By Alison Stanton
When Sudesh Abrol was a child, her mom was ill multiple times with asthma. To ease her mother’s troubles, Abrol and her brothers took over cooking duties. There was one problem.
“After a couple of months, my mom could sit on the bed and gave me several tips on cooking lovingly and humbly but I had no interest in cooking,” Abrol said.
After her brothers left the house, all of that changed.
“I learned numerous new dishes and suddenly became much more interested in cooking,” she said.
A Chandler resident, Abrol recently compiled some of her most beloved recipes into a new cookbook, “Scrumptious Meals from India: Volume 2.”
The new cookbook, which is a follow up to volume one, features recipes for 10 yogurt dishes along with 13 meals that home cooks can prepare with lentils and beans.
Both cookbooks are available on Amazon, as is Abrol’s first book “Peaceful Mind, Skinny Body.”
“My new book also includes approximately 30 different kinds of tempting flat bread recipes with chapatti, pratha, puri, bathura, luchi and dosa,” she said.
Abrol, who used to co-own Shiva Restaurant with her husband in Fremont, California, also included recipes that were especially popular with their customers.
“I remember that cucumber, potato, peanut and eggplant raita were most liked by our American clients,” she said.
For people who want to try Indian food but feel like it might be difficult to cook, Abrol said her cookbooks are a great place to start.
“The recipes are written in simple language and the method of cooking is easy and explained in detail,” she said.
“It is a very easy-to-follow book. I believe if the meal is cooked at home with love and compassion, the food becomes healthy and heavenly and brings the family together.”
The ingredients are also readily available, Abrol said, with the spices, herbs, lentils, nuts and veggies found at local ethnic grocery stores.
Abrol, who also teaches cooking and other classes about healthy living at the Snedigar Recreation Center and Senior Center in Chandler, said her students range in age from 17 to 80, and are amazed to see how easy it is to prepare authentic Indian food.
“They love the delicious basmati rice pilaf, green fried rice, delicious ‘fat cutter’ lentil soup, chapati and stuffed pratha with spiced potatoes. They enjoy and ask for a second serving of simple potato curry.”
Abrol’s daughter, Chandler Realtor Shivani Dallas, said she and her sisters encouraged their mom to write a cookbook for years.
“She doesn’t realize her own talents,” Dallas said.
“We know so many great chefs at top-notch restaurants who would come over just to eat her cooking. We watched how they questioned her for hours in hopes on replicating what she cooked. Now I watch her teach others how to and I am amazed how natural this is for her.”
Abrol, whose next book “Clean Eating” will be published soon, said she is delighted to help novice and more experienced cooks.
“In the restaurants, they are so expensive and at home you can cook the same scrumptious meals many times for the same amount you spend elsewhere,” she said.
“Indian cooking is not difficult. It just takes a bit of practice. One needs to have love for the family and food. When you talk of love, love wins always.”
For more information on Abrol and her books, visit http://sudesh.info.