Indian food is something I have always enjoyed, and yes in my youth I did the Vindaloo thing with my mates after a night out, but being able to cook it has always eluded me - partly by being daunted by the recipes and partly through being unable to find the ingredients. Many years ago I was given an Indian recipe book (late seventies) but for all the use it was it might have been written in a foreign language. Half of the ingredients I had never heard of and most of the others were almost impossible to obtain.
Times have changed since then but I have still regarded Indian cooking as a bit of a mystery - and, if I'm honest, all those ingredients seemed like too much trouble. But that was before . . . before I got my hands on a copy of 'Brit Spice' written by Manju Malhi.
You collect cookery books over the years and most of them, after an initial glance, are confined to reside, unopened, on the kitchen bookshelf. It is only one or two that become dog-eared and covered in food stains - the really useful ones! Brit Spice is destined to be one of the latter.
You have to get yourself a copy of this cookery book even if you have never aspired to cook Indian food. The recipes are fascinating, and make for a good read in themselves - it is one of the first cookery books I have sat and read a bit like reading a novel. But it is not just the recipes, Brit Spice dispels the illusion that it is impossible to cook Indian food. It explains what is involved. Do you know what Garam Masala is? I thought it was a strange name for some obscure Indian spice - it's not, it's a mixture of spices and "each Indian household produces its own unique blend of spices". The book tells you how to make your own.
Brit Spice is the book that will teach you about Indian food from utensils through spices to a complete range of recipes, some traditional Indian and some not quite so traditional, such as Masala Mushy Peas!
The book is well written in a relaxed style which makes it both easy to read, as well as easy to follow when preparing a recipe. All the information you require is contained within the book and none of the recipes are over complicated. A nice touch are the personal comments Manju has added to each recipe.
Don't wait to put this on your Christmas list, go out and get it now. There are so many wonderful and surprising recipes to make.