The first YouTube video starts out with an unsteady shot of Manjula Jain in her Rancho Bernardo kitchen. Alex Jain, her husband and the man behind the camera, says “Go.”
Manjula began explaining her recipe for gulab jamun, an Indian dessert of fried dough balls in syrup, and Alex uploaded it on YouTube. He wanted to do something special for her. It was their anniversary.
They had to do it all in one take because back then, Alex Jain didn’t know how to edit video. But once the video was up, Manjula Jain marveled at how many views it garnered.
Now, more than three years later, the 61-year-old Manjula Jain is somewhat of an internet sensation. She’s posted 120 Indian vegetarian cooking videos and the most popular one — for roti, an Indian flatbread — has been viewed more than 1.1 million times.
And this isn’t just a hobby.
Jain has turned her passion into something that brings in money ($14,000 last year, they estimate), thanks to a YouTube program and ads on her own website — made popular by her viral success.