Meet Manali

Hey there! I am Manali, the cook and photographer behind this blog! I am so happy you’re here!


About Me and My Family

I was born and brought up in India. My dad is an Indian government officer and my mom is a housewife. I have 2 younger brothers and they all live in India. I am blessed to have a such a wonderful family, who have supported me in every decision of my life.

I live in Seattle with my husband, Sarvesh. I moved to USA in December 2011, a week after my wedding. Me and my husband were best friends for 10 years before we tied the knot [I guess we realized that we wouldn’t find anyone better than each other after 10 years!!]. Yeah we have a very filmy story, a Bollywood movie on it is definitely possible! ? Sarvesh is my biggest supporter, it’s his constant encouragement that pushes me to give my best to this blog and to everything else in life in general. And not only that, he also handles all the technical stuff on this blog. The blog design, logo, everything is done by him. I have zero technical knowledge so it’s all him.

About Cook With Manali

I started this blog in 2013 to keep all my recipes at one place. It was Sarvesh’s suggestion to start this blog so that I could have a record of all my recipes, rather than scribbling them on papers all the time. I thought it was a good idea since it would also help me kill some time. At that time, I did not have a work visa and was struggling to pass time in this new country. What started as a time pass, became my passion over time. I am a self taught cook, baker and photographer. Whatever I have learned is through trial and error. I have failed so many times but because I was so passionate about getting it right, I just kept trying till I got it right. That’s why I say if I can cook, anyone can. I had never baked a cake in my life till 4 years back and I know it’s difficult to believe it considering the number of baking recipes I have on the blog! We never had an oven in our house growing up, in fact ovens aren’t still very common in India but back then they were literally non existent. But I fell so much in love with the art and science of baking that now I literally live and breath it.

Cook With Manali is a vegetarian food blog. I have been vegetarian for almost 15 years now and my husband is a born vegetarian. Through my recipes I want to show everyone that vegetarian cooking is just as delicious and not boring at all! India has countless vegetarian and vegan dishes that I grew up eating and I share all those and much more on this blog.


My Background

They say sometimes it takes a lifetime to realize your true passion! It couldn’t be more true in my case, thankfully I realized it before it was too late. I was always a good student in school and college and cooking was probably the last thing on my mind. I wish I could say that I was in love with cooking and baking since my childhood but that would be totally false. I never bothered to enter the kitchen. It was only after moving to the USA that I started spending time in the kitchen. Long story short, I realized that this is where my heart lies. Now I can’t stop thinking about cooking, recipes and food photography!

* I used to be a bookworm in school, yeah those nerdy students who never leave the book, yep that was me!
* I am a medical doctor, I did my MBBS from India.
* I also have an MBA in Health Care from University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

Keeping In Touch
If you have any questions or just want to say hello, please write to me at
I would reply to you at the earliest! You can also keep in touch with me through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Thank you for supporting me in this journey! ❤



159 thoughts on “Meet Manali

  1. Hi Manali! I am SO happy to have found your blog recently. I have bookmarked several recipes to cook lately and am currently cooking your vegetarian masala and palak paneer for dinner tonight! My partner and I went vegetarian last year and naturally have been eating a lot more Indian food! I am actually a chef by trade but have very little knowledge of Indian cuisine. I actually stopped an older Indian couple at the farmer’s market today to ask a few questions and they were really sweet and gave me some good advice :). Looking forward to cooking more of your recipes and I am about to look you up on Instagram as well.
    Cheers- hope ya’ll are staying safe.

  2. Hi Manali – Thanks so much for the recipe. I live in Seattle as well and huge fan of the paneer butter pizza..!! I was so glad to find this homemade version online😃. Can you please let me know if we can adapt the curry recipe In instant pot? If yes, how long to cook it in pressure mode and how of water to be added?

      1. Tried your eggless butter cookies! awesome! Thank you. I wish there was a way to share the picture of my cookies..

  3. Your recipes are amazing! I made your Restaurant Style Garlic Naan, but cheated a little by replacing the oil and garlic with ready made garlic butter. I have never made a bread that is so easy to manage and as soon as they came out of the pan. Presto! My family had eaten them. Now it has become a staple in the household.

    I am gluten intolerant, but can manage to cook with 00flour (pizza flour) without a terrible reaction. Would you happen to have a recipe for homemade egg rolls? Could I use the Samosa dough for that purpose?

  4. Hi Manali your saag paneer is amazing and your muffins are delicious . You have inspired me to cook the most wonderful dishes all of your recipes are so good.Thank you for helping me become a better cook and feed my family interesting good healthy food.

  5. Hello Manali.

    Hope you and your family are staying safe and well. I found this blog several months ago and fell in love. I read your story on how you came to USA and started this blog. My story is similar as yours except I can never be a doctor (I’m an engineer).:( I am so afraid. I’m sure you must be very good at it. You are such a sweet person. I love your recipes. It helps me a lot in my cooking. If you don’t mind, would you share how to start a blog, what sources you use. because I want to start a blog where I can share my ideas in USA. Please, thanks.

    1. Hello Shrey, Thanks for your kinds words. I would please encourage you to google this, you will find lots of articles and tips.

  6. Hi, made roti tonight for a curry I cooked. It was ok. Found your site and thank you for the tips.
    Saw your About photo and thought it looked like the Skagit valley… I’m local to Puget Sound too. Take care and happy cooking.

    1. making a good roti is a skill which takes time, it took me many years of constant practice. 🙂 Yes the picture is from Skagit valley, happy cooking!

  7. So I figured you NEED to know this. You are officially my best friend in this world! Or that’s what my close friends tell me! 🙂 So it started with the Pandemic. I never really cooked or was interested in cooking. I am 43! I just cater or have someone come to help me out with the cooking. Then Pandemic strikes! BAM! I am like fish without water. I couldn’t take out nor call my helper home! I thought my family was going to die of starvation! I googled like crazy and came upon you site. I loved how you mentioned the weight (yes I have a digital kitchen scale and fought with my mom when she would refuse to tell me the grams of salt in her recipes!!) I also loved how you mention small details like saute of N minutes etc. I have tried SO MANY of your recipes and share with my Whatsapp groups. Since I was posting your recipes daily, they officially decided to name you my best friend! So Thank you my best friend! Thanks for helping me tide through this pandemic!

    1. Thank you Anu! That’s like the sweetest message.I am so glad I could help! I hope you continue to cook even after the pandemic is over! And thank you for calling me your new best friend, haha that’s so sweet. Take care and stay safe.

  8. Hi Manali. Loving your blog. When will you be making vegan recipes? I was a vegetarian too but then watching Gary yourofsky changed me world and I was never the same. Hope to see some awesome vegan recipes from you. Thank you so much 😗

  9. I love your recipes just looking at them. I am not vegetarian but I love vegetables. I am training for triathlons and need low carb, low fat, and protein. I am probably going to add some fish chicken or beef to some recipes. I am trying to get lean and over 50 that is hard to do. I welcome any fast easy recipes you have. I am going to make the Baingan Bharta for the week. I hope it is good warmed up as I prep my meals. No time to cook later.

  10. Thanks for the wonderful recipe! This was easy to follow and delicious. I didn’t have curry leaves on hand, but substituted with lime zest.

    Thanks again!!

  11. Hi Manali,
    Your blog is very good. Thank you for posting recipes with such details. I tried Upma the way you’ve mentioned and it turned out pretty well. Thanks again.

  12. Hi Manali!

    First of all, love your blog!

    I thought you’d be the best person to answer this since you have so many instant pot recipes – How do you clean the damn ring?!!! I have been using the ring for about 3 months now. After the first week, I realized it retains the smell of spices. All curries that I make taste like Pav Bhaji gone bad 🙁 I wash it in dishwasher after every use but it stinks up all the dishes. Have tried every cleaning method I could find – boiling in vinegar, freezing, leaving it out in in the sun to dry – even baking it! Any suggestions?

    Thanks so much! 🙂

    1. Hmm that’s weird that your food also gets the smell. Even if the ring has the smell, the food doesn’t have any smell from it (at least hasn’t been the case for me). I also have 2-3 extra rings – I have one for savory recipes and one for sweet so you can check that out. You can find them easily on amazon.

  13. Hey Manali!!!

    This is a great blog!!! As a 1st generation Indian, I’m always asked to put together some dinners for friends not familiar with Indian food here in the Midwest. If my Mom were still with us…no problem…call and get step by step over the phone! But…your blog is making it simple to make the things Mom used to!!! Keep up the great work, and thanks!!!

  14. Hi Manali,
    I just came across your site while searching for baingan bharta.
    I am cooking it now and taking it at a get together.
    It looks great:
    Loved your blog and bollywood story!!!

  15. Hey Manali, loved your bollywood story too 💑 and your journey as a cook …keep posting…all the very best to you 😍

  16. Hi Manali, Just came across your blog, as I was trying to find out online if the kadhi my bai / cook was making is better thick or very watery. I have just subscribed to your recipes ( i am guessing the email id & name they asked on the page were to send your recipes).

    Read your life story, which you shared in brief. Loved it. Just wanted to say you never know .. someone may make it into a Bollywood film. I am from media & live in Mumbai, and all films reflect real life, though sometimes its blown beyond comprehension, taking what they call cinematic liberties, to make a larger than life or Masala film .. 🙂

    All the Best. Take care & Stay Safe

    Sumit Kumar

  17. A very warm welcome to you, I hope that your transition to this country has been comfortable. Thank you for taking the time to share your recipes, American cuisine needs more color! I wish you and your family the best of luck, and many blessings. Sending you positive energy!

  18. I am loving your recipes. It is easy, simple to cook. I am a working mom and have started cooking only because of pandemic. I never liked to cook but with your easy receipe I love trying new things in kitchen. Your recipes are not time consuming so I can even try them on working days.

  19. Minali I love all your recipies! So easy and organized! My family is quite a fan of yours haha. Thank you for all the inspiration! <3

  20. Hi Manali, have just come across your blog and really love the recipes, though I still have to try them. One question, if I may ask, what is the preheating time generally required for baking or does it vary from one recipe to the other. Thanks

  21. Hi Manali,

    I was also born and brought up in India and moved to Seattle a few years back. Your recipes are now my go-to! I’m an entry level cook – and your blog has helped me a lot!
    PS: glad to see Maharashrtian recipes like Sabudana Khichadi on the blog too!

  22. Hi Manali,
    I was searching for a good tasting veg biryani and tried yours, it came out so well….. spurned on we tried your paneer tikka today and it was a smash hit with my teenaged son! We filled the paneer in pockets made by slicing a chappathi into two…. since two of your recipes have turned out well, excited to try a few more! Do you still practice medicine? If so amazing that you still find the time to write such a detailed recipe, imparting several valuable tips… I learnt from you that smearing oil on the paneer prior to cooking helps keep it soft! Looking forward to reading and imbibing more tips! Keep going!

  23. Manali,

    Greetings from London! My family’s life would have been significantly less fun m throughout this awful lockdown if it weren’t for your recipes. I’m a particular fan of your Indo-Chinese recipes, and really appreciate your precision with measurements! You also write so well, I quite enjoy reading the stories behind each recipe nearly as much as I do the actual recipe itself; something I would not say about most cooking blogs!

    Thanks again! Btw have you considered compiling your recipes into a book? I’d so buy one for my kitchen bookshelf!

  24. Hi Manali,

    Love your online biryani recipe!! Have been cooking it for quite some time now. A few years back, my son gifted me your instant pot recipe book as he embarked on his college and cooking journey. I have tried so many recipes from there successfully. Only today I realized that it is the same Manali on the blog who wrote the book!!! It’s been great to give a break from cooking to my wife or mother in law occasionally and your recipes have hit the right balance of traditional and modern!!

    Thank you!!

  25. Hey Manali

    Landed into your website during the first lockdown in London and then onwards ur recipes have been the primary one i have referred since then. never ever cooked before but started to improvise on your recipes.. really simple, easy and very practical ones…

    thanks for sharing and making life easier for many worldwide

    wishing you a very happy new year 2021 🙂


  26. I was searching for some maa key haath Ka khana. Your recipes are so rooted to Indian tastes. I live in Canada and it’s always difficult to come close to the flavour and taste. But if followed to the T your dishes are AAAAAAAA1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *