Crispy Turkey Kathi Rolls with Mint-and-Date Dipping Sauce
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 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.
Sweet Lime-Ginger Rum Punch
"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.
Mahimahi Coconut Curry Stew with Carrots and Fennel
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 an Asian laksa.
Spinach, Basil and Plum Salad
Padma 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.
Sautéed Zucchini with Ginger and Dill
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.
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."
Spicy Pineapple Granita
Instead of finishing a big meal with a rich dessert, Padma Lakshmi opts for this cold, fruity pineapple granita spiked with cayenne.