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Indian Home Cooking

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
A truly beautiful book . . . in all respects. It is beautifully put together with some of the best food photography I have seen. This compliments an excellent style of writing which is both easy to understand and very informative.

Writing book reviews is to my mind always difficult, especially when you have been asked to do so by an author. Your initial reaction is one of trepidation. What if it is rubbish? How do I avoid causing offense? It is not like a Bank reference which is always good and just has different degrees of goodness! You can not do that when writing about a book as it soon becomes apparent that you are just writing to appease the author. I had no need to worry when Indian Home Cooking arrived on my doorstep, all the way from the States.

My first reaction when I opened the package was "Wow, what a beautiful book". As you do I flicked through the pages to get a feel for what the book was like. I was sold from the word go. As I said at the start, the photography is stunning (on the basis that you like food) and the whole book smacks of quality. Each page is of a high quality glossy paper with each recipe clearly laid out one to a page.

There are thirteen sections in the book:
  • soups
  • dals
  • vegetables
  • rice
  • poultry
  • meats
  • fish and shellfish
  • appetizers and snacks
  • raitas
  • flatbreads and crackers
  • pickles and chutneys
  • sweets
  • drinks

Each section has its own introduction which is followed by the recipes and there is no confusion as to what the recipe is as they are all given their English title with the Indian title printed below. At the top of each recipe you will find a brief description and information about the dish followed by the ingredients. The list of ingredients have been printed in bold which makes it very easy to refer to the recipe when preparing. The cooking instructions are clear and easy to follow.

At the back of the book there is a short glossary which tells you about some of the ingredients you might not be familiar with. For example:

ASAFETIDA (HEENG): A sand-colored powder made from the root of a fennel-like plant. When cooked, asefetida has a pungent flavor and smell reminiscent of the flavor of onion and garlic. It is used in the . . . . .

This is a very different book to the Indian cookery books I have come across in the past - they scared me off trying to cook Indian dishes as I did not really understand them nor know most of the ingredients. This book seeks to and achieves the breaking down of the barriers by allowing every day home cooks like you and me, to create for ourselves, enjoyable Indian cuisine in our own home. This is best summed up by taking a few key phrases from Suvir's Introduction:
  • I do not pretend to have compiled a collection of "classic" Indian recipes
  • Even in India, Indian food has changed dramatically in the last fifty years
  • This is my generation of Indian cuisine
  • I got my first and most important training in the kitchen of my New Delhi home from a man named Panditji
  • . . . the best way to teach people to cook Indian food is to demystify it for them
  • I've organized this book in the same way hat I teach my classes, by starting with straightforward recipes that you can learn to embroider
  • . . . so whenever possible I've called for common supermarket ingredients, easy to find and familiar to use

SUVIR SARAN has received accolades from the New York Times and The New Yorker for his regional Indian cooking. His new restaurant, Devi, opened in September 2004. He is a contributing editor to Food Arts magazine and teaches Indian cooking classes that have been featured in the New York Times. He lives in New York.

STEPHANIE LYNESS is a regional food critic for the New York Times who has collaborated on several cookbooks, including Second Helpings from Union Square Café. She lives in Connecticut.

To summarise:

You want to put this book at the top of your wanted list. First class book well written and beautifully illustrated. When is the follow up going to be published?

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post #2 of 4

Truly Inspirational

Suvir's latest book "Indian Home Cooking" has all the reasons to be one of the best seller in NYC. He has really defined recipes, great pics and most important very simple.
Vikas Khanna
post #3 of 4

Indian Home Cooking Cookbook

"Indian Home Cooking" is also connected with a wonderful new restaurant in New York City called DEVI which has some wonderful (and expensive) food. Go there if you get a chance, the dining room is small but visually breathtaking.
post #4 of 4
Suvir has posted here at Chef Talk Cafe. We haven't heard from him for a while; perhaps this book is the reason.

I've been tentatively exploring Indian food, but a recent meal convinced me I'm ready to bring it into my kitchen. I had an excellent dinner at Passage to India in Naples, Florida. The flavors left me wanting more. I'll look for this book as a place to start. (Thank goodness we have Penzey's Spices nearby!)
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