Author: Christina Arokiasamy

It was the aroma. The exotic scent of spices: rich, alluring, and almost magical. A scent that would sometimes overpower the freshness in the air and sometimes subtly mingle with it to create a tantalizing bouquet. A scent that would always bring me back to my childhood.”

Such is the introduction to The Spice Merchant’s Daughter: Recipes and Simple Spice Blends for the American Kitchen. This book is first and foremost a cookbook but the recipes and their star ingredients, the spices, are introduced through a foundation of anecdotes and traditional knowledge from Arokiasamy’s spice-infused childhood.  The book has a beautiful composure and instantly feels like an old friend that is happy to be in your kitchen and share your company.

There are recipes for the table, recipes for health, “saffron adds warmth to life, cinnamon prevents colds, and ginger relieves swelling…” and the overall effect is a book that is a recipe for sharing and enjoying.

Why I like it: True to the title, the recipes are geared for the American kitchen or the non-Indian kitchen. They are easy to follow, fun to modify, and the results are awesome. We made the Saffron Pilaf and it was like eating your way through a saffron, Indian-spice flavored cloud.  In addition to breaking the book down into the expected food categories, the most fun and interesting chapter (besides the intriguing introduction) is The Spice Pantry. There is a list and explanation of essential Indian spices and includes their health benefits.

Don’t take my word for it: Follow this link to read some reviews!