Neelam Batta was born in New Delhi, India, and lived there until she got married and moved to Los Angeles with her husband, Pradeep, in 1973. Living in America, far from home and with no Indian restaurants and no Indian grocery stores in sight, she faced a crucial challenge-how to enjoy the foods she knew and loved. She set out to recreate the dishes with the ingredients she had available to her. Although she learned the basics of Indian cooking at her mother's side as she was growing up, she had no formal training in Indian cuisine. Her knowledge was developed as she recreated dish after dish in her Los Angeles kitchen, as she visited and toured India to understand more about the regional foods and cooking styles, and as she sampled regional dishes and home-cooked favorites and talked about Indian cooking with friends, family, and restaurant chefs from all over India. Her re-creations of the classics and her own adaptations won raves from her friends and her family, which, over time, included two daughters, Sumita and Supriya and son-in-law Monti. She soon found herself being invited to teach at local cooking schools in Santa Monica, where she has since taught cooking for 18 years. She has written two cookbooks, The Indian Vegetarian and Chilis to Chutneys. She has also been a guest and on-air instructor for national TV cooking show in the United States and India. She continues to live in Santa Monica, California, with her husband, Pradeep.