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Komali Nunna

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Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen
by Komali Nunna   

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Publisher:  Komali Nunna, LLC ISBN-10:  160585526X


Copyright:  November 2008 ISBN-13:  9781605855264

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Barnes &
Komali Nunna
Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen

Indian cookbook, entertaining book, and coffee table book.

When I came to this country almost 25 years ago, I had little to no knowledge about entertaining. With perseverance, I learned to cook and entertain and soon this became my passion. This book is a product of my rich and diverse experiences of both Indian and American cultures. It gives guidelines for entertaining with a touch of class and authenticity. My book is a fusion of Eastern philosophy with Western style.

My goal is to provide customers with unique recipes and entertaining ideas that they can successfully reproduce in their own kitchens.  My goal is to revolutionize American eating habits with the health benefits of spices and plant protein rather than too much meat and fat.  This book is not solely a vegetarian cookbook; it will satisfy both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

The menus are put together in this book, which makes it very user-friendly.  None of the other Indian cookbooks address this concept.

This book not only has divine recipes but it gives the guidelines on entertaining as well.  Note that the common denominator is the Indian cuisine and each chapter is supported by a different theme with different table setting ideas and how to create a memorable ambiance each time you entertain.  This book will show the reader how to wow the guests each time you entertain.

My cookbook provides the recipes from India and entertaining ideas along with wine pairing (as you know, pairing Indian food with wine is not an easy task).  This book, rather than concentrating on a specific geographic region of India like many other cookbooks, is a compilation of recipes from regions all over India.  In addition, I have menus from both Indian holidays and American holidays.  The American recipes are given an Indian flair. 

This is a cookbook, entertaining book and coffee table book all in one.  It is a 320-page hardbound book with over 260 luscious photographs.   The book also includes a lot of my childhood memoirs from growing up in India.  This book will make the most beautiful coffee table book to salivate your taste buds and stimulate your mind with Indian culture and traditions.

This book has evolved from my passion for cooking, decorating, and entertaining. I have had the opportunity to learn the art of entertaining and the privilege to host many parties over the past 25 years. You will see my love for cooking, entertaining and decorating throughout the book. For me, cooking is an art, decorating a craft and entertaining a passion. Whether it is creating a culinary feast or decorating a dazzling table, I do it with the same passion and zeal.

Entertaining is not just the act of serving food and wine, as food and wine are only a part of the whole process. Entertaining is also about creating an ambiance that people will remember. The food, china, linens, candles, flowers, music and accessories are all necessary components that make a perfect ambiance.

Professional Reviews

Ventura County Star
Cooking with chemistry
Former chemist's self-published book has recipes from India
Komali Nunna is thankful for many things, including the
Fuyu persimmons that ripen to gooey, earthy sweetness
every fall in her Camarillo backyard.
She showcases the orange-red fruits in Persimmon Date
Coconut Pudding, one of several desserts she will make
next week for the more than 40 people invited to gather
around her family's Thanksgiving table.
The recipe itself is one of hundreds that Nunna, 49,
created, tested and then tested again after quitting her job
as a chemist nearly three years ago to focus on her
dream of writing a cookbook.
"It's crazy, right?" she said with a laugh. "The chemistry
job was fine, but I feel that one should do what they love
to do — and I love to cook."
Now, after dozens of weekends filled with marathon
cooking sessions and photo shoots, Nunna's dream has
become a reality. "Entertaining from an Ethnic Indian
Kitchen," her first, self-published cookbook, is hot off the
printing press and filled with recipes from the regions and
festivals of her native India as well as from the holidays of
her adopted culture.
She is thankful for that, too. But with several hundred
copies of the full-color, 320-page cookbook now stashed
in boxes in the garage (more are awaiting distribution in
India), Nunna faces a new challenge: getting the word out
that the book exists.
Last month, she handed a copy to Food Network star
Giada De Laurentiis while the latter was signing books at
the Costco in Westlake Village.
"She thought the book was beautiful," Nunna said. "I told
her the Food Network could use more diversity, and she
Nunna will have a book signing of her own from 2 to 5
p.m. Saturday at the Camarillo Library. During a similar
event this month at the Camarillo Yoga Center — where
Nunna is a student — classmates served dishes they'd made using recipes from the $50 book.
"The photographs are fabulous, and the food came out
looking just like the pictures," said Gordon Swanson, who
with wife, Jodi Swanson, showed up at the yoga-center
gathering with batches of naan, a yeast bread that
traditionally is baked in a hot clay oven called a tandoor,
and baby potato curry flavored with turmeric and ginger-garlic paste.
"I was almost more excited to taste theirs," said Silpa Nunna, the author's 22-year-old daughter. "I
knew my mom's cooking was good, but seeing someone else make one of her recipes was so
Personal journey
It is the kind of book that Komali Nunna wishes she had in 1980, the year she arrived in America to
make a home with new husband, Mal Nunna, then a postdoctoral scientist at the University of North
The marriage had been arranged by their parents, and the wedding had taken place several months
earlier. After landing in New York dressed in a sari and sandals and wearing her hair in a long braid
that almost touched her knees, Komali saw snow for the first time before traveling on to join Mal in
Grand Forks.
Now the parents of Silpa, who graduated this year with a bachelor's degree in psychology from UC
Irvine, and of a son, Naveen, 23, a UC Berkeley graduate who works at a biotech company in
Camarillo, the couple learned to blend the culinary traditions of their respective backgrounds.
One of 10 children in a farming family, Komali Nunna grew up in the village of Swarna in Andhra
Pradesh, a southern state known for its use of rice and red-hot pickles.
Her husband is from Nellore, also in the state of Andhra Pradesh and known for Chepala Pulusu, a
spicy fish stew spiked with the acidic pulp of the tamarind fruit. A recipe for Chepala Pulusu is
included in the book — the same recipe Nunna got from her mother-in-law and still serves as the
family meal most Fridays.
As the Nunnas moved from North Dakota to Massachusetts and, in 1991, to Camarillo, Komali
collected recipes and experiences as a home cook with an eye for elegant detail. She also collected
enough linens, serving ware and candlesticks to rival Martha Stewart in her early days.
"I am not really interested in jewelry or clothing; I really like to have a nice place setting," Nunna
said with another laugh.
Setting the mood
That collection came in handy during the photographing of the book. Her grandmother's prayer
dishes are shown filled with marigolds in a chapter devoted to the harvest festival Sankranthi, and
Nunna's recipe for Phirni, or creamy rice pudding, is displayed in a row of Japanese pottery cups
with matching, blossom-shaped lids.
Nunna prefers to set the table before cooking a meal because doing so inspires her to create "a
terrific menu" to match, she said. It also helps save time, which was at a premium during the
creation of the cookbook.
To make the most of weekend visits by Sethu Sethuraman, the Northern California-based
photographer she hired for the project, Nunna staged epic, 22-hour photo shoots during which she
acted as chef, stylist and dishwasher.
"I am cooking till 2 o'clock, 3 o'clock in the morning. I put the food on the table and ‘Click, click —
let's eat,'" Nunna said, mimicking the photographer.
In the rush to complete the Christmas chapter, however, a helper set the table incorrectly, placing
the knives so their serrated edges faced away from rather than toward the rims of the plates, as
etiquette dictates. The mistake wasn't discovered until Nunna saw the resulting pictures, which she
scotched in favor of a reshoot.
"Other people might not have noticed, but I won't put something like that in my book," she said.
"After everything that went into it, I wanted it to be perfect."

Hindu Metro Plus
Stirring it up Nunna tells readers how they can blend Indian food
with Western serving styles
Like most Indians, Komali Nunna too loves food. Though a chemist by
profession, her passion is to cook and entertain guests with delicious food.
Based in the United States (U.S.), Nunna has just come out with a
cookbook, ‘Entertaining – From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen,’ featuring all her
delectable recipes and various ways to win over one’s guests. ‘Atithi Devo
Bhava’ (Guest is God) is an intrinsic concept in Indian culture, which accords
a guest the status of God. The book tells readers how to do just that. From
matching the colours of the tablecloth with the dishes, to arranging flowers
according to the cuisine, the book takes into account every aspect of
hospitality. It dwells on the importance of the right tableware, versatile
accessories and fabric selection for tablecloths and napkins.
Nunna, who hails from Andhra Pradesh and visited New Delhi on her way
back to the U.S., says her aim is to tell readers how they can combine the
rich Indian culture with Western serving styles and vice-versa. Lovingly
turning the glossy pages of the book, which she published herself, she
explains how it is divided according to regions and festivals like Diwali,
Sankranti and so on.
Personal touch
The book acquires a personal touch when Nunna shares her own experiences
with the recipes. The readers are given insights into India, Indians, their
culture and their reflections on food. Any favourite recipes from the book?
“None. I only enjoy my mother’s home-cooked meals,” she smiles. Through
the book, Nunna says she wants to promote Indian culture, of which food is
a significant part, on foreign turf and in India as well.

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Reader Reviews for "Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen"

Reviewed by Melinda Winner 6/5/2009
Amazing work! This books have my 3 favorite things cooking, decorating, and entertaining. I will be sure to tell my friends

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