MOB Kitchen’s Seema Shares TikTok Trends and Easy Recipes

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Whether you’re a foodie or not, we can almost guarantee you’ve heard of MOB Kitchen, the cooking collective that continually inspires us to try new foods and step into the kitchen. Seema Pankhania is a food producer at MOB, and we caught up with her to talk about TikTok trends, how to cook while minimizing food waste and to find out about the London restaurant that offers free manicures in the waiting room.

PS: Have you always liked food?
SP: I went to college and did neuroscience, but halfway through I realized it wasn’t for me. I knew I wanted to make food, and the ultimate goal was always to do something like Buzzfeed Tasty or Enjoy your meal, because I loved growing up so much. Doing all of my research it seemed like the easiest way to do anything in the food business was to work in a restaurant so I got a job at one of the Gordon Ramsay restaurants and went there. spent a year. During the lockdown I learned to do photography and did some videos and Instagram Lives and then started working with MOB Kitchen.

PS: Where do you find inspiration for your recipes?
SP: It could be from TikTok. It could be from Instagram. It can come from reading books. It often depends on how many recipes I need for the week. I’m going to look at cookbooks because it’s faster, but most of the time I get the best ideas just from being out in a restaurant. Anytime I experience food, basically. Often times if someone I know goes to a good restaurant I always tell them to send me a photo of the menu and photos of their food as it helps a lot for inspiration especially in a place where I don’t. have never been before.

PS: Speaking of TikTok, what are the food trends that you have noticed thanks to the platform?
SP: I think one thing is the concept of satisfying food. Not satisfactory to eat, but satisfactory to watch. Things that have a lot of hash and ASMR, that sort of thing that tends to work really well. This is the process that is quite satisfying. I have noticed that the things people like the most are not the usual things like sandwiches, but [they’re] things like ramen. The Asian dishes I make are especially likely to be on trend because it’s different for the western audience from TikTok and it’s stuff they have [usually] already returned home. It’s a different combination that they might not be familiar with, and it’s really really quick to make.

PS: How has this knowledge changed the way you work at MOB and TikTok?
SP: As soon as the lockdown turned into something real I felt like no one cared about these [polished] videos that we used to do. They wanted more portable, rustic, personality-based videos and then we kind of moved on to one where we did more choppy and less polished content because it just seemed to work a lot better. I think people like to watch things that they can imitate. If you watch something very bright and in high definition, it looks more intimidating. But if you see someone doing it rudely in their kitchen, you’re like, “Oh, well, I can do it,” and then you’re more likely to watch it and share it and do it.

PS: nice! How do you think TikTok has helped the younger generations feed themselves?
SP: I think that makes it so much more accessible. When I was younger, the food [videos] that I used to watch was the shiny, high definition stuff. Because I was really, really obsessed with food, it was good because I was happy to spend six hours doing things. But now you don’t have to spend all that time cooking. You can still cook really good dishes and food in a short period of time, which is actually quite easy to do, especially in college. There are so many recipes on TikTok that I’m like ‘Oh my god, I wish I had this in college. I wish I didn’t make the same boring old pasta salad every day of the week ”.

What I also love is that when you step into this community of everyone who cooks, you learn so much. Even with Indian food, most of the time I see a video and I’m like, “Mom, what is this? we do it differently. It opens up so much more that you wouldn’t even have heard of.

PS: Are there any recipes that you have come across on TikTok that have now become your favorites?
SP: Definitely the salmon rice! I make mine with canned tuna because I always have canned tuna lying around. I don’t use sriracha because I don’t like it, I just do a quick gochujang [red chilli paste] sauce, but a version of that is definitely something that I really, really like.

PS: And you’ve developed a whole new recipe in your work with Samsung KX, haven’t you?
SP: I developed a really, really cheap and easy recipe. It was a miso mushroom risotto, and I chose this one for many reasons. First of all, risotto is something that people find really scary, but it’s really cheap and easy to prepare, and it requires very few ingredients. It is not expensive at all. I put miso paste in it because it is something that is becoming quite accessible, but also a little trendy.

PS Sounds good, I also noticed that you don’t tend to find sugary foods as much on TikTok?
SP: I really think it’s true. Even at Mob we tend to stay away from sweet because it just doesn’t work as well, which at first was quite difficult as I started out as a baker. I love to bake cakes and that’s how I started to eat. When I was young and watching TV, I would cook and bake people’s birthday cakes.

PS: Why do you think sweet things don’t work so well?
SP: I quit doing sweet things when I was in college because making sweet food is not a necessity. It is a luxury. And if you’re already looking for things that are very accessible, you’re not looking for something more than you already would, right? You’d make a dessert or something sweet maybe once a month realistically, if that’s the case. They take as much time, if not more, than preparing a meal. So you’re already adding a few extra hours to your cooking time for something you don’t necessarily need to do.

In pastry making, you need skill. In addition, the ingredients and equipment you need for cooking are plentiful. You need so many things that unless you made a commitment to do it very regularly, you wouldn’t have different oils, different molds. You need all of these different baking tins, pie tins, measuring cups, whatever you wouldn’t normally have.

PS: Certainly, it also feels like the younger generations are also more health conscious, and maybe not as much in need of super indulgent stuff?
SP: Yes, they are also more durable and more environmentally friendly. I think as the generations go by they become more and more aware of what they’re putting into their body and also how that affects everything else, which is obviously a good thing. It’s really interesting and it’s something I think about when developing recipes. For example if it was cream I will try to always use the measure of cream you get [in supermarkets] because I know cream is something you won’t necessarily use a lot and just throw it in the trash. Things like that that I try to consider when cooking, if you use spring onions, use a whole bunch. If you are cutting peppers, use three instead of one as they come in packs of three.

PS: Speaking of the younger generations then, what advice would you give to students or people moving into their first accommodation, when it comes to cooking inexpensive and healthy meals?
SP: What would really help is picking out a few cuisines that you really like. If you have chosen Chinese cuisine and just got the ingredients you need for it [cuisine]. If we’re at home and making a curry, for example, I have all the spices, it’s probably only going to cost me two pounds to make a curry because I already have everything. All I need to buy maybe some chicken and some veg. So if you use this concept for the kitchens you love the most, most of the time you just have to buy a big bottle of soy sauce, mirin, sake, and then you can do a lot of things. .

PS: Regarding ingredients, what are the three things that you will always make sure to have in your kitchen?
SP: Soy sauce, garlic and chili.

PS Do you have any secret cooking tips that other people might not know?
SP: Bottles of Kikkoman soy sauce, they come with a special lid and this is to make sure you can be precise with how much soy sauce you put in. Soy sauce is salty and you can often put too much on your dish. , especially if you put it at the end. If you hold the end of the lid it creates a vacuum or something and then nothing will come out so you can be super precise! I keep the lids and if I buy another bottle of soy sauce, I will only use this lid.

PS: OK, that’s a really good tip! What advice would you give to people who want to get started in the kitchen, where do they start?
SP: I would say, find a niche you like and just dive into YouTube. I think YouTube is the best way to learn new things. If you find something you like just watch more videos on it, read about it, whatever medium you like. The way I learned to cook is not the way I learned science. I never wrote notes or things like that but I still remember it. For some reasons, [probably] because it’s something that interests you, you can just take it a lot easier and enjoy it.

Another tip is if you see a recipe and think, “I don’t have this or I don’t have that,” don’t think you can’t make it. Just Google substitutes and half the time you can find substitutes in your house, or you can just leave it out and you’ll be fine.

PS: And for those who prefer their food to be cooked for them, do you have any favorite restaurants or places that you recommend?
SP: Hoppers! Oh my god, and Haidilao, my mind was blown away. In fact, Jesus Christ. It was blown away. They are so amazing. This is probably the best place I have been in my life. You get this big pot of soup and you get all this meats and you make your own gravy and they give you snacks. The service is so good. And there is a waiting room where you can get free manicures. It’s not even a joke. In the waiting room to enter the restaurant, you can have your nails done for free.

Image Source: Samsung KX


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