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Host: Jyashree

Chennai (Madras), India

USD
$20-$72 per person

A traditional South Indian vegetarian meal in Chennai

Host offerings
  • House
  • In-home meal
  • Pets
  • Vegetarian
  • Alcohol
  • Transportation
  • Cooking class
  • Market visit + Cooking class + Meal
  • Food tour

Meet Jyashree

Attention to detail is Jyashree's signature cooking talent. She still follows the traditional way of cooking and uses authentic, traditional vessels and organic country vegetables to prepare South Indian Iyer cuisine, which is vegetarian by definition. Her ammamma (mother's mother) taught her that the smallest detail has the ability to elevate simple, everyday dishes to the level of masterpieces. Jyashree would watch as her grandmother prepared gulab jamuns, an elaborate dessert that requires hours of patience and skill, from scratch and as she steamed idlis (a simple traditional South Indian breakfast staple) to perfection. Her grandmother would line the idli batter with homespun muslin cloth to give it an extra texture, the kind of additional detail that has long been abandoned by most cooks for the sake of efficiency. Jyashree focuses on these small touches to bring an extra element of care and refinement to her cooking.

She says, "Now when I cook, I don't just use her years of experience and favorite earthen pots that have passed down from generation to generation in the household, I also think "what would ammamma do?" And so when you sit at my dining table, I'd like to think you'll meet some part of her too - a feisty feminist and homemaker whose way of life shaped me in her mold."

Jyashree lives in a comfortable home with her husband and their three beloved dogs. They look forward to welcoming you to their table and sharing their South Indian culture and cuisine with their guests.

"Food in my house is not just something we eat - it is a central part of our life and relationships."

What to expect

Please note menu might vary. If there are particular dishes you are interested in trying, please include your request in the booking form.

In-home meal: (1-10 guests) Jyashree prepares a traditional South Indian Iyer sapaad, a vegetarian Tamil Brahmin spread consisting of a wide variety of dishes all prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients and served on a banana leaf. You'll taste dishes such as sambar (lentil and tamarind based stew with country vegetables), rasam (peppery soup of puréed tomatoes, spices, and tamarind or lemon), vegetable poriyal (sautéed vegetables with regional spices and freshly grated coconut), moorkuzhmbu (spicy yogurt gravy with coconut, red chilies, mango and curry leaves), and a vegetable roast (either potato, cauliflower or colacassia, marinated in spices and fried to golden brown perfection).

The meal is accompanied by rice and handmade dosas (crispy South Indian crepes). You will also sample Jyashree's homemade pickles and chutneys, which vary based on the seasons, such as lime and tender mango pickle, sweet and sour mango pickle, dhal (chutney made of red chilies, garlic and grated coconut) or her green tomato, chili and garlic chutney.

End with a homemade sweet, perhaps her badam kheer (a creamy, cold dessert made of ground almonds, milk and saffron) or a payasam (dessert made from milk or coconut milk, sugar or jaggery, mixed with tender coconuts, bananas or jackfruit).

Cooking experience: (1-10 guests) Join Jyashree in her kitchen where she will teach you to prepare a variety of rices, a vegetable poriyal (sautéed vegetables with spices) and a rasam (a peppery soup that is an essential element to the South Indian Iyer sapaad), the basics of a typical South Indian meal. You can expect the cooking lesson to last about 1-2 hours before you share the meal you helped prepare which will include additional dishes Jyashree prepared in advance. if you wish to learn how to make dosas or appams or anything else in particular, please let Jyashree know in advance so that she can be prepared.

Market visit: (1-5 guests) Meet Jyashree at her home and after a drink and snack, drive together to the local market. Explore the local vegetable, fruit and flower vendors' stalls, learn about the different varieties of regional produce, and get a feel for the local neighborhood Unlike a typical market, this is more of a neighborhood street market experience where you will see everyday local life. Please note that the street may be uneven and chaotic so wear comfortable footwear.

Notes: Jyashree only serves vegetarian food.

Languages spoken: English, Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi

PERSONALLY VETTED REVIEW
A Traveling Spoon ambassador visited this host. Here is their personal review.

We were greeted by Jyashree’s husband and were taken upstairs to their living area. The house was very well maintained and was full of Hindu tradition. Jyashree started with explaining the making of every dish she had prepared. We were served almost 15 different varieties of freshly prepared South Indian vegetarian food. Every single item tasted unbelievably delicious. My most favorite was the manga pachidi (a sweet and sour dish made of mangoes). Everything that she prepared was at the right consistency, spice level and quantity. We thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Jyashree and her husband and we think she’d be a wonderful host to all travelers!

Preethi, Traveling Spoon Ambassador

Traveler reviews

This is the best thing I did during my stay in Chennai - Jyashree, my host, was very welcoming and the experience was so much more than I hoped for. We went to the market to buy supplies (with a temple visit and a little souvenir shopping on the side), then Jyashree showed us how to make various delicious south Indian foods, including sambar which I had particularly requested. The meal we ate was one of the best meals I have eaten in India and I left very full and happy! I would definitely recommend this to anyone, whether you have an interest in cooking yourself or would just like to experience a proper home-cooked meal.
- Harriett January 23, 2018

My cooking experience and meal with Jyashree (and her husband, Ravi) was exceptional. I loved each of the 9 dishes, the dessert poli, and the homemade sweet lassi that Jyashree whipped up when I mentioned that it was my favorite part of the hotel breakfast spread. Learning to cook was a blast. Jyashree has a great sense of humor and she adapted the course perfectly for me - giving me great tips for shortcuts and kitchen equipment and slowing things down to explain the different types of dhal and components of a good masala box. Jyashree and Ravi have a great dynamic. Conversation over dinner was easy and engaging and they took great care of me, arranging a ride back to the hotel with their driver and sending me off with some beautifully packaged rasam powder. Their home was lovely and spacious as well - couldn't have asked for a better experience.
- Elizabeth November 17, 2017

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Jyashree

$20-$72 USD

per person
100% VETTED
Learn more
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back
  • Free cancellation up to 48 hours in advance
  • Credit card is not charged until the host confirms your booking
  • Private experience
Pricing (per person)*
1 person 2-4 ppl 5+ ppl
In-Home Meal
$32 $26 $22
Cooking Experience + Meal
$50 $40 $32
Market Tour
$32 $26 $20
Market Tour + Meal
$54 $50 $42
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
$72 $64 $54
Transportation
$40 per car
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
1 person 2-4 people 5+ people
In-Home Meal
$32 $26 $22
Cooking Experience + Meal
$50 $40 $32
Market Tour
$32 $26 $20
Market Tour + Meal
$54 $50 $42
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
$72 $64 $54
Transportation
$40 per car
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
Experience Timings
Lunch Dinner
In-Home Meal
12:30pm-2:30pm 8:00pm-10:00pm
Cooking Experience+ Meal
11:00am-2:00pm 6:30pm-9:30pm
Market Tour
9:00am-9:00am 5:30pm-5:30pm
Market Tour+ Meal
10:00am-2:00pm 6:00pm-10:00pm
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
9:00am-2:00pm 5:30pm-10:30pm

Meet Jyashree

Attention to detail is Jyashree's signature cooking talent. She still follows the traditional way of cooking and uses authentic, traditional vessels and organic country vegetables to prepare South Indian Iyer cuisine, which is vegetarian by definition. Her ammamma (mother's mother) taught her that the smallest detail has the ability to elevate simple, everyday dishes to the level of masterpieces. Jyashree would watch as her grandmother prepared gulab jamuns, an elaborate dessert that requires hours of patience and skill, from scratch and as she steamed idlis (a simple traditional South Indian breakfast staple) to perfection. Her grandmother would line the idli batter with homespun muslin cloth to give it an extra texture, the kind of additional detail that has long been abandoned by most cooks for the sake of efficiency. Jyashree focuses on these small touches to bring an extra element of care and refinement to her cooking.

She says, "Now when I cook, I don't just use her years of experience and favorite earthen pots that have passed down from generation to generation in the household, I also think "what would ammamma do?" And so when you sit at my dining table, I'd like to think you'll meet some part of her too - a feisty feminist and homemaker whose way of life shaped me in her mold."

Jyashree lives in a comfortable home with her husband and their three beloved dogs. They look forward to welcoming you to their table and sharing their South Indian culture and cuisine with their guests.

"Food in my house is not just something we eat - it is a central part of our life and relationships."

What to expect

Please note menu might vary. If there are particular dishes you are interested in trying, please include your request in the booking form.

In-home meal: (1-10 guests) Jyashree prepares a traditional South Indian Iyer sapaad, a vegetarian Tamil Brahmin spread consisting of a wide variety of dishes all prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients and served on a banana leaf. You'll taste dishes such as sambar (lentil and tamarind based stew with country vegetables), rasam (peppery soup of puréed tomatoes, spices, and tamarind or lemon), vegetable poriyal (sautéed vegetables with regional spices and freshly grated coconut), moorkuzhmbu (spicy yogurt gravy with coconut, red chilies, mango and curry leaves), and a vegetable roast (either potato, cauliflower or colacassia, marinated in spices and fried to golden brown perfection).

The meal is accompanied by rice and handmade dosas (crispy South Indian crepes). You will also sample Jyashree's homemade pickles and chutneys, which vary based on the seasons, such as lime and tender mango pickle, sweet and sour mango pickle, dhal (chutney made of red chilies, garlic and grated coconut) or her green tomato, chili and garlic chutney.

End with a homemade sweet, perhaps her badam kheer (a creamy, cold dessert made of ground almonds, milk and saffron) or a payasam (dessert made from milk or coconut milk, sugar or jaggery, mixed with tender coconuts, bananas or jackfruit).

Cooking experience: (1-10 guests) Join Jyashree in her kitchen where she will teach you to prepare a variety of rices, a vegetable poriyal (sautéed vegetables with spices) and a rasam (a peppery soup that is an essential element to the South Indian Iyer sapaad), the basics of a typical South Indian meal. You can expect the cooking lesson to last about 1-2 hours before you share the meal you helped prepare which will include additional dishes Jyashree prepared in advance. if you wish to learn how to make dosas or appams or anything else in particular, please let Jyashree know in advance so that she can be prepared.

Market visit: (1-5 guests) Meet Jyashree at her home and after a drink and snack, drive together to the local market. Explore the local vegetable, fruit and flower vendors' stalls, learn about the different varieties of regional produce, and get a feel for the local neighborhood Unlike a typical market, this is more of a neighborhood street market experience where you will see everyday local life. Please note that the street may be uneven and chaotic so wear comfortable footwear.

Notes: Jyashree only serves vegetarian food.

Languages spoken: English, Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi

PERSONALLY VETTED REVIEW
A Traveling Spoon ambassador visited this host. Here is their personal review.

We were greeted by Jyashree’s husband and were taken upstairs to their living area. The house was very well maintained and was full of Hindu tradition. Jyashree started with explaining the making of every dish she had prepared. We were served almost 15 different varieties of freshly prepared South Indian vegetarian food. Every single item tasted unbelievably delicious. My most favorite was the manga pachidi (a sweet and sour dish made of mangoes). Everything that she prepared was at the right consistency, spice level and quantity. We thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Jyashree and her husband and we think she’d be a wonderful host to all travelers!

Preethi, Traveling Spoon Ambassador

Traveler reviews

This is the best thing I did during my stay in Chennai - Jyashree, my host, was very welcoming and the experience was so much more than I hoped for. We went to the market to buy supplies (with a temple visit and a little souvenir shopping on the side), then Jyashree showed us how to make various delicious south Indian foods, including sambar which I had particularly requested. The meal we ate was one of the best meals I have eaten in India and I left very full and happy! I would definitely recommend this to anyone, whether you have an interest in cooking yourself or would just like to experience a proper home-cooked meal.
- Harriett January 23, 2018

My cooking experience and meal with Jyashree (and her husband, Ravi) was exceptional. I loved each of the 9 dishes, the dessert poli, and the homemade sweet lassi that Jyashree whipped up when I mentioned that it was my favorite part of the hotel breakfast spread. Learning to cook was a blast. Jyashree has a great sense of humor and she adapted the course perfectly for me - giving me great tips for shortcuts and kitchen equipment and slowing things down to explain the different types of dhal and components of a good masala box. Jyashree and Ravi have a great dynamic. Conversation over dinner was easy and engaging and they took great care of me, arranging a ride back to the hotel with their driver and sending me off with some beautifully packaged rasam powder. Their home was lovely and spacious as well - couldn't have asked for a better experience.
- Elizabeth November 17, 2017

Pricing (per person)*
1 person 2-4 ppl 5+ ppl
In-Home Meal
$32 $26 $22
Cooking Experience + Meal
$50 $40 $32
Market Tour
$32 $26 $20
Market Tour + Meal
$54 $50 $42
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
$72 $64 $54
Transportation
$40 per car
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
1 person 2-4 people 5+ people
In-Home Meal
$32 $26 $22
Cooking Experience + Meal
$50 $40 $32
Market Tour
$32 $26 $20
Market Tour + Meal
$54 $50 $42
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
$72 $64 $54
Transportation
$40 per car
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
Experience Timings
Lunch Dinner
In-Home Meal
12:30pm-2:30pm 8:00pm-10:00pm
Cooking Experience+ Meal
11:00am-2:00pm 6:30pm-9:30pm
Market Tour
9:00am-9:00am 5:30pm-5:30pm
Market Tour+ Meal
10:00am-2:00pm 6:00pm-10:00pm
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
9:00am-2:00pm 5:30pm-10:30pm
ABOUT TRAVELING SPOON

Traveling Spoon connects you with meaningful culinary experiences, from private cooking lessons to homecooked meals in people's homes. Enjoy an immersive cultural experience that gives you a glimpse into the local way of life.

FAQ

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    Hosts typically respond to booking inquiries within 72 hours. If for some reason you have not heard from your host or if you have any questions you can always contact us at reservations@travelingspoon.com.

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    Some hosts offer transportation as an optional add-on for travelers. Typically this is round trip transportation with pick up and drop off at your hotel. Pricing is quoted per car. Specific instructions for transportation will be provided in your confirmation details when your booking is confirmed.

    Many of our hosts accommodate solo travelers. You can see if a host accepts solo travelers by looking at the traveler range found next to the experience descriptions on the host profile (indicated by the numbers in parentheses next to "In-home meal", "Cooking experience" and "Market visit").

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