“Food is considered sacred in India and is treated with reverence because it nourishes the body and the soul.”
— May Abraham Fridel
May Abraham Fridel’s beautiful tome, Indian Cuisine Diabetes Cookbook: Savory Spices and Bold Flavors from South Asia, is far more than just a cookbook. In addition to delicious, healthful, and nourishing recipes, Fridel has written a detailed narrative of the history of Indian cuisine and the ingredients most frequently used in it. Readers are taken on the journey of Fridel’s own upbringing and learn how the foods she grew up eating, and later preparing, can become part of any home cook’s repertoire.
Early in the book, readers are given a shopping list of essential spices and other ingredients required for a well-stocked pantry for home cooks who want to prepare wholesome Indian delicacies from breakfast through evening dessert. A “Learn the Basics” section provides simple recipes for staples of Indian cuisine, each with easy-to-follow instructions.
Some home cooks may feel a little daunted by Indian cuisine and the idea of cooking it themselves, believing that recipes call for dozens of ingredients and require complicated and numerous steps. This would be a reasonable assumption considering the depth of flavor typically found in Indian cuisine. However, this cookbook includes basic recipes for those just starting to cook Indian food at home. Most require no more than six steps, using a variety of common cooking methods such as steaming, grilling, and pressure cooking.
One of the guiding principles throughout the book is that home cooks are encouraged to move away from using processed and packaged foods and instead include a wide variety of whole grains, legumes, spices, seeds, in-season vegetables and fruits, and balanced protein and carbohydrates. Individuals following a low-carbohydrate eating plan may find some of the recipes too carbohydrate-heavy; however, the carbohydrate content can be decreased by reducing the rice and breads served as side dishes and increasing the vegetable contents of the recipes.
New family favorites are likely to include the Spiced Turkey Meatballs (which is recommended to be served with a pilaf but would also be delicious alongside a salad and steamed vegetables) and the easy Chicken Curry in a Hurry. Both can be prepared quickly enough to be an easy and delicious weekday meal.
All of the recipes have been adapted to meet American Diabetes Association guidelines and include nutrition information to assist readers with diabetes in counting carbohydrate and other macronutrients.
Fridel’s Indian Cuisine Diabetes Cookbook is a wonderful addition to any cookbook shelf and a great way for home cooks to add variety and provide healthy and nutritious—and perhaps slightly adventurous—meals that will please their whole family.
Duality of Interest
No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.