Entertaining Book from Komali Nunna, the "Indian Martha Stewart"

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We couldn't resist checking out a coffee-table cookbook called, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen because the author Komali Nunna bills herself as the "Indian Martha Stewart". (Nunna is a California-based cook born in Southern India).

The book is full of pictures, recipes and tips for entertaining Indian style and Nunna's central theme, Indian cuisine, is not just about eating; it's about entertaining. See the Martha connection? About 80 percent of the recipes are vegetarian and there are also some American holiday fusion dishes for Christmas and New Year's.

The production level of the book may not be as exacting as those offered by the Martha Stewart empire, but Nunna does offer menus for entertaining with different themes with an Indian flair such as "Snack and Chaat party", a "Moghul Banquet", or our personal favorite "Dinner by the Fire".

Temperatures in Hyderabad, India will be in the low 80's this week, but here in Phoenix we are in the upper 50's so it's the perfect time for us to try out this "Dinner by the Fire" menu. 

We tried three recipes: coconut chicken with peppers, okra fry, and peas pulao. The chicken was awesome and aromatic with cinammon, cloves, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, paprika, garam masala, and coconut milk -- we were licking our lips. 

Although Nunna lives in the US and the cookbook is targeted at an American audience, you will need to make yourself familiar with some more uncommon ingredients such as curry leaves (green leaves similar to bay leaf - not the mixed powders in a jar), Garam Masala, and Black Mustard seeds. One local Indian market, New India Bazaar, (2544 N. 7th St.) was very helpful making sense of the needed ingredients.

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