Of the Women, By the Women, and For the Women

An Interview with Blogger, Shobana P Rao of “Cooking With Shobana“

Shobana P Rao Smart Indian women

Shobana P Rao Smart Indian women

Thanks for taking the time to chat with SIW. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog.     

Shobana : I am the quintessential home maker. My husband and I live in Bengaluru. We have two grown up children and are happy grandparents. I started my blog in March, 2013 as I always loved trying out new recipes and was fond of cooking. My husband who is himself an author and blogger encouraged me to start and even now supports me in maintaining my blog.  I love to share whatever I know or have learnt over the years. As the name suggests, “Cooking With Shobana” is about “sharing a collection of recipes, some cooking tips, and useful hints.” The recipes largely cover Indian vegetarian cuisine.

What makes your blog so unique and why should people read it?          

Shobana : There’s nothing really unique about my blog, in all honesty. I guess people, women and men alike, who want to learn new dishes, would find it of interest. I like to think that the recipes are explained in simple language, using easy to understand terms. I always try to see things from the point of view of the reader and try to make the recipes easily understandable without getting into a lot of jargon.

How often do you blog?              

Shobana : On an average, I have a blog post once in 2-3 days. Over the last 23 months, I have had 323 posts, (as on Feb 12, 2015) including some guest posts where I have requested friends to contribute their recipes to my blog.

What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?

Shobana : “Cooking With Shobana” has about 230,000 page views ( as on Feb 12, 2015) and by far the most popular has been the blog post for “Instant Rava Appo” which has had over 5000 views. “Appo“ is the Konkani term for a breakfast dish, which is called Paddu in Kannada and Paniyaram in Tamil. This dish is made of rava and includes curds and finely chopped vegetables. It is truly instant as you don’t need to ferment the batter.

What do you find most challenging about blogging?     

Shobana : The biggest challenge is to have a flow of recipes covering a variety of dishes. If you are not careful, all the recipes could turn out to be from a particular type of cuisine. In “Cooking With Shobana” for example, while I have not restricted myself to our own Konkani cuisine, I have tried to balance between North and South Indian recipes to cater to a wider audience.

What are some of your favorite author blogs and why?               

Shobana : There are so many good ones out there. It’s difficult to name my favorite but I do like “Veg Recipes of India” which is Dasanna’s blog. I like her approach in describing each recipe and overall the presentation is always of a high standard. Another blog that comes to mind is “Sailu’s Kitchen” which has a vast collection of recipes from India.

What are your favorite books that you would recommend SIW family?               

Shobana : When it comes to cookery books, I have always enjoyed the ones written by the late Tarlaji Dalal. I am a huge fan of hers and I think she has done so much to popularize Indian cooking all over the world. She has written a large number of books which have been translated to many languages too

Can we really make a living by Blogging? If yes, how we can do that?

Shobana : I am blogging out of my passion for cooking so really don’t know much about what it takes to make a living out of blogging. I do know that some bloggers get substantial revenues based on the advertisements on their blogs. I haven’t entertained any advertising – and will not- because they can be annoying to the reader. As I mentioned earlier, I think you can make money by running advertisements on your blog but I would imagine there would have to be a huge number of advertisements to be clicked to get a meaningful amount.

What advice would you give to young women readers of SIW who want to follow a similar career path as you?              

Shobana : I speak of blogging and would say that you must follow your passion. A good blog calls for a lot of time and effort. Don’t underestimate the work involved but at the end of the day the response you get from your readers in different social media and the inner satisfaction you get for all your efforts make blogging so worthwhile. I feel so especially when people tell you about the dishes they tried out and liked from your blog.

Blog URL : Cookingwithshobana.com

Category : Foodie

All images are property of “Shobana” and required permissions have been taken to publish it on www.smartindianwomen.com website.

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