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

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)

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.

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.