A Dallas Family’s Recipes Are Making Indian Cuisine More Accessible for Home Cooks

It’s Friday nighttime, and I’m standing over a warm stove watching entire coriander and green cardamom seeds shimmer in hot ghee, attempting not to burn whatever. I have been warned now not to burn the seeds that it’s so clean to do, and so I watch like a hawk as unexpected aromas fill my kitchen. On the kitchen island, Priya Krishna’s new cookbook Indian-ish is open to a food-splattered web page attempting to educate me on making spinach and feta cooked like a saag paneer Western riff on a loved Indian takeout dish of paneer cubes in a brilliant spinach gravy. My boyfriend wanders through the kitchen several times, searching inquisitively over my shoulder. He’s seen me prepare dinner, and much stuff in this kitchen is most correct, some no longer, but he’s no longer visible to the small mountain of complete spices and seeds spilling out onto the counter.

I grew up in a conventional American home where casseroles, burgers, and mac and cheese reigned perfectly. If our circle of relatives had any meal culture, it had more to do with comfort than anything else. For many American kids of the ’90s who grew up with two operating parents and a country ever reliant on premade processed foods, the dishes we grew to crave are frequently tacky, starchy, salty, and easy.

It’s the form of cooking I had to unlearn in my 20s and 30s as I found out that I had to eat higher and cook more deliberately, which is how I observed my status over the range, lightly stirring spinach gravy packed with salty white cheese cubes. This is my first time cooking an Indian dish. I scoured Patel Brothers in Irving for the ingredients that afternoon, leaving with grocery luggage full of spices and seeds and condiments like cilantro chutney — and I became positive I’d screw it up.

I didn’t. That night, my associate and I huddled over the kitchen island, inhaling two servings of saag feta. There have been no leftovers. Priya Krishna, a Dallas-raised creator who lives in New York City, had a long way distinct from my own upbringing. Her mother, Ritu Krishna, a software company govt, raised her daughters ingesting home-cooked food that straddles the road between famous American staples and the house-cooked meals Ritu grew up eating in India.

Now, the recipes are immortalized in a new cookbook: Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family. It aims to train American chefs that Indian delicacies shouldn’t be relegated to the Indian restaurants and takeout spots we adore. We can and should cook dinner at home, not only to feed ourselves but also to study how other humans feed their families.

“We worked sincerely, but in fact, it was hard to make certain that these recipes were attainable for humans,” Priya says. Using myself as an example, it’s safe to mention that there. It’s been stated countless times before this; however, accept this as true with me: If I can cook these dishes for dinner, anyone can. And anyone has to.

Julia Child meets Madhur Jaffrey.

Ritu Krishna was 20 when she moved to the United States from India with her family. She had studied psychology in India; her husband became a pc programmer. The Krishnas first moved to New England, where they lived for about 12 years. “When I first relocated to Massachusetts, Indian food became simply nowhere to be observed,” Ritu says. “We needed to power ways, a ways away, to get some basic spices.”

Growing up in India, Krishna didn’t do much research on how to cook dinner. “I didn’t cook dinner a whole lot because my mom became too afraid that I could burn my hand or disfigure myself,” she says with amusement. She had found a way to make roti but not much else. “I had never put a meal together,” Ritu says.

But she introduced some Indian cookbooks to the U.S., like Madhur Jaffrey’s Taste of India, and once she got here, she started looking at cooking shows like Julia Child’s. “I just made something I ought to, which was some aggregate of getting to know from Julia Child and my cookbooks,” Ritu says.

By the time the Krishnas moved to Dallas within the early ’90s, immigrants had delivered many local cuisines to DFW, and locating substances not always determined in American grocery shops had become easier. “There isn’t anything you cannot get,” Ritu says. “There’s no cause to visit India to get something. And it’s proper, and it’s fresh, and it’s abundant, and there are masses of options.”

As Priya grew up in Dallas, Ritu cooked food at home weekly and on Sundays. She fed her family Indian-American hybrid dishes like roti pizza and dahi toast, a pseudo-grilled cheese made with spiced yogurt rather than stretchy American cheese.


I love cooking and eating food. I always look for new recipes, new foods, and new restaurants. I just love food! My goal is to post interesting and delicious food and share recipes with the world. I have a passion for all types of food; especially Asian cuisine.