Emmy-nominated Padma Lakshmi is internationally known as an actress, food expert, model, and award-winning author, as well as the recipient of the 2016 NECO Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Padma also serves as host and executive producer of Bravo’s Emmy award-winning Top Chef, currently filming its 14th season. She also happens to be our Supper recipe ambassador for India. If you're hosting an India-inspired Supper, these recipes are for you!

Warm Peanut Salad

Serves 6-8

1 medium-size bay leaf, fresh or dried
1 pound raw peanuts, shelled (about 1 ¾ pounds in the shell)
½ pound tomatoes
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 green Thai chilies, finely minced (or less, to taste)
1 tablespoon sea salt
juice of 2 very ripe lemons or ¼ cup juice


In a large pot, bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Add the bay leaf. Keep the water at a rolling boil, add all the peanuts and cook for about 30 minutes or until a peanut crumbles easily under the pressure of a fork’s tine.

While the peanuts are boiling, remove the seeds from the tomatoes and dice them finely with a sharp knife.

Combine the cilantro with the tomato, and add the green chilies.

Drain the boiled peanuts very well, and remove the bay leaf.

Toss the peanuts with the tomato mixture. Add the salt and lemon juice. Stir well and serve immediately.

Yellow Velvet Lentil Soup with Cumin and Dried Plums

Serves 8


3 cups orange (masoor) lentils, washed well with warm water and drained
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ cup chopped shallots
1 ½ tablespoons minced ginger
2 ½ tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
3 plum tomatoes, quartered
2 teaspoons curry powder
juice of 1 lemon
10 dried plums, pitted, chopped into bits
1 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves

Fill a deep stew pot with the lentils, bay leaf, salt and enough water to cover the ingredients by 1 inch. Simmer on very low heat for 1 hour.

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the cumin seeds. After 2 minutes, add the shallots and ginger, and cook until the shallots are glassy. Add the coconut and stir until the coconut is golden brown.

Add all the tomatoes and the curry powder, and sauté on medium heat for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes start to wilt and lose their shape.

When the mixture forms a cohesive paste, add it to the lentils, stirring over low heat until nicely combined. Remove the bay leaf.

With an immersion blender, pulverize the lentils so that the whole mixture is roughly blended, but not totally liquefied.

Remove the soup from the heat and add the lemon juice, chopped plums, and cilantro. Stir in these final ingredients and serve hot.

Sautéed Sweet Potatoes and Lima Bean

Serves 6-8

1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes
1 pound frozen lima beans1 ½ teaspoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 dried whole red chili
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice
½ cup fresh chopped cilantro

Boil sweet potatoes, in enough water to just cover them, until tender, about 25 minutes. At the same time, in another saucepan, boil the lima beans in just enough water to cover them, about 15-20 minutes. Peel and dice the potatoes once they are cool enough to touch. Drain the lima beans.

In a frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds; when they pop and start to crackle out of the pan, add the cumin, red chili, onion, garlic and ginger. Stir well and mix. Let the onion turn golden brown; then add the reserved lima beans and stir. Add the sweet potatoes. Mix all the ingredients well, and sauté for just a few minutes more to mingle tastes evenly. Salt to taste. Add lemon juice and stir. Garnish by sprinkling cilantro over the top. Serve warm.