You may have noticed over the past few months that I have not been posting new recipes with the same frequency as last year. This is because I have been working hard to finish writing my second cookbook. I used the extra time to focus on writing, reviewing and taste testing my selected recipes to make sure everything was just right before I finished the book. It was hard to organize all of the recipes to determine the approach so I arranged and rearranged the book several times before settling on an approach and outline. With the structure of the book, we, meaning my husband and I, had more work to do.

We decided on Indian fusion cuisine that brought together the special flavors and techniques of Indian and Western cooking into an exciting new cuisine. Traditional Western recipes fused with Indian spices and methods, and Indian recipes adopted Western techniques and ingredients. This new approach to cooking resulted in delicious, unique taste combinations.

When I started this cookbook project a few years ago, I wanted to pair wines with my recipes and had started documenting my favorite parings. We eventually nixed this since wine parings are vintage or year specific and seem to become outdated after a while. We had attended many whisky tasting events in the U.S. and the U.K., and observed that pairing whisky with food was becoming very popular and was a lot of fun. We attended whisky tasting dinners where the menus were created around the list of whiskies to be served. These were wonderfully enlightening events and a lot of fun.

Last summer I wrote a series of posts that discussed the whiskies of Scotland and India. I discussed the flavor profiles and paired several whiskies by region with some of my recipes. Since then my husband and I have had a lot of ‘work’ to do to pair all of the entrees that I was planning on including in my book with one or more whiskies. It as a challenge but we really enjoyed doing it.

Inspired, my new Indian inspired fusion cookboo

Inspired, my new Indian inspired fusion cookboo

With the help of my creative daughter and her degree in advertising, we finally named the book Indspired to incorporate the fusion of Indian and Western cuisines with their liquid gold pairings, into a new world of globally inspired food.

I submitted the manuscript to the publisher a while ago and it is just about finished! Indspired should be released some time this summer. Check back often for updates!

The book trailer for Kachi’s Kitchen is finally finished and has been posted to YouTube.com. After the script was written (the easy part), we started to work on the video.  We had at least a dozen attempts at trying to tape me saying the introduction.  A few clips are being saved for a blooper video sometime in the distant future. When we taped the actual process of making vegetable pulav, I learned that being left handed made filming awkward. Ninety percent of the video of preparing an entire meal ended up on the “cutting room floor” because no one wants to watch someone stir a pot of vegetables while they cook. We interspersed photos of Kerala and Tamil Nadu with the cooking video to make it interesting.  My entire family had a great feast after the video with the pulav, chicken tikka, vegetable kurma and chapattis that I had prepared for the video.


We had a lot of fun making the trailer. Now that this one is posted, I will start working on a recipe video. Thank you to those who made the suggestion!

Click the play button to watch the video…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQxTYuBOM-Q

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On Tuesday we had a small family party for the release of Kachi’s Kitchen.  I invited Kachi and Balakrishnan over for dinner with my mother and the four of us on the pretext of trying menu with new recipes.  When she walked in the door, she saw posters with pictures of the book cover on the walls, coordinating aprons and coordinating balloons all over the room.  It took her a few minutes to realize that this was a party for her.  We toasted with champagne all around.

 

Kachi's Kitchen custom plates

One of the custom plates designed for Kachi’s Kitchen

The table was decorated with some of the marketing materials from the publisher and several copies of the book.  I served dinner from the kitchen rather than passing serving bowls and platters around the table so I could surprise everyone with my custom painted pottery.  Since my daughter was with me when I ordered this pottery, she helped me pull off the surprise.  My mother was the first person to notice.  She had to point to her plate and say “look, look!” so people would take notice of them.  Kachi was speechless; my husband was impressed.  My son didn’t care as he believes plates only exist to bring him more food.  Kachi became a bit teary with all of the attention.
 

After a small plate of Indian sweets, I sent all of our parents home with a copy of the book and an apron.  It was a fantastic evening.  I think everyone was a bit overwhelmed.  I think it was a successful launch.

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So much has happened in the last two weeks.  I thought that once Kachi’s Kitchen’s cover, contents and pricing were accepted and locked down, I wouldn’t see the first hardcopy book for several weeks.  This turned out to be false.


Kachi's Kitchen, Indian CookbookI attended my high school reunion a week ago and found the first hardcopy waiting for me when I returned.  I was so excited that, after checking it out, I ordered many copies of the book to have available locally.  I was even more surprised when four large boxes appeared at my front door on Thursday.


Now that I am beginning to adjust, my husband and I took a stack of them to National Imports, a store that specializes in Malayali groceries, in Carrollton, TX.  On Tuesday, my family will have a release party to celebrate the culmination of a two year process.  We will be celebrating in style with champagne and customized Kachi’s Kitchen’s plates and aprons!  (Please don’t tell Kachi.)

 

To purchase the cookbook via the publisher’s website, click here.


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All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.

I am thrilled to report that Kachi’s Kitchen is finally finished.  The galley and cover design have been approved so it can finally go to print!  I’m not sure when it will be available for purchase but I suspect later this month or early next month.  Authorhouse.com, Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com will be selling the book online.  I plan to sell it from my site as well.

 

Kachi's Kitchen, Indian Cookbook

 

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I received the cover and galley of Kachi’s Kitchen last week.  The publisher has done a nice job on it.  They were able to incorporate some pictures on the cover that illustrate traditional scenes in Kerala – Chinese fishing nets , called cheena vala, used along the shoreline to catch fish; fishing boats; coconut trees along the backwaters and a typical thali meal.  The colors that were selected tie into the colors of the pictures.  There are a few small changes I want made before I finalize it.  The book is moving forward!
 
 

Kachi's Kitchen, Indian Cookbook


 
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One challenge I noticed during the creation of Kachi’s Kitchen was the various spellings of the Malayalam and Tamil words when written in English. 

I searched many websites to make sure I was using the correct spelling.  After a while, I started tabulating the different spellings I found and decided to use the most popular ones.  I spent days researching this topic and gave up with the lack of definitive answer.  I decided to defer this issue until I finished the text of the book.  For example, curry leaves (which are used in most recipes) had three different spellings for Tamil:

Kari Veppilai

Kariveppilai

Karuveppilai


Malayalam was worse with six spellings:

Karivepala

Karivepila

Kariveppila

Kariveppilai

Kariyapela

Vepala


Malayalam and Tamil are Dravidian languages that were derived from Ancient Tamil.  To complicate matters, many of the words in Malayalam today came from Sanskrit.  These languages use different script, alphabet letters and sounds which do not correlate with English.  This means that spelling is dependent on one’s ear and knowledge of phonetics.  During the review process, I came to the realization that I should use the spellings that sounded most phonetically like the Malayalam or Tamil words. 


I asked my husband and my in-laws to say the words so I could hear the subtleties of the sounds.  We offered our unique spelling for the vegetables, herbs and spices that are used in the cookbook.  Frequently, I would use one spelling only to have it changed, and changed again, during the editing process.  At this point, my conclusion is to use the spelling that is comfortable for you.


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In my third blog entry on February 26th, I wrote that Kachi’s Kitchen was finally written.  Since that time, I have been talking with the publisher and making revisions.  I started with 150 photographs of many of the Indian recipes, my family, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.  I worked very hard to reduce the number but only succeeded to cut 10 of them. 

 

Now that I consider the manuscript complete, I have mixed emotions.  The most prevalent feeling is relief that is finally finished.  It has taken over 18 months of my life.  My house is a mess and my ‘to do’ list has exploded with tasks that have been deferred so I could focus on the book.  On the other hand, I’m hesitant to let it go.  There might be some grammatical mistakes that a reader might catch or some pictures that could be more elegantly framed or focused.

 


All in all, I am very excited to enter the production phase of this project.  I should get the galleys within a month and then Kachi’s Kitchen goes to the printer.  I can’t wait to see it!  I’ll keep you updated on its progress.

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All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.

I can’t believe it.  I finally finished writing and improving Kachi’s Kitchen, a book in which I have captured over 140 of my family’s favorite Indian recipes from my husband’s homeland – south India.  Some of the recipes have been handed down for generations and others my mother-in-law (Kachi) and her mother created.  They are some of the best from Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

This project started as an effort to preserve my children’s heritage since they are picky eaters and have not yet become interested in cooking.  As I started collecting Kachi’s recipes in a database, I began to think that I could do more with them than just printing them on my printer and binding them at the local copy store.  This collection would interest south Indians who want to try new recipes as well as everyone else who has an interest in discovering new tastes and preparations. 

After one final review, I will send it to the publisher and start that whole process…

 

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All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.