‘Masala & Meatballs’ – Indian dishes with an American twist

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Cover of the book “Masala & Meatballs” by Asha Shivakumar (Courtesy: amazon.com)

NEW YORK – Food has always been a funny topic for Indian Americans, especially those who were born here in the United States.

Some people love their mother’s cooking and think they will never be able to live without it while others don’t even like the sight of Indian food, or at least their staple food.

There have been many blogs and websites out there like “As Indian As Apple Pie” by Anupy Singla who has also written a few recipe books as well on mixing together Indian and American flavors, but the latest book released on American cooking with Indian Style is “Masala & Meatballs: Incredible Indian Dishes with an American Twist” by Asha Shivakumar.

How to make Instant No Yeast Naan

Born and brought up in South India, when Shivakumar came to the United States after getting married, she missed her mother and grandmother’s cooking.

“My mum, whom I consider a superwoman, could whip up meals for 50 people, just like my amma, in a few hours without breaking a sweat. She taught me how to cook, from the most basic of dishes to the fanciest of meals. Moving to America after my marriage, miles away from the comfort of my mum’s kitchen in India, I had to learn to cook a decent, edible meal,” Shivakumar writes in her book and when her first child was born, she had to try different combinations of food “for his fussy palate” and decided to share those combinations on her blog called “Food Fashion Party.”

Cracker Chaat

Now she has come out with her first cook book “where Indian flavors and the American palate meet” and each recipe is tied to her own experiences, explaining the significance of each dish from breakfast to dessert.

While some dishes look rather intriguing like ‘Cracker Chaat,’ ‘Bruschetta with Spiced Eggplant or Eggplant Bhurtha,’ and ‘Potato and Chickpea Burger with Apple Cilantro Chutney’ others sound not worthy of even touching, such as ‘Fried Banana Bread’ and ‘Chickpea-roasted Garlic Fries.’

Potato and Chickpea Burger with Apple Cilantro Chutney

There were three dishes in particular which stood out and could be useful in any dish: the ‘Fruity Lassi Ice Pops’ which gives a healthy twist to a summertime dessert as well as a classic drink loved by many Indian Americans, ‘Instant No Yeast Naan’ for which Shivakumar provides a step-by-step, illustrative process of making the bread most commonly used with Punjabi dishes that every Indian American kid likes and my favorite ‘Apple Cilantro Chutney’ which combines two of my favorite condiments together.

I don’t know about you, but looks like I’m going to try out some of these recipes when I go home tonight because Shivakumar has made cooking ‘Indian dishes with an American twist’ simple for me.

Fruity Lassi Ice Pops
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