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The Boston Globe

Food & dining

COOKBOOK REVIEW

Kitchen novices will find ‘Keys to the Kitchen’ easy to tackle

Aida Mollenkamp, formerly of the Food Network, the Cooking Channel, and CHOW magazine, describes herself as a “culinary curator.” I’m not entirely sure what that means. But if her thoughtful new primer, “Keys to the Kitchen,” is any indication, it involves hunting down exciting flavor combinations from far and wide and sharing them in recipes even the uninitiated can easily tackle.

Mollenkamp’s rendition of Indian “butter chicken” is little lighter and faster than the traditional version, which has a long yogurt marinade, high-heat roasting, and a stew step. Despite relying more on tomato and less on butter, it retains most of the original’s flavor. An oven-fried chicken makes use of a similar yogurt marinade, this time tuned to lemon and rosemary. The marinade keeps the chicken moist inside and out — enough so that you really don’t need the beaten egg layer she suggests in order to make the crumb crust adhere.

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