Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning author, poet and teacher whose work, including the novels The Mistress of Spices, Sister of My Heart, and Oleander Girl, has received national and international acclaim. She has been featured in a range of publications, including The New York Times and The Atlantic, and in 2015, she was chosen by the Economic Times as one of twenty Indian women of global influence. She lives in Houston with her husband and two sons.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s novel, Before We Visit the Goddess, (now on sale in paperback from our sister company, Simon & Schuster), is a tale of mothers and daughters spanning across Indian and American culture, from a sweetshop in the countryside of Bengal, India, to the streets of Houston, Texas. While reading this beautiful, multi-generational story, explore Indian culture in your own home with these three traditional Indian recipes, inspired by the sweets featured in the book!
Easy Mango Ice Cream
- 4 scoops vanilla ice cream (thawed until soft)
- 4 tsp cardamom powder
- 8 oz canned mango pulp
- 1 fresh mango (chopped small)
- Mix the ice cream, cardamom powder, and mango pulp in a bowl.
- Cover and freeze for an hour.
- Scoop into individual dessert bowls and top with chopped mangos.
- ½ lb panneer (indian cottage cheese—can be bought in an indian grocery store)
- ½ cup sugar (you can add slightly more if you have a sweet tooth)
- 2-3 tablespoons cocoa powder (the kind you use for hot cocoa mix)
Allow the paneer to come to room temperature. Mash it until smooth. In a nonstick pan, warm the paneer over low heat. When soft, add sugar and cocoa powder. Mix well until sugar has melted into the paneer (about five minutes). Take it off the stove. Cool the mix for 10 to 15 minutes. Make bit-sized balls with the mix. Refrigerate in a covered container and serve once it’s chilled. Sandesh can be stored in the refrigerator for a week.
- 1 cup lentil flour
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
- ¼ tsp each: red chili, coriander, and cumin powder
- 1 cup chopped spinach leaves (salt to taste)
- Mix the lentil flour and water to make a thick paste (similar to pancake batter).
- Add in all other ingredients.
- Mix well.
- In a pan, heat the canola oil.
- Drop the mix by spoonfuls into the hot oil.
- Turn over when one side is done.
- Remove when golden brown on both sides.
- Drain on paper towels and serve hot.