This book is an undisputed classic - so I was told. On my search for authentic Indian recipes, Julie Sahni's books were also recommended by culinary experts. While both have undoubted merits, this one is a personal favourite.
The major plus of this volume is to have the recipes sorted out by regions. Although Indian cuisine finds its common link in spices, it's amazing to see how differently they are used in various parts of India. Madhur Jaffrey delineates these subtle differences and if you know your spices, you could almost taste the dish right out of the book!
Her prose is engaging - most of her anecdotes were culled from her own culinary journey throughout the sub-continent. From enjoying bhelpuris in Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai to enjoying picnics at the Fort in Delhi, she draws the reader into her personal experiences effortlessly.
The recipes are notoriously foolproof - the success of one inevitably leads to another, and another. The ingredients are so carefully measured that every spice is allowed to make a subtle assault on your palate.
As if these weren't enough for the fullest recommendation, there are pictures to complement the prose - the amused expression of a komcha-wallah (snack man), a boat floating on Lake Dal in Srinagar - little vignettes of the country to rival the best travel guide to India.
In all, a splendid achievement and a book to have and keep for a lifetime- especially in it's present hardcover incarnation.