Masala & Meatballs: Incredible Indian Dishes with an American Twist

Masala & Meatballs: Incredible Indian Dishes with an American Twist

by Asha Shivakumar


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Masala & Meatballs: Incredible Indian Dishes with an American Twist by Asha Shivakumar

Where Indian Flavors & The American Palate Meet

Indian cuisine is full of intense and exciting flavors that you’ll love, but can scare o the home cook...until now. Asha Shivakumar, who grew up in India before moving to the states, breaks that barrier with bold but approachable dishes that tow a delicious line between Indian and American food.

These aren’t fusion recipes—these are beloved classics eaten all over India selected specifically for people used to American food. Think Masala Chicken Wings, Chickpea-Roasted Garlic Fries, Potato and Chickpea Burger, White Chicken Curry Pot Pie and so much more.

Masala & Meatballs is packed with surprising recipes that are bursting with flavor, masterful photography and heartfelt stories of growing up in India and then raising a family in the United States. With each turn of the page you’ll expand your palate, boost your cooking bravado and experience a whole new thrilling world of flavors.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781624143885
Publisher: Page Street Publishing
Publication date: 01/09/2018
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 460,324
Product dimensions: 8.06(w) x 8.88(h) x 0.56(d)

About the Author

Asha Shivakumar is the creator of the blog Food Fashion Party. The Huffington Post named her one of their “Top 10 Indian Bloggers” and her work has been featured in Food & Wine. She lives in San Francisco, California.

Read an Excerpt



It's still dark outside. I walk down the stairs to the lull of the morning hours. I grab a handful of granola and sip a bit of coffee before I hear, "What's for breakfast?"

To take you down memory lane ... there ... that's me lifting the sheets away, crunching my eyelids looking for Mum and Dad, asking that same question. As usual, I can hear the sound of the pressure cooker, the smell of the cooking dal, the hoots of the boiling milk and the flow of running water. Mum clearly was busy preparing lunch and getting ready to head out to work. She would ask me, "What do you want for breakfast?" Almost always, I would opt for something sweet, something with ghee, and she would whip up a pancake before I could even spell "pancake." She really is something.

I get up early now. Breakfast is quick, but I always try to make it special. I have to say, though, that breakfasts on weekday mornings are usually smoothies or muffins that I made the previous night, or the waffles that I froze a while back. But, come the weekend, a sense of comfort oozes from every bone in my body. I turn on my '80s classics, mix a batch of my mom's pancake recipe and brew coffee. With a generous dollop of melted ghee on the first pancake and my trusty cup of coffee, I stand by the kitchen window, savoring every bite with hope for a beautiful weekend.

So, come along! Here, you'll find the fanciest weekend breakfasts, which will hit the spot every time. Have a breakfast or brunch party. Make tomato grits with fried eggs, or a chive omelet with a peppery bread roll. If you have a craving for carbs, have some yogurt topped with granola, and turn the volume up with saffron and cardamom. When you want to soak in the peace and silence of the morning hours, wake up early, make a beautiful chocolate challah, have some coffee and let the aroma of the baking bread surround you.

Whether you are cooking and baking for company, for the two of you or the sweetest clan, this will make your day very special. As someone said, "Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea."


Although I was given many options for breakfast during my school and college days, my first choice would be these crêpes. I could eat a huge stack of these. My favorite part was always the dark amber crust that was created by the caramelization of the bigger pieces of jaggery. The coconut and the generous drizzle of ghee on top were just divine.

As I sipped my warm glass of sugary milk (which my little one now calls "Indian milk"), I watched mom dress in a crisp, Bengal cotton sari, ready to leave for work. As I straightened her pleats for her, she reminded me not to forget my lunch box. I smiled as I sent her off to work before I got ready for school.

This crêpe requires very few ingredients, with fresh ghee being the key. Even if you don't cook the crêpe in ghee, just drizzling on a teaspoon when serving will give it a special touch. These are best eaten warm and can be filled with cream and fruits to make them fancier.


2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour (maida)
In a mixing bowl, combine the flours, jaggery, cashews, coconut and salt. Add ½ cup (120 ml) water at a time and whisk to blend well. The batter should be thin like a crêpe batter. If the batter is too thick, you will not achieve a crispy crêpe.

Heat ½ teaspoon oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat, pour a large ladleful of batter into the pan and swirl the pan around to make a thin crêpe. Cook until the sides are brown and crispy, about 1 minute. These are best served hot with a teaspoon of clarified butter melted on top.


I once (maybe twice) took a quiz to see what spice I would be, secretly hoping I was saffron. The thought of saffron gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

Bread making is not all that hard, though I didn't bake bread for the first thirty years of my life. At the time, I only knew good bread and great bread. Living in the sourdough capital, San Francisco, I was inspired to learn more about the art of kneading, the perfect crust, the ideal air pockets. It felt overwhelming to achieve, but once I did, I wondered whether I was a baker's daughter in my last birth.

This is a soft bread that can be used to make wonderful French toast, desserts like fried bread with sweetened milk cream or just toasted with a mug of coffee. Bread dough can be quite fussy with weather. When it's hot and humid, you probably don't require that much water, but in winter you may need a little bit more. Always let the dough rise in a warm place, where it is undisturbed. Fresh yeast is also key to good bread, so if your yeast has been sitting on the shelf for too long, get a new bottle or packet.


½ cup (120 ml) water, warmed to 110°F (43°C), divided

½ cup (112 g) unsalted sweet butter, at room temperature
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl if mixing by hand), combine ¼ cup (60 ml) water, yeast and 2 teaspoons (8 g) granulated sugar and let it bubble up. The yeast has to be activated for at least 10 minutes. If it does not bubble, discard and use new yeast.

In a saucepan, bring the milk and remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) water to a slow simmer over medium-low heat. Add the butter, remaining ½ cup (100 g) sugar, nutmeg, lemon zest and saffron and let it melt.

After the yeast has bubbled, add the butter-milk-saffron mixture, salt and 4 cups (480 g) flour. Using the dough hook on your stand mixer, start on low speed and let the dough mix and come together. If it is too sticky, add ½ cup (60 g) flour.

The dough should not get too dry. Once the dough comes together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, 8 to 10 minutes, or let the machine run on low speed for about 4 minutes.

Lightly oil a mixing bowl, transfer the dough gently to the bowl and brush the top with oil. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until it's doubled in volume.

Prepare 2 small 8 × 4 × 2½-inch (20 × 10 × 6.4-cm) bread loaf tins or 1 large 9 × 5 × 2½-inch (23 × 12.7 × 6.4-cm) tin. Lightly oil and dust the tins with flour and set aside.

Slightly deflate the dough and divide it in half. You can make 3 long strips and braid one part of the dough or make 3 long equal strips and roll them into ropes. Line them beside each other. Take the left rope and bring it next to the middle one, and bring the right rope next to the middle rope. Keep repeating it until you have finished braiding and set them in the pans. Brush them with some butter, cover loosely with a thin towel and let them rise until they are 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) above the pan, 40 to 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4).

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes for 2 small pans or about 60 minutes for 1 large pan. If you tap on the bottom and it sounds hollow, then it's done. Remove to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing.

To make the butter, combine the butter, confectioners' sugar and cardamom in a small bowl. Serve with the bread.


To me, this breakfast can be a dessert, too. It's got everything: the warm spices, the sweetened yogurt and the crunchy granola. You'd be surprised at how simple, and addictive, this can be. Be sure to make an extra sheet pan, just in case. What you add to it is totally up to you. I absolutely love the cranberries, coconut oil and maple syrup combo. For those who live for clusters, you can add a whipped egg white, and not stir it too much while it's baking. Use a lighter-colored baking sheet and line it with parchment paper so the granola doesn't burn.


2 cups (160 g) old-fashioned oats
Preheat the oven to 275°F (140°C, or gas mark 1) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the oats, almonds, sesame seeds and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the maple syrup and coconut oil. Microwave for 20 seconds, or melt in a pot over low heat, until warmed. Stir until the coconut oil melts. Pour the mixture over the oats; stir to coat well. Spread a thin layer on the baking sheet and bake for approximately 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes. In the last 15 minutes of baking, add the cardamom and stir to combine.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Add the nuts, coconut and dried fruit, if desired, and stir to combine.

To make the yogurt, crush the saffron, then mix it into the milk. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then swirl it into the yogurt. Top with granola and a drizzle of maple syrup, if desired.


A few years ago, on our yearly travel, we decided to visit our dream place, Paris. Our go-to breakfast in Paris was chocolate bread, croissants and thick, creamy hot chocolate. My little baby boy survived with just those three things during those ten beautiful and inspiring days.

One of the many things I missed when I got back was the chocolate bread. I could almost smell and taste it. I tried recreating it, but I could not get the texture or the taste right. Just when I wanted to try my hand for the eighth time, I thought to myself, why try to recreate it? It feels more special left to the imagination, accompanied by nostalgic feelings and memories.

I did come up with my favorite combo-cardamom, coffee and cocoa-during those trials, and it is one of the most loved breads in my home. For coffee addicts, this is a pleasure. A goodquality cocoa powder is a must. As this loaf bakes, get ready to sit by your kitchen, close your eyes and soak in the aroma. It is truly delicious.



2¼ tsp (9 g) active dry yeast or instant yeast

1 cup (135 g) chopped walnuts

1 egg beaten with 2 tbsp (30 ml) water

To make the bread, in a bowl, dissolve the yeast and granulated sugar in 1/3 cup (80 ml) of the warm water and let it bubble up for 5 minutes. This means your yeast is ready to use. If it does not bubble, discard and use new yeast.

In the meantime, in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl if mixing by hand) using a dough hook, combine the butter, eggs, salt and bread flour. Slowly add in the yeast mixture and let the machine run on medium speed for 3 minutes. Slowly add about ½ cup (120 ml) of the water to form a dough, adding more water just until you see it come together to form a ball. You might not need all of the water. When all the dough comes together and you see everything is incorporated, turn the machine down to low and let it run for another 6 to 8 minutes. (Alternatively, turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand for about 10 minutes.) If the dough seems very sticky, add flour 1 teaspoon at a time until it feels tacky, but no longer sticky. The dough is finished when it is soft and smooth and holds a ball shape.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and let it rise, covered, until doubled in size, or about 45 minutes.

To make the stuffing, combine the stuffing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside. Gently divide the dough into 6 portions. Roll each portion into long rectangle shape, about 13 inches long × 3 inches wide (33 × 7.5 cm). If the dough shrinks as you try to roll them, let them rest for 5 minutes to relax the gluten and then try again. Spread about 2 tablespoons (30 g) of the walnut mixture down the middle of the rectangles. Pinch the sides closed and roll into logs. Repeat for all the dough. Gather the ends of 3 ropes and pinch the top. Take the rope on the left and bring it to the middle, then take the rope on the right and bring it to the middle. Repeat until the ropes are braided and then pinch them together at the bottom. Repeat for the remaining 3 ropes. Transfer the loaves to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover lightly with a thin towel and let them rise for another 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6).

When ready to bake, reduce the temperature to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5). Brush the egg wash over the loaves and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Transfer to a cooling rack. Slice the bread when it is completely cool.


This is inspired by a popular savory cake called handvo from the region of Gujarat. I was just recently introduced to this cuisine, and I am in love. This is usually eaten as a snack, and I enjoy it during breakfast. I almost always make them in muffin pans to send them off in my boys' lunch boxes with some dip. It's full of vegetables, and tastes as good hot as at room temperature.


1 cup (120 g) coarse semolina flour
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5). Grease a 9-inch (23-cm) springform cake pan, mini tart pans or muffin tins. Alternatively, you can steam this.

In a sauté pan, fry the semolina flour over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until it's a pale golden color. Do not brown it too much. Add the chickpea flour and toast it for 2 minutes, until you smell a nutty aroma. Turn off the heat and transfer the flours to a mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, olive oil, ½ tablespoon (4 g) of the baking powder, 1½ teaspoons (9 g) of the salt and lemon juice. Mix well and let it sit while you get the vegetables ready.

Peel the carrot and onion and dice them finely. Dice the bell pepper (or use a food processor). Combine the toasted flours and remaining ½ tablespoon (4 g) baking powder in a large bowl. Add the yogurt mixture and blend well.

Warm the ghee in a pan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, asafetida, grated ginger and finely chopped chiles. Sauté for a few minutes, then add the chopped vegetables, peas, cabbage, cilantro and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and cook just for a couple of minutes; the vegetables should still be crunchy. Turn off the heat and let it cool completely.

Once the veggies are completely cooled, add them to the semolina mixture and blend everything well. The batter should be thick. Check for salt. Add the warm water to the batter and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s). Sprinkle generously with the sesame seeds. Bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 300°F (150°C, or gas mark 2) and bake for 45 to 60 minutes longer for a large cake or 20 to 25 minutes longer for mini tarts or muffins. Alternatively, you can pour some water into a deep wok, place a stand inside, pour the batter into a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan, cover and steam for 20 to 25 minutes.


Excerpted from "Masala & Meatballs"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Asha Shivakumar.
Excerpted by permission of Page Street Publishing Co..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Mum's Jaggery Crêpes with Cashews and Coconut,
Saffron Milk Bread,
Coconut Cardamom Granola with Saffron-Infused Yogurt,
Coffee-Chocolate Walnut Challah,
Vegetable Savory Cake,
Cooked Panzanella Salad (Bread Upma),
Instant No Yeast Naan,
Apple-Pistachio Waffled French Toast,
Peppery Cumin Buns,
Fried Banana Bread (Aka Mangalore Buns),
Mushroom and Chive Omelet,
Spiced Popcorn Three Ways,
Hush Puppies (Rice Bondas) with Pepper and Cumin,
Cracker Chaat,
Spiced Balsamic Cocktail Nuts,
Onion Rings with Wasabi Aioli,
Chickpea-Roasted Garlic Fries,
Corn-Onion-Cashew Fritters,
Grilled Corn on the Cob with Lime Chili Sauce,
Chutney Sandwiches with Whipped Goat Cheese Spread,
Spring Rolls with Spiced Potatoes and Leeks,
Bruschetta with Spiced Eggplant (Eggplant Bhurtha),
Curried Peanut Dip with Naan Chips,
Spinach Fritters (Pakoras),
Minced Lamb Croquettes Stuffed with Egg,
Hasselback Egg with Chili and Fennel Drizzle,
Masala Chicken Wings,
Spiced Chickpea Pancake (Socca),
Three Bean Salad with Boiled Peanuts,
Grilled Bok Choy and Sriracha Chickpeas with Buttermilk Dressing,
Tomato-Dal Soup,
Chickpea Cauliflower Stew with Apple and Onion Salad,
Potato and Chickpea Burger with Apple Cilantro Chutney,
Sweet Potato and Paneer Galette,
Pizza Pockets with Spiced Asparagus,
Spiced Lentils with Scalloped Sweet Potato and Yam,
Stuffed Tomatoes with Tofu Scramble and Edamame,
Pita Wraps with Chaat Masala?Spiced Kidney Beans and Sweet Potato and Jicama-Mango Salad,
Coconut Rice with Peas,
Toasted Fruit and Nut Wild Rice,
Lentil-Rice Risotto with Rainbow Chard and Crispy Carrots,
Eggs Cooked in Tomato and Tamarind Sauce,
White Chicken Curry Pot Pie,
Tamarind Skillet Chicken,
Chicken and Waffles,
Chicken Meatballs Sautéed with Garlic and Herbs,
Chicken Meatballs and Noodles in Spicy Plum Barbecue Sauce,
Tomato-Garlic Chicken Naan Pizza,
Peppery Chicken Liver Stir-Fry,
Coriander-Spiced Pulled Chicken Wraps,
Chicken Soup with Vegetable-Stuffed Wontons,
Chicken Curry Soup with Rice Crackers,
Eggplant Rollatini Stuffed with Minced Garlicky Fish,
Tandoori-Spiced Fish and Yuca Garlic Chips,
Fish Tacos,
Harissa Roast Chicken with Rice and Eggs,
Nut-Crusted Halibut with Green Onion Sauce,
Curried Shrimp Skewers with Pineapple,
Curried Crab Corn Chowder,
Po' Boy with Fried Shrimp,
Jam Buns,
Rice Pudding with Roasted Blueberries and Pistachios,
Apple-Cardamom Funnel Cake,
Fennel-Spiced Cashew Cookies,
Coconut-Jaggery Bread Pudding,
Sesame Brittle with Rose Water,
No-Bake Pumpkin Halwa Pie,
Bottle Gourd Halwa Hand Pies,
Banana Beignets,
Coconut, Dried Fruit and Nut Tart,
Honey Cake,
Orange Chiffon Cake with Pistachio-Cardamom Swirls,
Sesame Mini Cakes with Chai Glaze,
No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream with Cashews and Chocolate-Chili Drizzle,
Fruity Lassi Ice Pops,
Apple Cilantro Chutney,
Almond Curry Sauce,
Yogurt Sauce,
Mixed Fruit Cardamom Jam,
Spicy Plum Barbecue Sauce,
Onion Tomato Chutney,
Coconut Chutney,
Lychee Mint Lemonade,
Khus Khus Coconut Milk Cooler,
Pineapple Ginger Margarita,
Carrot Halwa and Watermelon Colada,
Other Indian Ingredients,

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