New Cookbook: “Spice up your Celebration” by Peri Avari


Indian inspired recipes for your occasions, holidays and entertaining.



While Sanskrit phrases are not really my expertise, ‘Atithi Devo Bhavah’ has long been my mantra for entertaining guests. Translating to ‘Guest is God,’ this ancient Indian phrase alludes to the hosts’ innate sense of hospitality towards any guest who walks through the door into their home.

Using this old wisdom and today’s modern approach to food from a global perspective, this cookbook offers an easy to prepare collection of mouthwatering recipes that can be used for any occasion from intimate family and friends dinners to hosting larger holiday celebrations. Made with everyday fresh ingredients and simple step-wise directions, my dishes are inspired by India’s varied and flavorful smorgasbord of regional cuisines.

Much of my management career in high-end luxury hotels serving the rich and famous, world leaders and film celebrities was spent managing every detail of prestigious events ranging from 5 to 5000 people. A job which meant 14-16 hour work days, with waking hours spent on my feet; also taught me everything I needed to know about cooking, entertaining and planning celebrations.

A decade ago, our family moved to America. Being a stay-at-home mom to two young boys and adapting to a new country and culture, challenged me to look at food and entertaining from a different global perspective.

For the past few years, ‘Peri’s Spice Ladle’ has been a platform for showcasing my culinary creativity and travel talk; focusing on the concept of global food with inspiration from my native Indian and Parsi cuisines.

It’s been an exhilarating journey, with the number of followers growing, and more readers joining in every day. Receiving positive feedback on my recipes always brings a smile to my face, and inspires me to contribute much more to the community.

Entertaining and celebrations, with food as a common thread, are an important part of all our lives. In a lighter vein, I’d say, most of us ‘Live to Eat.’

From year round personal milestones, small family dinners, to larger gatherings with family and friends celebrating major holidays – you’ll find my recipes can be used for any of these occasions. I have also included a large choice of naturally gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian dishes.

To me, simplicity is the cornerstone of any get-together. And since food plays such a vital and central role, it is my hope that these easy ethnic dishes inspire you to introduce something new on the menu when you host your next gathering.

Starting with the basic premise that a celebration needs to be fun for the guests as well as the hosts; I’m sharing my ‘Five Nuggets of Entertaining Wisdom’ gleaned from my years working in various leadership roles in Food & Beverage for a prestigious hotel company. They will provide plan-ahead time saving tips, and keep you level-headed while playing host.

‘Get the Party Rolling!’ is filled with recipes for appetizers like colorful fiesta chaat filled in crisp fillo shells, chunky bites of tarragon-flavored chicken tikka and margaritas made with coconut water and crushed blueberries.

‘Spicy Egg, Fish and Meats’ feature recipes that showcase the true magic of Indian spices on meat in lemon black pepper turkey, and juicy holiday lamb roast. Behold a light spice rub that brings fish to life in masala Mahi-mahi.

Full of colors and textures for all the senses, ‘It’s All Vegetarian!’ covers a gamut of dishes with a wide choice of vegetables and variety of grains. Watch fragrant mint and tomato rice and Parsi wedding stew become the gastronomic conversation pieces of your party.

‘Sweet Indian Inspirations’ offers delectable recipes like dark chocolate fudge Burfi, a rice Kheer, and my grandma’s Parsi caramel pudding flavored with cardamom and nutmeg, which will wrap up your party on a simple sweet note.

The book ends with a ‘Perspective on Wines with Indian Food’ giving general guidelines for planning reds and whites for the evening, to complement the high flavored servings.

Spice up your celebration by adding a touch of global ethnic special-something from India’s diverse cuisines, a kind of ‘je ne sais quoi’ to your next occasion.

Cookbook available at

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