Over the years, as a food blogger, I’ve had the opportunity to review many wonderful cookbooks. The fact that I collect cookbooks has made this opportunity even sweeter, as every collector worth their salt LOVES nothing more than adding to their collection. Although I’ve collected cookbooks since I first cracked an egg, my newest cookbook (Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors) is quite unlike any other in my collection. This is the first Indian Cuisine cookbook I’ve ever owned.
It’s not that I don’t love Indian food – far, far from it! I’ve just been intimidated by this exotic cuisine, assuming the various flavors must call for spices I’d have to fly across country to find. A fear of heights (and, thereby, flying) rules that out, so I simply allowed any Indian food I enjoyed to take place in restaurants.
I don’t have to do that anymore!
In her beautiful cookbook, Rinku Bhattacharya has proven that you CAN create delicious, fresh, fantastic, and memorable Indian flavors in your own kitchen. What’s more the recipes are as fun and exciting to create as the food is to eat.
I think that’s why I’m extra excited about this particular cookbook – it introduces new flavors and techniques to even the most veteran foodies. Take it from me, my kitchen experiences a lot of cooking – to the tune of DAILY – so it’s accustomed to a wide variety of aromas and flavors and combinations of aromas and flavors. But each time I make a recipe from Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors, my kitchen and I experience something new and beautiful.
Do I even have to tell you how exciting that is?!
The first recipe I made from this beautiful cookbook was the Pineapple and Citrus Chicken Wing Kebabs (page 23) – pictured above. I didn’t have any drumettes on hand, so I just cut up the chicken I did have. I can’t wait to try it with drumettes, though. My chicken was also skinless, and I’m anxious to try this recipe WITH skin. It was absolutely delicious, though. The cilantro, ginger, turmeric, and pineapple made beautiful music together and my taste buds danced on and on.
While cooking has never been boring to me, it can sometimes become commonplace.
Let’s see, let me mash the potatoes before I take the chicken out of the oven..
When I made the Classic Mint Chutney, it occurred to me that I’d NEVER made a chutney before. As soon as I made (and tasted) it, though, I was automatically calculating the next time I’d be doing so. The flavors were so exquisite and unique – my family and I couldn’t stop talking about it.
In fact, each recipe I’ve made from Spices & Seasons has been a huge hit in our home – one that we enjoy seeing, eating, and talking about. Even recipes that I have made countless times are given a fresh new twist – like Stir-Fried Asparagus, for example. Asparagus is my husband’s favorite vegetable, so suffice to say I’ve cooked more asparagus that you could ever hope to count. It just now occurred to me that if I had all the money I”ve spent on asparagus over the years, I could buy my husband a boat.
A big boat!
I had never made asparagus with ginger, though, and it honestly woke up flavors I never knew existed in asparagus.
That’s part of the beauty about Rinku Bhattacharya (click the link for the author’s blog) recipes – they allow you to experience cooking AND food in a fresh new way. It isn’t an overstatement to say that your love of cooking will be reawakened. You’ll find yourself inhaling the exotic new aromas that fill your kitchen and feel a special kind of pride when your family raves and raves about the exotic flavors you created.
Best of all, the recipes are simple and easy to follow. And you don’t have to hop a flight to India for the spices and seasons.
Some of the recipes in Spices & Seasons
- Roasted Bell Pepper Chutney
- Pineapple and Citrus Wing Kebabs
- Roasted Spice-Rubbed Cauliflower Wedges
- Fragrant Brown Lentil Soup
- Masala Omelet Frittata
- Chickpea Flour-Crusted Fish
- Red Wine and Chili Pork Curry
- Brined Turkey with Pomegranate Apricot Glaze
- Chicken Orzo Pilaf
- Whole Wheat Flatbreads
- Chicken in a Creamy Yogurt Sauce
- Quick Fix Lovely Red Spinach Tofu
- Herb and Spice Roasted Chicken
- Pineapple and Ginger Spiced Ham
- Saffron Rice Pilaf with Cashew Nuts
- Zucchini, Lemon Thyme and Onion Flatbreads
- Fresh Ginger Apple Chai Cake
- Saffron Pistachio Rice Pudding
- Maple and Yogurt Custard (I have a date with this one Saturday)
- MANY spice blends, Indian Relish, marinades, and rubs.
- And a lot more recipes that’ll knock your socks off… maybe I should say they’ll knock your apron off.
About the AuthorRinku Bhattacharya is a native of Kolkata, India, currently living in a house with a vibrant backyard in Hudson Valley, New York with her husband and two young children. Rinku s practical, sustainable approach to Indian cooking, is showcased on her blog, Cooking in Westchester, and her Journal News column Spices and Seasons. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past nine years and also partners with the local, Down Home Markets to offer seasonal Indian cooking demos. She is author of The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles (Hippocrene Books, 2012). Rinku has also written for the Poughkeepsie Journaland several online sites, and appeared on CT Style television a few times.
- Point you to Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors on Amazon. This is one cookbook you’ll want to add to your collection right away. I just can’t say enough good things about it.
The publisher has given me the green light to give one copy away to one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment below – that’s all you have to do! I’ll write the names on pieces of paper, fold them up, and will have a member of my family pick one at random. The publisher will then send the lucky individual their own copy. Simple as that. I’ll announce the winner in the comments below this weekend. Good luck!
The giveaway has expired (congrats to the winner!), but this beautiful cookbook is available on Amazon… so be sure to grab your copy right away.