Discover Multani Mitti & Other Beauty Ingredients from Punjab with Author and Food Blogger Vernika Awal

Here are a few snippets of our conversation with celebrated Food Blogger and Author Ms. Vernika Awal, on her Punjabi heritage and beauty secrets !

 

1.Tell us about your journey.

 
I worked as a full time journalist till a few years ago and then decided to take a break due to some personal issues. During that time I wanted to ensure that I do not lose the habit of writing regularly, so I took to blogging on my blog Delectable Reveries. I had always been interested in food and food as an integral part of a culture and so the blog reflected my interest in food stories and anthropology. It is also at this time that I realized that I had been extremely cut off from my own culture and that left a lingering feeling of being incomplete in me. My project #DelectablePunjab was born to bridge that gap - where through food I connected with my roots and practices and answered/documented simple things like - why do we eat what we eat? 

2. We would like to know about your experience with beauty & beauty rituals growing up?
 
Growing up I observed that no one in my family used too many beauty products, apart from the usual Kajal for the eyes. Most of the beauty products were found in the ingredients present in the kitchen - besan, milk, turmeric, aloe vera etc.

3. Could you tell us a few traditional beauty rituals & practices you discovered while travelling or through cultural influences or the women in your life?

Being born and raised in a family which moved to India after the partition in 1947, we'd be told stories of the other side. One such would be on Multani mitti from Multan in West Punjab, Pakistan. Used as a face-pack with addition of rose water and turmeric, this has been a go-to for all the women in my family. It ensures no acne, removes excess sebum and oil, treats tanning and uneven skin-tone amongst many other benefits. 
 
4. What is your daily beauty regime like? Could you tell us a few of your favourite beauty ingredients?
 
Honestly I don't have a beauty regime as such. I just make sure to clean and tone my face everyday and moisturise it. My favourite beauty ingredient has to be the scrub that we have at home with seasonal fruit, milk, besan and rose water. Really helps to nourish and clean your skin. 

5. Do you have a secret beauty tip for our readers? 
 
Not really, but one must remember that one's mental state easily reflects on their skin. So staying positive, keeping yourself occupied in doing what you like and keeping yourself hydrated can go a long way! 

6. what is your definition of self- love, self care & beauty? what makes a woman beautiful according to you?
 
Every woman is born beautiful and it is only about coming to terms with it and accepting yourself the way you are. The society's standards of beauty do not define you. 

7. Please tell us about Punjabi culture and what you love the most about it. 
 
I think the best thing about the Punjabi culture is to stay rooted and at the same time adapt from other cultures and make it your own. That is how a culture evolves in a healthy manner. 

8. What inspired you to blog so actively on it and spread awareness on the same
 
As someone who always thought of herself as a storyteller first and then a journalist, I realized that what was amiss in me was the connection to my own roots. All these years I spent in the darkness  of where I came from, who I am, have now culminated into this journey which I have embarked on. This is now bigger than me and my questions this is now about us. About all of us who want to understand ourselves better and preserve our heritage. There is a long road ahead, and I have only just begun.
9. Lastly, Please help us with a recipe of your favourite Punjabi food delicacy 
I absolutely Love Rajma Rice!
You can access this recipe below : 
Boil 1 cup rajma

For masala:

1 medium sized onion
5 garlic pods
4 tomatoes
1tsp garam masala
1tsp red chilli powder
1tsp coriander powder
1tsp jeera
Salt to taste
4tbsp mustard oil

 •purée the onion garlic and add that in in a kadhai with hot mustard oil + jeera.

•  once the onion paste begins to brown, add the fresh tomato purée

• add all the dry masalas and cook this mixture for at least 30 mins on slow flame till the oil begins to separate

• once done, add this masala to the rajma and cook it again for 1 whistle of the pressure cooker

• once ready, blend some of the rajma so that you get a thick gravy

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