Everyone falls into a dinnertime rut. Go-to chicken or pasta dishes become old hat, but an easy way to shake things up in the kitchen is to cook outside of your comfort zone. Allow other cuisines to enter the rotation.
Rinku Bhattacharya, a finance professional, mother, wife, blogger and cookbook author, can help make that happen.
Her new book, “Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors” (Hippocrene Books, $35) is named for her feature on lohud.com’s Small Bites blog, which chronicles her culinary quest for practical and seasonal recipes that can be made with fresh ingredients far from the Bay of Bengal.
“The most exciting part of this was working with local markets,” says Bhattacharya. “Fresher is always better.”
Inspired by the stock at Westchester’s farmers’ markets and her home garden in Valhalla where she grows curry, sage, greens, berries, cherries, tomatoes, okra and more, her recipes are blooming with traditional Indian flavors, but with a touch of the Hudson Valley in each dish.
Bhattacharya’s mealtime mentality is approachable, sustainable, and designed to satisfy the various mouths she has to feed, which includes a child with food allergies and a vegetarian husband. Cooking and blogging are only a portion of her workload, so she’s no stranger to the hurdles most time-strapped home chefs find themselves up against during a busy week.
There are 152 recipes in “Spices & Seasons,” each with a photo taken by Bhattacharya herself. Inside you’ll find tons of party pleasers like crispy fried kale and potato patties or warm red cabbage slaw with pecans, as well as some break-the-mold dinner options like a slow-roasted chicken that’s rubbed with cilantro, parsley, chilies, ginger, cumin and lime, and basted with ghee.
“It’s not Americanized, but I don’t get hung up on authentic,” Bhattacharya says. “It’s just real life.”