A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors by Rinku Bhattacharya- Feature and Review


Spices and Seasons, Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors

Rinku Bhattacharya combines her two great loves―Indian cooking and sustainable living―to give readers a simple, accessible way to cook seasonally, locally, and flavorfully. Inspired by the bounty of local produce, mostly from her own backyard, Rinku set out to create recipes for busy, time-strapped home cooks who want to blend Indian flavors into nutritious family meals. Arranged in chapters from appetizers through desserts, the cookbook includes everything from small bites, soups, seafood, meat and poultry, and vegetables, to condiments, breads, and sweets. You’ll find recipes for tempting fare like “Mango and Goat Cheese Mini Crisps,” “Roasted Red Pepper Chutney,” “Crisped Okra with Dry Spice Rub,” “Smoky Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Puree,” and “Red Harvest Masala Cornish Hens,” to name a few. As exotic and enticing as these recipes sound, the ingredients are easily found and the instructions are simple. Rinku encourages readers to explore the bounty of their local farms and markets, and embrace the rich flavors of India to cook food that is nutritious, healthy, seasonal and most importantly, delicious.


Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian FlavorsSpices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors by Rinku Bhattacharya
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Spices and Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors by Rinku Bhattacharya is a 2014 Hippocrene Books publication.

Recently, my husband and I have been trying out more Indian recipes and are quickly becoming addicted to them.

Although I am still a novice, I do understand how very important the right spices are in Indian foods. However, beyond curry and turmeric, I wasn't all that familiar with the other mainstay spices and seasonings I might need or enjoy. So, this looked like a cookbook that would be informative and helpful to me.

However, I couldn’t have anticipated how wonderful this cookbook turned out to be!! Living in a small town in Texas, finding the spices and ingredients listed in many cookbooks is often a frustrating challenge. But, in this case I was pleasantly surprised by how many of the spices used in these delectable dishes, I already had in my pantry or were easy to locate locally.

The cookbook uses the standard organizational format, broken down in segments featuring appetizers, soups, breads, etc. However, she also divides the book into seasonal sections, which is also a very nice touch. Naturally, with the popularity of instant pots and the convenience of slow cooking, there are recipes added using these popular cooking aides, as well as other tools and equipment one might need or find useful, which is very helpful as well. Gluten free recipes are also included for those with special dietary needs.

The recipes are quite easy, and if you have a garden, many of the ingredients used might very well be right there in your own backyard. If not, they are most likely available in a farm market in your area.

The recipes are easy to follow, with colorful photos that had my mouth watering. I also enjoyed the author’s personal comments and family history, which made me feel as though she is a very down to earth person, who is very knowledgeable about these cultural dishes and the history behind many of them.

I have always found growing radishes and okra in my area to be very easy, but I always end up with an over abundance of them. Finding a creative use for them is not always easy. But I found a super easy way to spice up my radishes and okra, much to my delight!!

I am looking forward to trying out more recipes featured in this cookbook and will certainly return to it often.

Overall, if you are interested in learning how to make Indian food at home, or trying out new recipes that are very flavorful, healthy, and easy to make, you will find this cookbook very useful!!

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About Rinku Bhattacharya
Rinku Bhattacharya (spicechronicles.com) was born in India, and now lives in a house with a vibrant backyard in Hudson Valley, New York with her husband, an avid gardener, and their two children. Rinku’s simple, sustainable approach to Indian cooking is showcased on her blog, Spice Chronicles, and in her Journal News column “Spices and Seasons.”

Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past nine years, and works extensively with local area farmer’s markets on seasonal demonstrations and discussions. Rinku is also the author of The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles (Hippocrene Books, 2012), winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2013 for Best Indian Cuisine. She writes for the Poughkeepsie Journal, the Journal News, and several online sites, and is a frequent guest on CT Style TV.

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