YouTube video since he is extremely technologically savvy. We decided to do a video for the popular Indian dessert “Gulab Jamun”. We knew that when providing someone a recipe, it is a lot more than just providing the ingredients and steps. I knew that people wanted to see the entire process with more details, tips, and variations for the recipes. After completing the video that evening (editing and all!), we decided to share the video on YouTube. Editing the video to meet YouTube’s requirements while ensuring the recipe was complete was definitely a challenge! Alex proved to be an extremely talented editor as well! The next morning, we sat down in front of the computer and I was simply amazed. I remember feeling awestruck at how I could potentially reach so many viewers with a simple YouTube video.
The video proved to be a success. I remember seeing hundreds of views from all parts of the world. Also, I was just amazed at the number of positive comments. Of course, we called my family to come and have breakfast with us to let them know we had something special to share with them. They happily came over to our house. I must note that this is one of the many advantages of having extended family in the same city, living just minutes from each other.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be sharing my recipes worldwide. As I have always said, I am not a formally trained chef. After our first video, I just felt in my heart that I just may have stumbled upon something special. I asked Alex if he we would be willing to work with me to try one more video. At that time, there were limited Indian cooking YouTube videos. YouTube was also relatively new and nothing like it is today. My younger daughter-in-law, Joy, heard my idea and suggested I do simple recipes for new cooks, with precise, easy-to-follow directions. She thought it was important I use exact measurements and making sure I try every recipe, so the measurements are perfect. She also suggested I venture into fusion dishes, taking elements for various cuisines and perfecting them into my own recipes.
My family could tell that something was sparked within me. I felt happier than ever. Had I found a second career after many years of retirement? Maybe, just maybe I had stumbled into something special? I remember my oldest granddaughter being so excited that Dadi (grandmother) was on the computer! When I first started this venture, everyone in the family helped out. My kids helped me take the videos. While I did not take it seriously when I first started, I knew I was really enjoying what I was doing. I felt good doing something I loved and was passionate about. I also knew that I was helping other people learn to cook!
After some time, I remember receiving an e-mail from YouTube asking if I would like to partner with them. We were told we would get paid depending on the amount of “views” we received. At the time, I had no idea how this process worked. However, we decided that could only be a win-win situation and immediately filled out the application. After being accepted as an official YouTube partner, I can vividly remember the feeling of elation and joy when seeing my first paycheck. I was more happy about accomplishing something I did not think I could do, then the actual paycheck. Of course, I could not believe I was getting paid to pursue my passion and hobby!
After producing about 40 plus videos, some viewers suggested I launch a website featuring my recipes and videos. My computer-savvy nephew thought this was an excellent idea and introduced me to his friend who agreed to design my website. Sateesh, my original website designer, did an excellent job with my website and still runs it to this day! Thank you so much to my viewers who suggested this idea.
While Manjula’s Kitchen and my YouTube channel is merely a hobby, it has given me immense happiness. It has boosted my self-confidence and has really given me a sense of pride. I take pride in ensuring my videos consist of quality, well thought- out recipes! The positive and gracious feedback I’ve received really has inspired me. I love it when I meet the young viewers who tell me they learned everything they know about cooking from me! I can’t tell you how grateful I am for you, the viewers, who have stayed with me for all these years, and of course YouTube who presented me with this fabulous opportunity. I hope you enjoyed learning about how my journey began…Stay safe & healthy everyone!
I did not like tomatoes as a child. My mom grew tomatoes in our garden and I always turned up my nose at them. What a missed opportunity to enjoy something so delicious! As an adult with my own garden, I was excited to grow a big harvest this summer. Unfortunately, both tomato plants died before they produced any fruit! If you’re lucky enough to have a homegrown bounty of fresh tomatoes still warm from the summer sun, I beg you to make this marinated tomato and avocado salad.
In fact, I beg you to make this marinated tomato and avocado salad even if you don’t have a vegetable garden. That is, unless you’ve discovered this recipe in the dead of winter and all you can find are bland greenhouse tomatoes. In that case, bookmark this page and come back in summer when tomatoes have the absolute best flavor. I used pearl tomatoes on the vine for this recipe because they’re the perfect bite size when sliced into quarters. Feel free to use whatever tomatoes you have on hand!
This marinated tomato and avocado salad is a fantastic summer recipe whether you’re barbecuing at home or headed out for a picnic. The tomatoes can chill in the fridge while you prep the rest of your feast, making this a really simple recipe to prepare if you’re in charge of multiple dishes. Dice and add the avocado just before serving for the best results.
While incredibly fresh and delicious on its own, there are many ways you can bulk up this marinated tomato and avocado salad if you need to feed a crowd. Try adding cooked quinoa, couscous, or farro. Or, turn it into a pasta salad by adding cooked and cooled shells or penne. I have big plans to spread this salad on crusty bread for a bruschetta-inspired appetizer.
1 or 2 ripe avocados, diced (depending on your preference and the size of your avocados)
⅓ cup cilantro, chopped
Quarter the pearl tomatoes and place them in a large bowl. Peel the red onion and cut it in half from tip to root. Place the flat part of the onion on your cutting board and carefully slice it into thin half moons. Add the onion to the bowl with the tomatoes.
Combine the chopped garlic, lime juice, olive oil, agave, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine. The marinade should be salty, tangy, and just a tad sweet – adjust the ingredients until balanced.
Pour the marinade over the sliced tomatoes and onion and gently toss to coat. Marinate the tomatoes in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Just before serving, drain any excess liquid from the tomatoes. Tip: if you’re serving this salad with cooked quinoa, couscous, or pasta, reserve the marinade for extra dressing. Transfer the marinated tomatoes and onions to a serving platter and add the diced avocado. Top with chopped cilantro and serve fresh.