title: Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken
author: by Monica Bhide
publication date: September 13, 2016
publisher: Bodes Well Publishing
Before I dive into this review, I have to put a bit of disclaimer here: I adore Monica Bhide. We ‘met’ via Twitter after I reached out to her about her collection of short essays, A Life of Spice, was released (you can read my review of that book here) and since then, although we’ve yet to meet in person, we’ve become good friends. She’s incredibly warm, generous, supportive and of course, insanely creative. Knowing that, I tried very hard to make sure I reviewed this book with as much objectivity as possible.
I have only one rule in this kitchen. The cooks’ energy gets passed into the dishes. Only food prepared with love will nurture. If not, it will just be another meal.
Do you believe in karma? That our deeds (good and bad) will lead to consequences later on? How much good (or bad) karma have you generated today?
Orphaned at a young age and raised by Buddhist monks, Eshaan grew up knowing hunger. So his goal in life is to ensure that no one ever goes hungry. But in a world of greed and poverty, his dream seems almost impossible.
Eshaan’s kind and generous heart makes it difficult for him to save any money towards his ‘restaurant’, but slowly, with the help of his friends, Eshaan opens Buddha’s Karma Kitchen – serving free meals to the poor in exchange for their help in the kitchen. Of course, most of the people that come in only want a free meal and refuse to pitch in. Very quickly the venture starts to run out of money and food. In order to raise funds, Eshaan tries out for a popular TV cooking show but he sabotages his chances when he throws out his meal right before the judges even have a chance to taste his creation.
While all this is going on, extra turmoil is thrown into the mix when the love of Eshaan’s life, Kitt, returns home from Austria with a handsome and successful fiance in tow.
Seriously, this guy just seems to invite bad luck.
It is almost impossible not to care about Eshaan and to root for him to succeed. He’s far from perfect – sure, he’s young and handsome, he can cook and sing, he’s kind and generous, but he also has his flaws – he’s stubborn and clings to the past too much, and he gives away more money than he saves (which, I guess is a good thing, but not when you have a goal to open a restaurant).
There’s a depth to the characters that makes you want to know them. To laugh and cry with them. To grab them by the shoulders and shake some sense into them. This book is an emotional ride. There’s love and heartache, there’s bigotry and acceptance, there’s tragedy and forgiveness. And throughout it all, there’s the food.
Although much of the book focuses on the lack of food, that need, that longing for a good meal, brings food to the forefront. Whether it’s the simple gesture of sharing a hot cup of tea, or creating a simple coconut soup, the message throughout is how important food is – not just as nourishment, but as a way to remember, a way to share and a way to bring people together.
As always, Monica’s writing left me wanting more. So it’s a good thing that this is only the start of Eshaan’s adventures – there’s already a sequel in the works.
In the meantime, Monica has generously shared some recipes inspired by the book with us! Click here to download your free copy of Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken, The Bookclub Cookbook – I highly recommend everyone go whip up some mango lassis and butter chicken. And don’t forget to share (it’s good karma, after all!). If you want to find out more about Monica and her writing, check out her website.
Click here to purchase Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken from Amazon.
Disclosure: I received a copy of Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken from the author for review purposes. I did not receive any financial compensation for writing this post and the post was not reviewed by the author prior to publication. All opinions expressed are my own. Please read my disclosure policy for more information.
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