New Cookbook: Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors Hippocrene Books (2014)

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Indian cooking meets sustainable living. Cookbook author Rinku Bhattacharya introduces 150+ simple, seasonal recipes designed to reduce your family’s food footprint and explore the joys of farmers’ markets and home gardens.

'Spices & Seasons awakened my sleepy palate the moment I opened it! What gorgeous, beguiling recipes and such wise words about so much, especially. I am off to my kitchen, book in tow and with great anticipation of many wonderful meals.' - Deborah Madison

Taking a real-life approach to cooking seasonally and locally, Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors shows families that even a small degree of consciousness goes a long way towards a healthier and greener lifestyle.

Gourmand Award-winning author and “Cooking in Westchester” blogger Rinku Bhattacharya offers time-strapped home cooks a realistic way to cook healthfully and sustainably. She presents family-friendly recipes that marry the spices of India with the four seasons of an American backyard.

Rinku, a mother of two, strives to make sure her children aren’t short-changed on healthy and nutritious eating because of their busy schedules. She says that for her, Indian cooking is not about spending hours in the kitchen, but rather, it’s about “flavors, freshness, and love”.

Rinku makes mealtime a family affair because she believes that in order to teach children to make healthy eating choices and be eco-conscious, it is essential to include them in sourcing and cooking their food.

Featuring more than 150 recipes, many of which are gluten-free, vegan or vegetarian, the cookbook includes everything from small bites, soups, seafood, meat and poultry, and vegetables, to condiments and chutneys, breads and crepes, and sweets. With a full-color photo for each recipe, Spices & Seasons also includes helpful sections on essential herbs and spices, ingredients and utensils, as well as tips for making your kitchen eco-friendly and reducing your food footprint.

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, seasonal and most importantly, delicious.

Sample recipes include:

  • Roasted Red Pepper Chutney
  • Creamy Coconut Egg Curry
  • Crisped Okra with Dry Spice Rub
  • Smoky Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Puree
  • Red Harvest Masala Cornish Hens
  • Zucchini, Lemon Thyme and Onion Flatbreads (“Parathas”)
  • Seared Scallops in a Blueberry Ginger Sauce
  • Comforting Slow-Cooked Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Ginger
  • Cardamom-Scented Beet Halwa
  • Fresh Ginger Apple Chai Cake

Who wrote it?

Rinku Bhattacharya ( 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, Cooking in Westchester, and in her Journal News column “Spices and Seasons.” A financial strategist by profession, she has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past nine years. 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 has written for the Poughkeepsie Journal, the Journal News, and several online sites, and is a frequent guest on Connecticut Style Television.

Story Ideas:

  • Sustainability in the Kitchen—no trash can needed
  • Sourcing Your Food Locally: tips for starting a backyard garden and navigating farmers markets
  • Health Benefits of Indian Spices and Herbs, from anti-inflammatory turmeric to mineral-rich mint
  • Make Mealtime a Family Affair: Tips for getting your children involved in sourcing and cooking their food
  • What Should Be in Your Spices and Herbs Starter Kit
  • Stretching Your Garden Through Four Seasons: Freezing and canning seasonal vegetables
  • Adding Heat with Indian Ingredients—from chiles to peppercorns
  • Tools of the Trade: short cuts and tips for using kitchen utensils
  • Allergy-friendly foods: gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian recipes
  • What’s Ripe Now: recipes to suit the season

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