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From Cinnamon To Saffron: Demystifying Indian Cooking in the Western World

Right from the chicken curry served out of a food truck in a bustling New York city street, to the jhalmuri served at in King’s Cross in London, Indian food today has become more mainstream and less exotic than it used to be. Everyone seems to like a taste of something Indian—a deep-fried samosa or a scoop of biryani—but they’re often a little intimidated by what they believe it entails: long hours of slaving in front of the stove and a gazillion spices to pepper everything with.

While volumes of text have been devoted to busting those myths, there aren’t too many endeavors focused on making Indian cooking simpler, using ingredients sourced right out of a regular grocery store in the West. Ranjini Rao and her partner, Ruchira Ramanujam, recently wrote and published Mango Masala: 60 Indian Recipes From Your Local Supermarket, which demonstrates what a cinch Indian cooking really is in any kitchen, right from breakfast to snacks, full-fledged lunches to dinner spreads.

Ranjini Rao is a marketing and social media co-ordinator at an online publishing company here in Chicago. She runs a food blog, Tadka Pasta, along with her partner Ruchira, and will highlight the practicalities of whipping up Indian food in the Western world and talk a little bit about her own journey as a writer, foodie, multicultural culinary enthusiast. She'll also talk about how she ended up crafting a cookbook with her best friend and share her insights into the world of digital publishing.

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