UO Kitchen Visits: Deepa Shirdhar of Puli-Ra

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Simply put, we love food. Among hosting a handful of delicious local restaurants and rotating food trucks on-site at Space 24 Twenty, we've programmed a handful of pop-up dinners with local chefs (e.g. Peruvian Feast with Kila Wasi, Brunch with Rosen's Bagels and Filipino Feast with SALO x Flavor & Bounty) to keep West Campus from getting hungry. 

As we begin 2018, we're partnering up with beloved food blogger, Irvianne Torremoro of Flavor & Bounty to keep us hip to new openings, food concepts and chefs making waves in Austin. Check out her recent visit with Deepa Shirdhar below and stay tuned for more soon! 

Written and photographed by Irvianne Torremoro 

New year, new resolutions, new goals, and new concept, am I right? At least that’s the deal for Deepa Shirdhar. She’s the owner and chef behind the Puli-Ra in South Austin. Currently, Shirdhar and her team can be found in the yard of Still Austin Whiskey Co. readying the food truck while slinging out delicious food with from their tent and outside kitchen setup.

Deepa moved to Garland, Texas from India when she was four years old, in the midst of the first snow that North Texas had seen in years. Though it was much of a culture shock, Shirdhar and her family acclimated to the Texas heat and ways swimmingly. As she grew to love Texas cuisine, her family still held on to their traditional Indian traditions, like daily chai tea time (which eventually led to her school friends coming over for chai tea and learning of her culture).

Her South Indian background and obvious Texas influence can be seen in her cooking and inspires her to change the menu as she pleases. She’s made her way through the trenches of the several kitchens in Dallas and moved her way through Austin’s culinary world, working at established restaurants such as Dai Due and Lenoir.

Shirdhar has been in the Austin food scene from some time now, with different iterations. She started to gain notoriety in the Austin food scene with her pop-up dining experiences, Anjore Supper Club, and delivery service/farmer’s market stand Chaiwalla. Her newest venture, Puli-Ra, combines her love of Indian and Texas foods, which results in a beautiful mash-up of two different culinary backgrounds. She’s an avid advocate for using local Texas ingredients in her menu, constantly experimenting with different dishes, only to keep us on our toes.

Keep up with Puli-Ra here!