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

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

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

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.

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.