An Interview with May Abraham Fridel – Author of Indian Cuisine Diabetes Cookbook

I had received a review copy of  Indian Cuisine Diabetes Cookbook  sometime ago and had been wanting to go through it but my newborn  son was keeping me really busy which is why I had to keep postponing it. This book is of special interest to me since my father as well as my mother in law are diabetic. It’s also good for anyone who aims to eat healthier which is a constant endeavor of mine.

I also got the opportunity to interview May Fridel who is the author of this cookbook. It was a pleasure to get insights on how we can make Indian cuisine healthier.


Indian Cuisine Diabetes Cookbook by May Fridel
©2017 by the American Diabetes Association, Inc.®
Food Photography: Renee Comet Photography


About the book


With more than 140 recipes and great photos, the Indian Cuisine Diabetes Cookbook contains main course dishes, sides, condiments, one pot meals, flatbreads, drinks and desserts from Asia’s majestic sub-continent.

It contains classic Indian dishes with a healthy twist as well as some exotic dishes with Indian spices. For the dessert section recipes are sweetened with natural sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup or with stevia.

The recipes have been adapted to meet the American Diabetes Association nutrition guidelines. Nutritional information is provided with each recipe.

The introductory part of the book contains chapters introducing Indian ingredients and cooking techniques such as tadka (tempering) and dum (steaming) for those who are new to Indian cooking.

I am looking forward to try the recipes in the book especially the Slow Roasted Salmon in Red Masala (Pg. 36) and Anjeer Khajoor Barfi (Fig and Date Bars, Pg. 224).

About the author


May Fridel is a food literacy advocate, author, philanthropist, and the founder and CEO of the organic spice company Passion for Spices. May educates both children and adults on healthy eating through food literacy programs. She grew up in the Indian state of Kerala, where the knowledge of Indian cuisine and spices was passed down to her by her family of spice growers. Her mission is to share her passion for food, culture, and sustainable living with people around the globe who want to embrace healthy eating.

An interview with the author


  • Indian food has seen a boom in popularity in the US over the past 30 years, but with many dishes rich in cream and sugars it’s not what one might think of as “diabetes-friendly”. What makes this book different?


I tinkered with my recipes by adding whole grain ingredients, tweaking flavor all the while reducing fat, sugar, and salt content to make this a recipe that wouldn’t only meet and exceed the ADA’s nutritional standards, but also be a delicious, nutritious dish for anyone who makes it! For emphasized flavor and taste we combined traditional use of spices/aromatics with modern cooking methods to help today’s cooks make authentic, flavorful Indian dishes at home that are healthy too.


  • It has been reported that these recipes are not only “diabetes-friendly”, but healthy for anyone? Can you elaborate on that?


In addition to meeting the ADA guidelines, these recipes meet the guidelines of heart healthy, anti-inflammatory dietary requirements too. For this reason, they are perfect for anyone who wants to eat healthier. The ingredients are carefully selected for reducing inflammation and improving the immune system. The recipes collected in this book use aromatics like ginger, garlic and spices that help reduce inflammation in the body. In addition, I modified the traditional Indian recipes that form the basis for these recipes to use less fat and salt and incorporate quality ingredients that are grown locally and sustainably. Good ingredients make a difference in the resulting flavor. The non-processed approach emphasized in all of these recipes also boosts their health potential.


  • What are some of your “quick and easy” recipes you believe readers will incorporate into their weeknight cooking?


Most of the recipes in this book fit this bill. Personally, I love the Spiced Turkey Meatballs recipe, which can be made ahead and grilled on a week night and served with healthy pilaf or flat bread or any number of other dishes for a quick but interesting weeknight meal for the whole family.  Chicken Curry in a Hurry (68-69) is a favorite among my family and friends.  One of my friends, makes the Keralan Masala Scallops for her family in less than half an hour and never leaves a me a piece to taste because her children just gobble it up. Finally, the Roasted Masala Branzino is also a good example of how easy it is to create a healthy gourmet meal with complex flavors that anyone can make. It literally takes minutes!


If you could, please give a brief wrap up as well as any final notes you’d like to leave with readers.


This book will arm readers to take charge of their health by helping them cook wholesome meals with unprocessed ingredients, packed with flavor.

Indian Cuisine showcases that preparing food with layers of flavor and using the right cooking methods will not only improve flavor, but enhance the well-being of those eating!

The book details the basics of spices and spice profiles, a great resource to learn the about how it can be used in your kitchen, even for a novice cook. These recipes have honored traditional flavors while adapting the recipes for a modern way of life.


Indian Cuisine Diabetes Cookbook is available at, in bookstores nationwide, or by calling 1-800-232-6733.


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