• Indian-ish by Priya Krishna

    Indian-ish by Priya Krishna '13 

    Cooking Indian-ish with Priya Krishna ’13

    Wednesday, April 24, 2019
    News Type

Priya Krishna ’13 began her food writing career in a surprising place—FoCo (that’s the Class 1953 Commons dining hall for more seasoned alumni).

Priya Krishna '13 with her new book (photo by Teddy Wolff)
Priya Krishna '13 with her new book (photo by Teddy Wolff)

As a student “obsessed with the idea of taking limited ingredients and jazzing them up into something cool,” Krishna started The Dartmouth’s “DDS Detective” column, sharing recipes accessible to students dealing with the limited ingredients and equipment of the College’s dining hall.

That concept turned into Krishna’s first cookbook, Ultimate Dining Hall Hacks, published in 2014. These days, Krishna is a regular writer for Bon Appetit and The New York Times. Her new cookbook, Indian-ish, is receiving rave reviews for its creative recipes and family-centric narrative.

The book, which Krishna wrote in collaboration with her mother, puts a new spin on classic Indian dishes—from spinach and feta cooked like saag paneer to pulao made with quinoa instead of rice.

For Krishna, a government and French major who studied the effects of colonialism and migration on regional and global cuisine while at Dartmouth, Indian-ish is about much more than sharing recipes.

“I hope that my book normalizes Indian flavors and Indian food,” she said. “I hope that it makes people realize that Indian flavors, and flavors of any country can be part of everyday cooking. I don’t want to tokenize it, I want it to be part of the mainstream.”

Getting hungry? Try the recipe below, reprinted with permission from Indian-ish.

Recipe courtesy Priya Krishna/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Serves four


  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil, divided

  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds

  • 2 green cardamom pods, or ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom (freshly ground is best)

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced into ½-inch pieces

  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh ginger

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1 pound fresh baby spinach (10 to 12 cups)

  • ½ tablespoon fresh lime juice (from about a quarter of a lime), plus more if needed

  • 1 small Indian green chile or serrano chile, roughly chopped

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 6 ounces feta cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes (a little over ½ cup)

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • ¼ teaspoon asafetida (optional, but really great)

  • ¼ teaspoon red chile powder


1. In a large pan over medium heat, warm ¼ cup of the ghee (or oil). Once the ghee has melted (or the oil begins to shimmer), add the coriander and cardamom and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until the seeds start to brown. Add the onion and cook until it is translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the spinach and cook until it is just wilted, 4 to 5 minutes.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the lime juice, green chile, and salt. Let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and blend into a chunky paste. Return the spinach mixture to the same pan and set it over low heat. Stir in ½ cup water, then gently fold in the feta, being careful not to break up the cubes. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes more to soften the feta slightly and allow it to soak up some of the spinach sauce.

3. While the feta cooks, in a small pan or butter warmer over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons ghee (or oil) for 1 minute. Add the cumin seeds. As soon as (emphasis on as soon as —you don’t want your cumin to burn!) the cumin seeds start to sputter and brown, about 1 minute max, remove the pan from the heat. Immediately add the asafetida (if using) and red chile powder.

4. Pour all of the ghee (or oil) mixture into the spinach and feta once that is done cooking. Serve with rice or roti.