Three Easy Delicious Indian Recipes from my Novel Before We Visit the Goddess

Here are three easy and delicious Indian recipes from my novel, Before We Visit the Goddess, where 3 generations of mothers and daughters in an immigrant family pass on--and transform--family recipes to suit their lifestyles. 

Food is important in all families, probably, but particularly crucial in immigrant families. We often pass on traditions along with recipes. My mother did that, and I think I do it, too, with my sons.

These three recipes are ones that I've tried and enjoyed many times. An appetizer (pakora) and two desserts. I hope you like them, too. Let me know what you think. 




  • 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.

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.

Chocolate Sandesh



  • ½ lb paneer (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.