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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Review of Crack the Code: Cook Any Indian Meal with Confidence by Nandita Godbole



With her first cookbook, A Dozen Ways to Celebrate: Twelve Decadent Indian Feasts for the Culinary Indulgent, under her belt, Nandita Godbole’s second cookbook is another homerun. In Crack the Code: Cook Any Indian Meal with Confidence, she shares her grandfathers’ teachings and easily explains the fundamental building blocks of Indian cuisine. This second edition was made possible by backers on Kickstarter. Faye Levy, James Beard Award alum and culinary columnist for the The Jerusalem Post, wrote the forward. There are so many spices and herbs in Indian cuisine, but this workbook-style cookbook makes it simple by showing you the different roles spices and ingredients play, how to layer and balance flavors, and how to build the taste profile for an Indian inspired dish. With over 70 recipes to choose from, this is a must-have cookbook for any home kitchen.

I’d like to give a big thank you to Melissa’s culinary team and Nandita who prepared the following dishes with the utmost care and expertise.

In the Vegetarian Entrees chapter, Effortless Baby Potatoes with Mustard Seeds are really effortless and versatile. According to Ayurveda, “Potatoes are considered cooling to the body, but when consumed in excess makes for a lethargic digestive system.” This is so true for people like me who are affected by carbs. Nandita goes on to say, “The digestive properties of mustard, ginger, cilantro, and lemon juice paired with immunity boosting properties of turmeric and cayenne pepper make this dish easier on the stomach and welcome on your plate.” Even though this is considered an entrée, this would be great as a side item for a meal or even potluck. Nandita has kindly given me permission to share this recipe with you. Rating: 5/5

Effortless Baby Potatoes with Mustard Seeds
Reprinted from Crack the Code: Cook Any Indian Meal with Confidence by arrangement with Nandita Godbole. Copyright © 2015, Nandita Godbole.

Makes: 3-4 servings
Diet: Vegan, Gluten-free
Prep Time: 8-10 minutes
Cook Time, Ease: 7 minutes, Easy

Ingredients
Tier One
1 tbsp cooking oil
2 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp fresh ginger, julienned

Tier Three
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper powder

Tier Five
1 lb baby red-skinned potatoes (see pre-prep note)

Tier Six
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
½ tsp fresh lemon juice
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

Pre-Prep
Wash the potatoes in cold water; ensure the skins are clean. Place them in a pot of salted water and boil them to cook until just tender, 6-9 minutes. Take care to ensure they are not overcooked. Drain and set aside.

Method
Warm the cooking oil in a wok or sauté pan. Add the black mustard seeds and allow these to pop open. Turn the heat down to medium-low and stir in the ginger, allowing it to flavor the oil for 1 minute. Carefully add the turmeric powder and cayenne pepper powder; give it a quick stir and immediately add the cooked potatoes. The oil may sizzle a little. Stir the potatoes to coat them evenly with spices. Season with salt and lemon juice. Reduce the heat to low and continue to let the potatoes crisp slightly, about 3-4 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro just before serving.

In the One-Pot Meals chapter, Minty Peas Pulao proves to be a cooling, fragrant, and refreshing entrée. This dish is made with ghee, cumin seeds, white onion, ginger, garlic, black peppercorn, bay leaf, basmati rice, peas, salt, mint, and cashews. This dish is like the Indian version of rice pilaf. The fluffy jasmine rice contrasts nicely with the crunchy texture of the cashews and crisp, juicy fresh peas. Rating: 5/5

Nandita really “cracked the code” for Indian cuisine with this cookbook

For more information:
Crack the Code: Cook Any Indian Meal with Confidence by Nandita Godbole
Available on iTunes and Google Play
Limited number of print copies are available on CurryCravings

On the search for an ingredient that you can’t find in the store, check out Melissa’s Produce’s website or call +1.800.588.0151.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Review of A Dozen Ways to Celebrate: Twelve Decadent Indian Feasts for the Culinary Indulgent by Nandita Godbole



Nandita Godbole is a native of India who came to the United States to study. After a decade of schooling and working as a designer and independent researcher, she found herself rather homesick. At this point, she realized her true calling of sharing her cultural and culinary Indian traditions. She launched Curry Cravings™  to showcase Indian culture and cuisine, which lead to cooking classes and supper club dinners in Atlanta and Los Angeles. After a huge push from family and friends and the help of Kickstarter, A Dozen Ways to Celebrate: Twelve Decadent Indian Feasts for the Culinary Indulgent became her first cookbook. It is filled with over 100 traditional and unique recipes to make a fabulous dinner including recipes, table settings, crafts, supplemental reading, shopping cheat-sheets, weeknight adaptations, and practical tips.

Courtesy of Melissa's Produce
Nandita also gave us a lecture on spices used in Indian cuisine with an emphasis on “no curry powder”. It is so easy to create curry and Indian flavors without using curry powders.

I’d like to give a big thank you to Melissa’s culinary team and Nandita who prepared the following dishes with the utmost care and expertise.

In Chapter Seven, Nawabi Feast, Nawabi Green Chicken Kebabs are a simple and delicate recipe which will have your guests enthusiastically craving more. Nandita has kindly given me permission to share this recipe with you (see below). The chicken has a fresh taste from the herbs and spices. The bell peppers and onions add a nice savory flavor with a kick of sweetness from the pineapple for an almost tropical flavor. Rating: 5/5

Nawabi Green Chicken Kebabs
Reprinted from A Dozen Ways to Celebrate: Twelve Decadent Indian Feasts for the Culinary Indulgent by arrangement with Nandita Godbole. Copyright © 2014, Nandita Godbole.

Makes: Eight servings: 290 calories ea.
Diet: Vegetarian adaptable, Gluten-free, Non vegetarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes, marinate 2 hours or more
Cook Time, Ease: 30 minutes, Easy

Ingredients
Marinade
2 tbsp ginger paste
½ cup mint leaves
½ cup unflavored Greek yogurt
2 tsp cayenne pepper powder, adjust to taste
2 lbs chicken breast meat, boneless, skinless
1 tsp salt

Kebab
2 red bell peppers, cut into large pieces
¼ fresh pineapple, cut into large chunks
2 large onions, cut into large chunks
3 tbsp olive oil to baste
8 metal or wooden/bamboo skewers

Optional, for Garnish
2 lemons, cut into wedges
1 large onion, cut into rings

Pre-Prep
Create a marinade with all the ingredients except the meat and salt. Trim and cut the chicken into 2” pieces. Add the chicken into the marinade, season with salt, coat evenly and chill for a minimum of 2 hours.

Oil the metal skewers prior to use. If using wooden/bamboo skewers, soak in water for at least 2 hours to prevent them from burning.

Method
Arrange the marinated chicken pieces on the skewers alternating with bell peppers, onions and pineapple. Baste the finished skewers with olive oil and bake for 20-25 minutes at 450°F, or until tender. These kebabs can also be cooked similarly on a charcoal grill to infuse a smoky flavor. If the meat appears uncooked, cover with foil and bake for another 10 minutes. Garnish with lemon wedges and onion rings. Serve hot.

In Chapter Nine, Diwali: Celebrations of Light, Cheesy Stuffed Poblano Peppers is a recipe Nandita’s mother learned from a neighbor and began to experiment with different fillings. It is made with oil, cumin seeds, onion, jalapeno, garam masala powder, ginger paste, garlic paste, baking potatoes, salt, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, sugar, and poblano peppers. The Cheesy Stuffed Poblano Peppers are reminiscent of a stuffed bell pepper with a cheesy potato mixture instead of ground meat. The poblano pepper adds a unique flavor versus the bell pepper and even includes a little bit of spicy kick. This recipe is great for potlucks! Rating: 5/5

In Chapter Eleven, Street-Eats, Mango Lassi is a popular drink during the hot summer months in India. Using fresh yogurt for a lassi is considered cooling for the body even at room temperature, according to Ayurveda. Mango Lassi is made with greek yogurt, mangos (Alphonso, Kent, or Champagne), cold water, sugar, heavy cream, cardamom pods, and almonds. Mango Lassi is one of my favorite drinks and reminds me of home. In Hawaii, mangos grow everywhere and everyone seems to have a tree or two in their backyard. Lassi blends the perfect combination of dairy and fruit for a smoothie-like drink. Rating: 5/5

Celebrate and feast like Nandita with her family and friends! You’ll love Indian cuisine as much as I do!

For more information:
A Dozen Ways to Celebrate: Twelve Decadent Indian Feasts for the Culinary Indulgent by Nandita Godbole
Available on iTunes and Google Play 

On the search for an ingredient that you can’t find in the store, check out Melissa’s Produce’s website or call +1.800.588.0151.