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Indian cookbook reccomendation ?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
i'm in the market for a cookbook on Indian food that covers the basics, tikka masala, curries, kormas, bhujia, etc. hopefully the book will not only list recipes, but explain the process, reasoning of the steps, reccomends alternate ingredients if authenic ingredients are not on hand. i'm looking to prepare these dishes in my apt. kitchen, no tandori oven or high temp wood fires.

any suggestion?
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post #2 of 11
I can suggest a few websites, that basically deal with at home type ingredients which you should be able to find at neighborhood grocery stores (expensive) or indian stores (nearly a third in price).

There are a couple of other threads on this forum that you might want to search for:

www.bawarchi.com (home cooks, professional cooks, etc.)
www.rupenrao.com (posting from home cooks as well)
www.sanjeevkapoor.com (mostly paid but he's one of the celebrity chefs who knows how to cook)

do go deep on bawarchi.com as there are a lot of downloadable PDF books.
do let me know if you need suggestions for any ingredients to substitute.

me and a lot of other people on this forum are very knowledgeable about Indian food.

another small pointer, if you are looking for meat related dishes, don't forget to expand your search to pakistani foods.
don't have sites at the top of my head but their cuisine is more meat oriented.
post #3 of 11
Suvir Saran, who has visited here in the past, is the author of a wonderful cookbook called Indian Home Cooking. I own it and I highly recommend it. Suvir emphasizes using ingredients you can find in most markets and, when those ingredients aren't available, suggests substitutes. He wrote it for those of us who are not literate about Indian cooking, but who have a desire to learn.

Take a look:

http://www.suvir.com/
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post #4 of 11

Indian cookbook

I recommend "The Tumeric Trail" by Raghavan Iyer. It's a great book and includes traditions as well.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
thanks for the reccomendations. the pakastani route is also a good one. basically that's what i'm looking into, north india/pakastan. so much to learn and try.

there's lot's of good info on the posted sites and i'll definitely be hunting down those books to take a peek.
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post #6 of 11
Tikka masalas, kormas and bhujia are all Punjabi cuisine. Punjabi food is peasant food, farmer food. The problem with cookbooks is that they tend to be written by intelligensia. These educated authors tend to approach the food with greater complexity/sophistication. There's nothing wrong with complexity, but if you have your heart set on simple comfort food, sophisticated food doesn't cut it. Just as a native New Yorker would have trouble writing a book on authentic Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine, an author from urban New Delhi is most probably not going to capture the essence of Punjabi farm cuisine. India needs a Betty Crocker. Someone who will amass, digest and present rural knowledge/customs. As of yet, there is none.

Besides being Punjabi, tikka masalas, kormas and bhujia are all restaurant cuisine. A typical restauranter isn't purchasing a Madhur Jaffrey book to teach his/her chef how to prepare the dishes. He/she's using family recipes passed down (probably orally) through generations. He/she is also utilizing tricks for making food taste better that you won't find in cookbooks, such as adding extra salt, extra fat/butter/cream, sugar and MSG.

In other words, if you have very little knowledge of regional Indian cuisine, cookbooks can provided you with a decent introduction to techniques and ingredients, but if you want a book that will re-create the korma at your favorite Punjabi restaurant... it doesn't exist. At least, not to my knowledge, and I've looked far and wide. As far as good jumping off points, I'd say Sameen Rushdie (Salman's sister) is a good author. Her book can be hard to find, though. Most cookbooks will give you a good introduction. None of the recipes they present will end up tasting quite 'right' but from an introductory perspective, they're all pretty good. Try to stick with books written within the last couple of decades by authors of Indian descent.

My advice. Befriend a Punjabi. A working class Punjabi, if possible. Befriend a restauranter. Get as much information out of them as you can. Taste/smell/cook with a multitude of spices so that you can detect them in the food you come across. Analyze every meal you eat at your favorite restaurant. Enlist others with sensitive palates to do the same. Study other Regional Indian Cuisines so that you can understand what ingredients NOT to use in your quest to replicate Punjabi cuisine.

The potential for culinary bliss is well worth the effort.
post #7 of 11
Anything by Julie Sahni or Madhur Jaffrey.
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post #8 of 11
Another very popular indian chef is tarla dalal. Her books are listed on amazon but only the vegetarian ones.
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post #9 of 11
As a home cook of 30 years I can pretty much turn my hand to most things,however,up until recently the one thing I could never replicate was a curry that tasted anything like one from an Indian restaurant.
That all changed last week.The reason?I bought The Curry Secret by Kris Dhillon from Amazon.My friends couldn't believe I hadn't ordered take out!
Trust me,if you can get the spices,this book is incredible.Only $7.Bargain of the year for Curry freaks like me!:lips:
post #10 of 11
I posted some Indian recipes but more towards Malaysian style if you like to have a view... just click on my banner below.
post #11 of 11
I have a Julie Sahni book and like it very much.
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