Have you ever ordered a bread basket and wondered how those fluffy breads made their way to your table?
Well, I’m a foodie (who isn’t?) and my next dig into great cultural cuisine led my nose and taste buds toward the sound of puckering spices and sweet, soft, saffron-coated srikhand—a book that takes the cake – ‘ROTI’ by fabulous friend, and cook-book author, Nandita Godbole.
Interviewed by Heritage Radio Network, Forbes, NBC Asia America and more… for her previous cook books, ‘Roti’, a soon-to-be published gem, releases on April 6, 2019. ‘Roti’ flips across forty classic Indian breads and an ensemble of sides that will carry you past the standard naans at restaurants and homes. From raitas, chutneys and quick pickles, to a selection of desserts, Nandita has paired the flavors of breads with the perfect accompaniment to leave a tangle of culinary explosions on your tongue. (And your heart craving for more!)
“Oh and don’t forget to make those amazing sides of chutneys and raitas that complement every type of bread in this book. Rotis-r-us!” – Foreword by Author, Raghavan Iyer.
“This marvelous book goes way beyond the familiar naan and includes delicate paratha, fermented dosa, fried bhatura, stuffed and flavored breads, and so many exquisite sounding recipes that I dare anyone to resist running straight to the kitchen after reading it.” – Foreword by Professor & History Foodwriter, Ken Albala, University of the Pacific.
The sheer delight in ‘Roti’ (meaning bread in Hindi) is the ease of creating Indian recipes in the warmth of your home. Like all busy moms Nandita juggles the work-life balance of being an active mom, wife, cook-book author and publisher and primed ‘Roti’ toward creativity and practicality. “If I am making a deliberate attempt at a dish, then its kheer patishapta—a new family favorite,” Nandita points to the recipe. “Typically, as most people do, I will cook something based on how much time I have to spare. If I am working through a busy week, adai is a good one because you can pull out a batter from the fridge, it is hearty and delicious, and no one ever complains when a warm adai hits their plate.”
The pages unfold with colors and foods that will simply eat at your heart. (Unless, like me, you want to eat the book itself!) Full-proof, step-by-step pictures guide you through the recipes and the book is a fabulous center-piece (on its own), a generous accompaniment to other cuisines!! The book is so enticing, I really did rush home (after I met Nandita at Panera and held ‘Roti’) and made roti, srikhand, etc for dinner. Ta da! My humble version!
We tested ‘Roti’ at the nearby Panera and the western breads heartily embraced ‘Roti’ with oven-warm cultural displays of affection!!
So what’s the story behind ‘Roti’? An indie-author and publisher, Nandita’s passion for cooking dates back to when she studied for her Masters’ degree. “Cooking became my stress-buster. You could find me in the kitchen making a snack in-between studying for my final exams!”
Nandita’s passion for food travels deep and she traces this back to her father, who played a major role in her high self-esteem when she presented him with new culinary delights. Deeper still? Nandita talks about the stories of the ingredients themselves. “I find Indian flavors can be both simple and complex. The cuisine has learned to manipulate individual spices to extract its best flavors.”
The turning point in Nandita’s life, the game-changer, is what turned passion to action. “The mass paranoia about people of color, right after 9/11” was the beginning of a journey. Nandita nurtured her passion for food into the art of acceptance for people who were willing to learn. “I wanted to share my love of a cuisine, dispel some of the fears surrounding people of color, and very quickly I realized that I had the ability to positively influence and change people’s perceptions about a cuisine.”
Though the self-publishing process has been long and arduous, ‘Roti’ is Nandita’s fourth—yes fourth! cookbook— and she loves every bit of the journey. “The methodical work involved in preparing a dish appeals to the part of my brain that appreciates order, and the cooking appeals to my creative side—where I enjoy the process of cooking itself.”
“All creative work is art,” Nandita says. “And good art takes time and care.” Writing a cook book isn’t just putting a stack of recipes together and hoping the foods will fly, according to her. “The stories of food traditions are deep and varied, like a multi-part novel,” she adds. “The words, the food, the people behind the stories are what matter.”
“I dare say this book will take a place of pride on the cook’s shelf next to classics by Julie Sahni and Madhur Jaffrey. That’s exactly where it will go in my library.” – Ken Albala
Want to order your copy of ‘Roti’? Go ahead and purchase a print book with cooking tools and indulge yourself in Nandita’s exclusive giveaway: a hand-made Bhandhani style napkin—from the heart of Rajasthan, India—to wrap your warm, fluffy rotis when you flip them off that griddle and into your roti box.