It’s been a while since I showcased a cookbook, but this one is packed with recipes I want to eat NOW (and it’s only 8 a.m.). I’m lucky that my kids are happy to eat a bit of spice, in fact the chicken wing roulette at Nando’s is their favourite “treat” … honestly – they were having fun!
Spices and Seasons Indian cookbook
I eagerly grabbed a review copy of this cookbook and I absolutely love the recipes, but there are a caveats for UK readers though
- it’s all in American measures – cups and pounds. I can estimate a cup, but it would be so much easier if there were UK measures added to help international cooks.
- on a similar theme, it uses American terminology so all the recipes I looked at required a bit of interpretation, e.g. cilantro (coriander), all-purpose flour (plain flour) and heavy cream (I actually don’t know if this is double cream or whipping cream?)
- some tricky ingredients – I’d struggle to find mace blades where I live, so would have to swap for nutmeg.
That means I’d need to buy a paperback not ebook so I could annotate the recipes or it would drive me nuts, but it’s definitely worth a space on my shelf.
Here’s an example for you …
Saffron and Almond Salmon Kebabs
Our friend Vivek Kumar, who makes a tandoori version of fish kebabs, inspired these salmon kebabs. I love delicately grilled or baked fish morsels and decided to see if I could do more with the spicing. This recipe emerged. The spices in this recipe are designed to highlight and accentuate the saffron which leaves a delicate orange color against the natural pink of the rich-tasting salmon. Since I do not use additional cream, it is important to use whole milk Greek yogurt in this recipe.
Prep Time: 10 minutes plus 2 hours for marinating | Cook Time: 15 minutes | Serves: 4 to 6
½ cup whole milk Greek yogurt
½ cup blanched almonds or cashew nuts
1-inch piece fresh peeled ginger
2 green chilies
1 teaspoon saffron strands
¾ teaspoon salt or to taste
2 or 3 mace blades
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
1½ pounds salmon fillets, cut into 1½-inch pieces
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill to garnish (optional)
- Place the yogurt, almonds or cashews, ginger, green chilies, saffron, salt, mace blades, and nutmeg in a blender and grind until smooth. You will get a pretty saffron-colored thick sauce.
- Place the salmon in a mixing bowl and gently toss with the yogurt mixture. Marinate for about 2 hours in the refrigerator.
- Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. Grease a baking dish with 1 tablespoon of oil.
- Place the salmon pieces with the marinade on the baking dish about 1 inch apart to allow room to pick the cooked pieces up neatly (skewers are optional). Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil.
- Bake the salmon for about 10 minutes, then broil for 2 to 3 minutes to gently brown the top (the salmon should have a few golden brown specs, but it is important not to dry it out).
- Serve immediately garnished with dill.
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.
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.