Padma Lakshmi

Who doesn't love crab cakes? Padma Lakshmi made this recipe to meld a classic American dish with the hot and tangy flavors of her native Kerala. Since crab dishes are abundant in South Indian cuisine, the marriage is a happy one. She liberally uses hot green chiles, but they can be reduced a bit to taste. The shredded coconut gives the dish a South Asian twist, and the dried mango powder adds sourness. If you don't happen to have the amchur, don't despair. Add some lemon juice to the mixture instead. If you do this, you'll probably need less milk.
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Vodka-Rose Punch
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Padma Lakshmi says, "When I was a child, the only way I would drink milk—the unhomogenized kind you get in India—was if my granny swirled a couple teaspoons of rose syrup into it. Today, I love the floral accent and the frilly pink tinge it gives mixed drinks." Cocktail Party Recipes
Sweet Lime-Ginger Rum Punch
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"In India, we constantly serve sweet lime juice, and sometimes make a salty version too," Padma Lakshmi says. In this variation, Padma adds dark rum, cilantro, and ginger, which gives the drink a little spice. Cocktail Party Recipes
Spinach, Basil and Plum Salad
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Padma Lakshmi likes using yuzu (a sour Asian citrus fruit) in the vinaigrette for this salad, a simple but bold combination of spinach, basil and juicy plums. Yuzu can be hard to find, so a mix of lemon juice and lime zest is equally good here. Finishing the salad with flakes of sea salt gives it a nice unexpected crunch. Terrific Green Salads
Spicy Pineapple Granita
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Instead of finishing a big meal with a rich dessert, Padma Lakshmi opts for this cold, fruity pineapple granita spiked with cayenne. Refreshing Granitas
This is a light and lovely way to prepare zucchini, which gets quickly sautéed with garlic, shallots and ginger, then tossed with fresh dill. Padma Lakshmi likes to stir dried pomegranate seeds (called anardana in India) into this dish for a bit of crunchy tang. Delicious, Quick Side Dishes
Padma Lakshmi says, "This dish was born out of looking around the kitchen and seeing what I could throw together to dress up rice pilaf. I had some leftover pistachios and half a box of prunes, and I gave it a try." The result is surprisingly delicious. Padma adds that you can substitute cashews for the pistachios and raisins or dried cranberries for the prunes. Delicious, Quick Side Dishes
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Mint-and-Date Dipping Sauce
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Padma Lakshmi calls this sauce "liquid heaven." She purees sticky dates with fresh mint, lemon juice and chile, creating a sweet, bright-flavored and slightly spicy sauce. It's a stellar accompaniment to the kathi rolls, but Padma also uses it as a sandwich spread or whisks it into salad dressing.
Padma Lakshmi always makes extra portions of this excellent coconut-curried mahimahi so she can reheat it the next day and eat it over noodles, like laksa.
Padma Lakshmi says, "This dish was born out of looking around the kitchen and seeing what I could throw together to dress up rice pilaf. I had some leftover pistachios and half a box of prunes, and I gave it a try." The result is surprisingly delicious. Padma adds that you can substitute cashews for the pistachios and raisins or dried cranberries for the prunes. Delicious, Quick Side Dishes
Mint-and-Date Dipping Sauce
Rating: Unrated
New!
Padma Lakshmi calls this sauce "liquid heaven." She purees sticky dates with fresh mint, lemon juice and chile, creating a sweet, bright-flavored and slightly spicy sauce. It's a stellar accompaniment to the kathi rolls, but Padma also uses it as a sandwich spread or whisks it into salad dressing.
Padma Lakshmi always makes extra portions of this excellent coconut-curried mahimahi so she can reheat it the next day and eat it over noodles, like laksa.
Kathi rolls, a popular street food in India, are made by rolling vegetables or meat in roti, an Indian flat bread. In her fabulous take on the recipe, Padma Lakshmi wraps flour tortillas around a succulent filling of ground turkey, fresh ginger, curry and basil, then pan-fries the rolls until crispy for decadent hors d'oeuvres that can be eaten as finger food.Plus: More Appetizer Recipes and Tips