The Vibrant Years Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Vibrant Years, I provide your book club with a brief summary, food ideas and a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

The Vibrant Years Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Vibrant Years Book Club Questions and Recipe

The Vibrant Years is Sonali Dev’s newest novel and the first book from Mindy Kaling’s new imprint Mindy’s Book Studio. Yes, that Mindy Kaling.

If you love the shows that Mindy Kaling produces, then you’ll love this novel–a rom-com about three generations of Indian-American women navigating the throes of love.

Insert one Millennial genius trying to code a revolutionary dating app. Add in two begrudging research assistants in her strong-willed, gorgeous grandmother and her career-stunted, timid mother. Top it off with a series of…unfortunate dates. And you have The Vibrant Years.

I love a good rom-com more than anything and Sonali Dev nails it.

I think I’ll have to pick up a few books from her backlist (all Jane Austen themed rom-coms about Indian-Americans!).

Be sure to check out The Vibrant Years, which was such a breath of fresh air and left me smiling, but didn’t lack depth. There’s still plenty of baggage for each character to sift through to find her happy ending, which means plenty to discuss with your book club.

The Vibrant Years is a novel chosen through Book Club Bites’ collaboration with The Best of Women’s Fiction podcast. Don’t forget to check out the fabulous Best of Women’s Fiction podcast where Sonali Dev discusses The Vibrant Years and more: HERE.

I’ve provided book club questions and delicious food ideas for The Vibrant Years and Sonali Dev has a special recipe for you! So if you are looking for book club ideas and more, keep reading!

The Vibrant Years

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Here’s a brief summary of The Vibrant Years:

From the publisher:

“Bursting with humor, banter, and cringeworthy first dates, Sonali Dev’s The Vibrant Years is a joyful and fun read, but it’s also very much a timely tale about a group of underestimated women demanding respect and embracing their most authentic selves.” —Mindy Kaling

Living on their own terms means being there for one another.

When sixty-five-year-old Bindu Desai inherits a million dollars, she’s astounded—and horrified. The windfall threatens to expose a shameful mistake from her youth. Desperate to keep the secret, Bindu quickly spends it on something unexpected: a condo in a posh retirement community in Florida.

The impulsive decision blindsides Bindu’s daughter-in-law, Aly. At forty-seven, Aly still shares a home with Bindu even after her divorce from Bindu’s son. But maybe this change is just the push Aly needs to fight for the segment she’s been promised for years at the news station where she works.

As Bindu and Aly navigate their new dynamic, Aly’s daughter, Cullie, is faced with losing the business that made her a tech-world star. The only way to save it is to deliver a new idea to her investors—and of course they want the half-baked dating app she pitched them in a panic. Problem is, Cullie has never been on a real date. Naturally, enlisting her single mother and grandmother to help her with the research is the answer.

From USA Today bestselling author Sonali Dev comes a heartfelt novel about three generations of hilarious, unconventional, ambitious women navigating bad dates, a spiteful HOA board, reemerging exes, and secrets that refuse to remain hidden. Join the Desai women on a shared journey of self-discovery as they dare to live their most vibrant lives.

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The Vibrant Years Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Vibrant Years Book Club Questions and Recipe

For The Vibrant Years Food Ideas:

This novel was bursting with food and I loved it. It made me want to sit down and overindulge in my favorite comfort food while reading. In my humble opinion, all the best books do that.

Here are some food ideas from the pages of The Vibrant Years. Many, but not all, are Indian foods.

  • Matcha bubble tea when Steve tells Cullie about Shloka’s fee
  • Aly and Bindu have lunch at an Iranian restaurant – khoresh bademjan, butter-fried eggplant layered on slow-cooked lamb
  • Richard and Bindu’s tragic date – chicken curry (makhani chicken) with rice and koshimbir (tomatoes and cucumber)
  • After Cullie flies home – Chinese take out — all the Szechuan dishes on the menu
  • Ashish comes home and he and Bindu make rotis (Bindu enjoys a sugar-and-ghee roti most), and fish curry
  • The terrible date with the noseless veternarian- vegetarian tacos and sweet potato fries
  • Bindu cooks for days for Cullie and Rohan- Mutton xacuti, prawns kissmoor, and fried fish. Also, bebinca.
  • Chai mentioned several times (along with Marie biscuits)

Sonali Dev was kind enough to provide us with a butter chicken (makhani chicken) recipe that she loves. Since the whole book really hinges on the tragedy of Richard and Bindu’s date, I think this is the perfect pick!

Plus, Sonali Dev says that butter chicken is the perfect “gateway” Indian dish – beloved by those who cherish Indian food already and those new to it.

Let me tell you, this recipe is a winner.

Easy to make and rich with spices and cream, this chicken should be on your dinner rotation even if you don’t make it for your book club (which you should!).

Whether you choose something from this list or try your own option, I hope these ideas will get your creative juices flowing to host your book club for The Vibrant Years.

The Vibrant Years Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Vibrant Years Book Club Questions and Recipe
A few tips on making Butter Chicken or Chicken Makhani :

Here are a few tips to help make your cooking experience the best it can be!

  1. Cut your chicken against the grain of the meat for the most tender bites.
  2. If you can’t find Tandoori spice mix at your grocery store, you can make it with your own spices. Here is a good recipe.
  3. Stir the sauce constantly as you cook to avoid burning it.
  4. Remove the aromatics before serving. Spoon out the whole peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom so that no one crunches on one. It’ll ruin the experience!

Whether you choose something from this list or try your own option, I hope these ideas will get your creative juices flowing to host your book club for The Vibrant Years.

The Vibrant Years Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Vibrant Years Book Club Questions and Recipe

The Vibrant Years Book Club Recipe:

Butter Chicken or Chicken Makhani

Chicken Makhani/Butter Chicken

Rich with spices and a creamy sauce, this Chicken Makhani (or Butter Chicken) is an amazing way to introduce your friends and family to Indian cuisine!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Saute Time 17 mins
Total Time 57 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6
Calories 208 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lbs of Boneless chicken cut into 1½ inch pieces

For marinade

  • ½ cup yogurt Recommended: whole fat Greek yogurt but you can use any
  • 2 teaspoons ginger paste Recommended: homemade paste works best
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste Recommended: homemade paste works best
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Tandoori spice mix

For sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 pods green cardamom
  • 6 Cloves
  • 6 Black peppercorns
  • 1 inch piece cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 6 oz can tomato sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kasoori methi
  • ½ cup fresh cream

Instructions
 

  • Mix marinade ingredients and marinate chicken for at least 3-4 hours in a baking dish. (preferably overnight)
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • Bake chicken in the baking dish for 20-25 minutes, until cooked. Make sure the juices collect in the dish.
  • Set aside.
  • To make the sauce, heat the butter in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon. Let bloom gently until you can smell them. About 2 minutes
  • Add the ginger and garlic pastes and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomato sauce and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for ten minutes.
  • Remove the peppercorns, cardamom pods, whole cloves, and piece of cinnamon from the sauce.
  • Add the sugar, powdered kasoori methi, salt to taste.
  • Add the cooked tandoori chicken pieces along with the marinade juices and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add fresh cream.
  • Serve hot with naan or/and rice.
Keyword butter chicken, chicken makhani, easy butter chicken, easy chicken makhani, indian chicken
The Vibrant Years Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Vibrant Years Book Club Questions and Recipe

More Fun from Sonali Dev:

Please insert a short description of your recipe and why it relates to your novel. Include any information you think readers would enjoy!

Butter Chicken is widely regarded as the perfect “gateway Indian dish.” It’s equally popular inside and outside India. In The Vibrant Years, Bindu Desai loves to cook, but she’s spent so many years cooking and taking care of people that now she understands the value of her own food and is much more choosy about who deserves the gift of her cooking. In one of my favorite scenes in the book, the Butter Chicken she cooks for a date has some fairly disastrous consequences.

Good food and a good book go hand-in-hand. What is your favorite food to enjoy while reading?

A big bowl of chips and some dark dark chocolate.

Did you sample any interesting food while researching this book? Or experience anything exciting while researching?

I visited Goa (a coastal city in India) and wrote a large part of the book while I was there. The family The Vibrant Years is centered around, the Desais, are originally from Goa which has a rich and unique cuisine. Needless to say, it was absolutely necessary for me to taste every one of the fantastic foods mentioned in the book.

The Vibrant Years Book Club Questions:

*WARNING: May contain spoilers!

These book club questions were kindly provided by the author and/or publisher. Please use only for your book club and do not reproduce them.

  1. Dating apps are a part of our world today. Have you ever used them? Bindu, Aly, and Cullie find love outside the app, but so many find it within. Do you think there’s a way to make that happen, or is it purely accidental when it happens?
  2. Aly believes our parents’ marriage is our first roadmap for relationships. What role, if any, do you think Aly’s and Ashish’s parents played in their marital issues?
  3. Rishi lied to Cullie about who he was. How justified do you think he was? Did the fact that he told her the truth before he got what he wanted matter? How do you feel about Cullie’s decision to forgive him?
  4. Everyone around Aly believes she’s a diversity hire. How do you feel about her losing her job after the ten years of discrimination she faced under the guise of “opportunity”?
  5. Do you think the way society feels about women enjoying sex has changed over the years? How do you think women are perceived by society today if they are up front about their sexual pleasure?
  6. How do you feel about Bindu’s role in Poornima versus her lived reality?
  7. “The only kind of love that lasts forever is the unrequited kind.” Discuss.

Find Sonali Dev:

Sonali can be found online!

https://www.facebook.com/sonalidevfanpage/

https://www.instagram.com/sonali.dev/

http://sonalidev.com/

Don’t forget to check out the fabulous Best of Women’s Fiction podcast where Sonali Dev discusses The Vibrant Years and more: HERE.

Have you read The Vibrant Years? What did you think? Did it satisfy you or were you left wishing for more? What are some similar books you’ve read?

Until next time, Happy Reading!

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. In the event of a sale, I will be awarded a small commission (at no extra cost to you or the featured book’s author). All opinions are 100% mine and every book, unless otherwise noted, is handpicked by me to be featured on the site.

Bookish gifts for you or your reader friends!

The Vibrant Years Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Vibrant Years Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Vibrant Years Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Vibrant Years Book Club Questions and Recipe

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