Intimidated By Indian Cooking? Don’t Be

Rinku Bhattacharya’s "Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors" cookbook

We tend to think of most Indian meals as time-consuming because of the complex spice blends and rich buttery sauces. Challenging that preconception and expanding our knowledge about Indian cuisine is Rinku Bhattacharya’s new cookbook, Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors, which offers fast and fresh recipes for busy lifestyles.

Bhattacharya is a food blogger at Cooking in Westchester, a wife, a mother of two kids, a finance professional, an avid gardener, and a writer for local newspapers who understands the value of time. Her previous book, The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles, was published in 2012.

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Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes with Strawberry Puree

In addition to watching my sister and I during the day, our new babysitter initially promised Mom a good lunch for us. She didn’t know we were a pair of extreme picky kids, no fault of our own. Blame it on Dad who knew more about cooking, from a chef’s perspective, than most people who brought into the fast, processed food craze starting in the late 70’s. Good lunches meant a bologna and American single cheese sandwich with bleached white flour bread that never spoiled. If mayonnaise or mustard were added to my sandwich, I would rather starve. Hot dogs weren’t a good option, too. Most people served it with ketchup and mustard. Maybe a little pickled relish. After a few weeks of my sister and I refusing to eat, the sitter told Mom; we are too picky to feed. However, we would spend the next few years playing and growing side-by-side with her three lovely kids. She was tough love. Read more

Blueberry Muffins with Almond Granola Topping

Blueberry Muffins with Almond Granola Topping

Three adults and four children left the North for the Mason-Dixon Line. As the only adult female in the group, I made sure we had plenty of healthy food to nibble on towards our destination. As mentioned before, eating healthy on the road is easy, if well planned. For this trip, I packed toasted pumpkins seeds with dried apricots (try purchasing dried fruit without sulfur dioxide, a chemical preservative retaining color and flavor), Beet Leaf Pesto Tuna Wraps (I swear it’s good, for two out of the four kids love it!), and Blueberry Muffins with Almond Granola Topping. If you haven’t noticed, prices for berries have dropped significantly. This is the time of the year, in which berries are in season. In addition, they’re sugary sweet, tart and plump. Read more