I'm not a great cook, but I do like my food, and I often eat an Indian meal and say 'I wish I could make this'. Usually it's the little things I like, such as a mango lassi, dal, poori or a decent vegetable samosa. But when I look at Indian cookbooks they never include everything I want and I either feel the recipes are too authentic and time-consuming with ingredients I simply can't get, or they are 'cheats' in which some of the ingredients come out of a jar. What I want is a book that's authentic without being over complicated, and that isn't stuffed with ingredients I can't get. This is it.
Looking through the contents, there's a good range of dishes. There are 11 vegetarian main dishes (plus more in the rice and bean section), 6 fish dishes and 13 meat ones. In addition there are 11 rice dishes, including pilau (with pea, lamb or chicken variations) and biriani (lamb, chicken or lentil recipes) and 11 bean and lentil-based dishes. There's a recipe for chappatis, complete with step-by-step photos, flat bread, naan, pooris and parotha. You'll find pickles and chutneys, snacks, drinks and even puddings.
The book is written in a chatty style, like Nigella Lawson's How to Eat: Pleasures and Principles of Good Food (Cookery)
with useful information and tips in the introductions to each dish. For example, in the naan bread recipe it says 'These work best with a combination of dry-frying and a fierce blast from an overhead grill.' Under the Stuffed Chillies, it suggests you scoop out the seeds from inside the chillis to reduce the heat. This is the kind of hands-on information I want, which proves that the author has actually made the dishes, which I have been told is not always the case with cookbooks.
I have to go now - looking through this book has made me hungry, and I am going to follow the steps and photos to make some samosas. Now, which filling recipe will I choose - will it be vegetable, lamb or chicken?