The two dishes are so different. Mexico's chiles en nogada are filled with meat, fruit and nuts, covered with walnut sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. Godbole's contain mashed potatoes tantalizingly seasoned with cumin, ginger, garlic and garam masala.
Don't look too closely at the way I fixed her dish (at the top), because I didn't mash my potatoes properly. Above is the way the chiles were prepared at Melissa's Produce, where Godbole appeared on a book tour.
The best photo is in "A Dozen Ways to Celebrate: Twelve Decadent Indian Feasts for The Culinary Indulgent," one of two new eBooks by Godbole. (Check them out on her Amazon page.) Believe me, you'll want these books. They explore Indian cuisine in ways I haven't seen, although I have a huge library of Indian cookbooks, many from India.
Her other book is "Crack the Code: Cook Any Indian Meal with Confidence." The title is not an idle promise to get you to buy the book. Godbole has developed a unique system that really works, based on the chart above. Learn the chart (by reading the book), and you'll know how to cook any Indian dish, and can even create your own recipes.
Godbole, who is from Mumbai, earned degrees in botany and ethnobotany, which is why she can explain the spices and plants used in Indian cooking so well. Although she came to the United States to study landscape architecture, she wound up with a career in cooking and established a business called Curry Cravings.
Godbole has also studied Indian dance. This is why, as she talks, her gestures and expressions are like those of a classical dancer (above). Here, she's demystifying Indian cooking for her audience at Melissa's.
In addition to teaching cooking, Godbole has organized underground supper clubs in Atlanta, where she lives, and in Los Angeles. Those dinners provided recipes for "A Dozen Ways to Celebrate," which she financed through Kickstarter.
The book contains much more than recipes. Each menu comes with a "cheat sheet" for shopping and preparation, suggestions for working the dishes into everyday meals, photos, background information and stories that are often personal.
The stuffed poblanos are part of a vegetarian feast for Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights. That holiday is November 11, so now is the perfect time to make them.
CHEESY STUFFED POBLANO PEPPERS
From "A Dozen Ways to Celebrate" by Nandita Godbole
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 jalapeño, deseeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
2 large baking potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
3 poblano peppers, washed, halved and deseeded
Additional oil for basting
Lemon wedges for garnish
Heat oil in a saucepan and add the cumin seeds. When these sizzle, add the onion and sauté until golden. Add the ginger paste, garlic paste and jalapeño and allow to cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the garam masala. Add the mashed potatoes, salt to taste, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and sugar. Mix until well combined. Cool completely.
Halve the poblano peppers and remove the seeds. Baste them with a little oil. Fill the peppers with the stuffing. Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Turn to a low broil for 5 minutes or until the tops begin to crisp. Serve hot with lemon wedges.
Makes 6 servings.