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Rinku Bhattacharya is a creative Indian cooking teacher and writer, who began teaching Indian cooking almost a decade ago, to share the culture and home flavors of her native India.  Passionate about a conscious lifestyle and seasonal living, Rinku began writing about meshing Indian flavors with local ingredients procured from local markets and her own backyard. Her recipes and experiences are chronicled on her blog Spice Chronicles.

This concept has translated to two cookbooks. The first is a part memoir, part narrative-style cookbook, "The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles," which was the winner of the 2013 Gourmand Awards for Best Indian Cuisine cookbook. In her second cookbook -- "Spices and Seasons, Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors" -- Rinku offers recipes inspired by the local bounty of the Hudson Valley. The book also offers tips and ideas on creating a green kitchen and reducing your food footprint.

When not in the kitchen, Rinku can be found in local farmer markets, doing spice-based seasonal demos, or on the soccer fields chasing her two lovely children, Deepta and Aadi, with a camera in tow.

Rinku has a doctoral degree in business from Pace University.

In Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, families of all religious backgrounds embrace Christmas traditions, including a far more moist and softer version of fruitcake than the traditional kind found in the United States. Credit: Rinku Bhattacharya

In India, December comes with the spirit of Christmas throughout the country, and, in Kolkata in eastern India, the city finds ways to regale

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Simplify side dishes on your Thanksgiving table with easy-to-prepare and healthy vegetable dishes like this stuffed acorn squash. Credit: Rinku Bhattacharya

It has taken me some analysis of classic side dishes -- especially the vegetarian ones -- to realize why we tend to get so

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The ubiquitous chicken tikka masala can be delicious. But why stop there? Credit: Rinku Bhattacharya

Chicken tikka masala -- a fairly delectable concoction of tomatoes, cream, fenugreek and grilled, boneless chicken -- has become the poster child of stereotypical

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Khichuri, a soothing mélange of soft lentils, rice and vegetables, is the perfect Indian comfort food to accompany the arrival of cold weather.

Autumn in New York brings back memories -- and the comfort food -- of my monsoon childhood. A perfect evening for me is a

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Curry powder. Credit: Courtesy of Hippocrene Books

I love playing with flavors, adding an Indian touch to almost anything that comes my way, minced chilies to my grilled cheese sandwich, a

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Rinku Bhattacharya. Credit: Aadi Bhattacharya

Festivals and celebrations offer a time-tested mechanism of sharing and preserving family culinary traditions and memories. As spring approaches, the vernal calendar brings its

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