I'm Marina Helene, but you can just call me Helene!
I started MasalaHerb.com in 2011 when I was getting to know Goa in India. My husband, Paul, and his Goan food heritage had a hand in this too and it is thanks to his continues support, that this website has been an invaluable resource.
The purpose of the website was to document my experience and to share our knowledge. Initially, the website was about food and travel.
My heritage is Austrian and French. I grew up in the Tyrolean alps in the mountains (not like Heidi!) eating French food at home, prepared by my French mother.
The core of our grade was nutrition and I loved learning about the crude basics, its impact on our health and how to live a balanced life if you love eating good food.
Then I discovered the essence of every good food, the seasoning!
I was mesmerized that a few spices and herbs could add so much flavor to a clear broth soup and I realized that plain vegetables could taste amazing if seasoned with a combination of spices and herbs.
When I first traveled to India at 19, I was gob smacked by the varieties of flavors and of course the heat. Cilantro tasted soapy back then!
In time I learned so much from my husbands and his parents, in the way food can be prepared. Part of the family grew up in Kenya or worked lived for a while in Kuwait, so the added perspective was very welcome.
Today I can confidently say that my love for spices and herbs has not diminished, but has been rather reinforced. I keep on discovering new flavor combinations, ingredients and uses.
You will recognize a touch of my own seasoning expertise in every recipe on this website. I strive to share the smartest possible recipes, so that you can live a better life in the future.
The Food section...
...focuses a lot on the Austrian/Bavarian (also German), French food heritage and my husband's Goan Portugues Food heritage.
Food Recipes from other cultures, such as Japanese, Italian, American, Mexican to just name a few, are dishes that I either learned or recipes that are from experts from that culture.
I work with food experts from a particular cuisine to share accurate knowledge of the dish and the food culture.
MasalaHerb.com food culture experts
- Me, Helene - Austrian, German, Swiss, and North Italian Food. I have a degree from a culinary school in Austria.
- My mum and aunties - French food
- My mother in law, my husband's aunties, and sisters - Goan Indian food
- Sunita and Rishi - Caribbean food
- Momoko - Japanese food
- Susanna - Italian food
Friends and fellow travelers/ digital nomads shared their recipes and cuisines with me such as American, Mexican, Tibetan, North African and Israeli.
For example, Moroccan cuisine is common in France and our Moroccan friends shared their Tagine recipe on one of our visits. Or young Israelis like to travel to India and they would share their Chicken Schnitzel recipe with me when in Goa.
Each post is researched and it will describe if it's a dish based on a food culture or if it's authentic. Most dishes are a spin-off or a modernized version of an original.
Again, I'm pointing out here that we, I and my food experts, are not food historians but we do our best to share accurate knowledge. I spend hours researching and talking to people!
Also, know that dishes and recipe variations are commonplace. There are countless versions of a dish in a country and every household claims that theirs is the true and only one. We try to keep these things in mind when we publish a recipe.
The food recipes on this space are balanced, healthier in some sorts, prepared with real quality ingredients, and from scratch.
Some recipes include instructions for a quicker preparation by using ready-made ingredients, i.e puff pastry.
My obsession with spices and herbs always shines through!
Masala stands for my husband's Goan, Indian, Asian heritage, for the Eastern influence and for spices in general.
Herb reflects the use of culinary herbs and somewhat represents the Western use of herbs to season food.
MH also stand for my initials. 🙂
The Travel section...
... has been a part of MasalaHerb.com since 2011.
We realized a while back that our Travel guides deserved their own space, so we created Paulmarina.com.
Paulmarina.com is Paul's Travel website and most of the MasalaHerb.com Travel content has been shifted to this space in 2021.
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What you need to know about kitchen tools used at masalaherb.com in a nutshell and which you should use as well for your own food safety.
- Bamboo or Wooden Spatula or food save Silicone Spatula to not scratch your pans
- Non-stick (PFOA free) T-fal style pans and pots or Stainless Steel - for every day cooking
- Thermometer to deep fry/cook meat - not to overheat oil or overcook the meat
- untreated, chemical-free chopping board (some bamboo boards from Chinese manufacturers tend to not be kosher in that regard)
Contact if you have a question.
Find below, quick reference links: