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“DEEPA’S SECRETS ” Earns Best Ethnic Book 2017

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(Gerry Furth-Sides)  Elegant, engaging and open,  Deepa Thomas is the best advertisement for her new book, “Deepa’s Secrets” (Skyhorse Publishing, $24.99).

Deepa shares her well thought out  healthy Slow carb” cuisine  with “new Indian”dishes, as flavorful and textured as traditional Indian cuisine.   She also shares her close- to- magical  family history both in India and in America.

Deepa had grown up in India in a prominent, privileged family before she moved to California as a 21-year-old bride in 1972, swept off her feet by husband, Thampy.  Daily cooking was not a priority.

Instead, Deepa, a Delhi University graduate, founded the internationally renowned, award-winning, Deepa Textiles.  After two decades, she retired to care for her parents.

Always intellectually curious, Deepa then took on the study of  Indian and American diets,  “deconstructing the principles of the most successful weight-loss diets and the contrasting principles of Indian cuisine to create her slow carb New Indian cuisine.

The Thomas Family

Deepa feels that “Indian cuisine crosses international borders because people love the flavor of it.”  So much of it comes from naturally satisfying Indian nuts and spices are healthy, she notes, that can replace the unhealthy current high carb, high starch content.

Not only did Deepa drop 20 pounds, but more surprisingly, her long-time diabetic husband was able to stop his daily insulin shots and keep his blood sugar stable. This was a double victory since the shots increase appetite.

 

The more she learned, the more she wanted to share with others. What began as a personal experiment led to research, revamping recipes and shifting her cooking style.

Glorious Roasted beets with a Spark of Shaved Fennel –

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Indian spices

For example, Deepa was not that surprised to learn that” India is the diabetic capital of the world with 15% of the population afflicted.” Three million Indians living in America are also diabetic.  This is partially due to the white rice carb effect on certain people due partly because of depleted growing soil.

Deepa’s rule is to “bump up the flavor when I takes an ingredient out.”  Her “new Indian” cuisine also retains the delicious mouth feel of Indian cuisine after taking oout “overly refined carbohydrates and oils.”

Carmelized shallots boost the flavor of almost any veggie or protein.

“Best ever OvenRoasted Swee’ Potato Fries” – oven-baked and as satisfying and crunchy as fried

Her own favorites are the unique dishes from Southern India, home to both Deepa and her husband’s ancestors. Historically the benefactor of the trading route with the Middle East and Portuguese, dishes tend to be exotic with delicious, savory coconut milk sauces.

Kerela Fisherman’s Prawns – with memories of buying fresh fish and season in the open market for Sunday dinners

A “protein-like” Smashed Chickpea and Toasted Peanut Cakes, inspired by Delhi street vendors toasting peanuts

Commercial “made up” Curry power, in fact, dismays Deepa’s, compared to the beloved handmade signature family recipes in India.   Spice mixes are very special to Deepa because they always lent a “lovely fragrance that signaled a special dinner.” She encourages everyone to make up their own blends, and provides detailed instructions in DEEPA’S SECRET.  

“I adore chaat masala,” she laughs pulling out a bottle of her own creation for sale.  Spices also lend a zing to any Western dish, too

 

The beautiful photographs in DEEPA’S SECRETS  are dramatic and filled with energy.   Volunteer help from friends and family made this happen naturally, much to her surprise. She beams, “I shopped, I cooked and (the food) was shot in natural light in my own kitchen.

Thomas is donating all book sale proceeds to the non-profitFoodCorps, an organization which connects students to a healthy diet.


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Author
Gerry Furth-Sides

Gerry Furth-Sides

Content Editor/Columnist

Photo-journalist Gerry Furth-Sides has been covering the ethnic and American culinary scene in California since it first came into prominence 25 years ago.