There’s something undeniably eye-catching about opening up a cookbook for the first time and feeling like the author has shared with you one of the most passionate parts of his or her life — including family roots, recipes and laughs about life. I’m talking about Aarti Sequeira‘s first cookbook, Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul. So many Food Network fans first met Aarti when she won Season 6 of Food Network Star. Others were introduced to her when she hosted her first show, Aarti Party.
One of the most-approachable Indian-American cookbooks available today, the book is broken down into typical cookbook sections (including breakfast, salads, soups and stews, and dessert). There is also a section on chutneys. “Chutneys are a wonderful place to start for both new cooks and new-to-the-Subcontinent cooks because they either require no cooking at all or employ familiar cooking techniques,” Aarti shares. What makes this book stand apart are the anecdotes about how her mother and grandmother cooked these dishes — how they made exotic-sounding dishes sound familiar and comforting for their family. Before you get cooking, read Aarti’s introduction to common Indian spices — there’s no such thing as an intimidation factor in this book. FN Dish strongly suggests you read through the introduction, then run (not walk) to recipes for Eggs Poached in Tomato Sauce, Lasagna Cupcakes, Lucia-Lucica Fried Rice, Pregnancy Potatoes, Indian Street Corn, and Homemade “Magic Shell” with Garam Masala and Sea Salt.
You can buy a copy of Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul here, or you can enter to win one for free from FN Dish. We’re giving five lucky, randomly selected readers each a copy of Aarti Paarti, and all you have to do to enter to win one is leave a comment below telling us your favorite recipe from Aarti (must include recipe URL). Need inspiration? Flip through her recipes here.