Pros: A great book lots of great recipes and some beautiful colour pictures, a great gift idea.
Cons: A little too big to use in the kitchen, a hybrid travel/cook/picture book.
I have always loved Indian food but like many who have never travelled to india itself i have often wondered how authentic the Indian food i have eaten actually is. This book has convinced me of one thing to truly learn about Indian food you have to go to India. Indian food is so diverse and complex that many visits are needed to get your head around this marvellous cuisine. That is precisely what Christine Manfield has done.
Christine has a solid reputation as a chef who is all about food. In a recent interview she thanked her patient stuff who have borne with her desire to travel and to research. Her focus has been on the food and to understand Indian food she cites multiple visits over many years. This book explores the very heart of Indian cooking, not restaurants and chefs alone but also mothers and grandmothers cooking for their families. This book travels to the homes and hearts of India itself.
Recipes are the heart of a cook book and this one has 250 of them, well laid out with easy to follow instructions and authentic ingredient lists. I have cooked a number of recipes and found the instructions clear and easy to follow and providing a great dish at the end.
The most popular dish I cooked Cabbage Thoran a really nice dish from Kerela.
Fry 1 tsp brown mustard seeds until they pop
Add 12 curry leaves
1 finely diced white onion
3 sliced green chillies
350gms shredded cabbage leaf
1 tsp salt
Sprinkle 4 tbs of water over the top and allow cabbage to soften
Stir through grated coconut and 1tsp of turmeric
Serve with rice and garnish with curry leaf.
Another popular dish was the Ladakhi Chicken Curry
This is a very mild curry, ideal for people super sensitive to chilli.
Blend into a paste in a food processor
2 red onions
4 chopped tomatoes
1 tbs grated ginger
2 green chills
1tsp chilli powder
In a pot add
2tbs vegetable oil
500gms of diced chicken
Cook until half cooked
Stir through the paste made earlier
Simmer for 45 mins without a lid
Serve with rice and coriander.
To call this a cookbook alone would not even begin to do it justice. Its 450 plus pages are packed with information about the various regions of india. There are travel guides, places of interest and recommendations about where to stay. Its not really a travel guide but it does contain a wealth of information about India.
The physical size of the book is quite something, its a weighty volume and to use as a cookbook was a bit to big to have in the kitchen (a quick photo of the recipe on the phone worked well) then again it really is a wonderful coffee table book. Not one for showing off: although with its hundred or so colour plates its great for coin this; more so as one people will pick up and browse with interest.
I love this book and recommend it to anyone with an interest in India and its food. The recipes I have tried have been great and the book really lends itself to a leisurely Sunday afternoon. This would make a really great Christmas present.