16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
This book is just stunning,
This review is from: India with Passion: Modern Regional Home Cooking (Mitchell Beazley Food) (Hardcover)This book is just stunning. Perhaps a foolish opening statement as by saying that I have stolen my own thunder . . . but I just cannot get away from how impressed I was by this book from the minute I got it.
Indian cooking for me has always been something to be enjoyed down the local Indian restaurant. Far too complex for me to attempt to cook it, added to which I have never known what to cook. It is easy to say cook a curry but that is not what Indian cooking is about. Yes there are curry recipes in the book but it is not about making curry - it is about cooking real, tasteful Indian dishes.
Indian cuisine must be the most diverse in the world. India has thirty-one states and territories and fifteen different languages, each spoken in different dialects, and this diversity is reflected in its cuisine. This is the sort of information I gained from the introduction to the book which very quickly brings you up to speed as to what Indian cooking is all about and how and why it differs so much from one part of the country to another.
I think it is the first time that an author of such a book has taken the time to write about what matters to a complete novice. So many cookery or recipe books assume an initial knowledge about the subject which can be very off putting if you are considering trying a recipe for the first time. Manju Malhi has taken the time to explain the origins of the different dishes and about the historical and cultural influences which have shaped modern day Indian cuisine.
The book is broken down into four sections:
Each section has its own introduction telling about the type of dishes that are eaten in the region, how they came about and how they have developed into the dishes we know today and many more that we have yet to experience.
"Delhi, the medieval Mogul capital of India, and its surrounding areas of Punjab, the wheat bowl of India, and Kashmir, the jewel of the North, in particular has retained the essence of Mughlai cuisine - a cuisine that the British are familiar with and that is now served up in many Indian restaurants in the western world."
Next time you are dining with friends at an Indian restaurant you can impress them with your small talk - there are probably not too many people that know the Indian cuisine we enjoy is thanks to the Mogul empire! This is just a brief example of the knowledge and background imparted in the book.
Do not be misled though. The book is about recipes and how to prepare and cook the dishes. The background information is there only as part of the whole and the ultimate aim of the book is for you to create your own Indian dishes . . . and with this book it is easy.
Each recipe has its own page with an opening paragraph telling you about the dish. There is no having to guess from the ingredient list what the dish might turn out like. The list of ingredients are clearly listed and the preparation and cooking instructions are precise and well written. Manju Malhi has written this book very much with the user in mind.
I have to say that I was so excited about what I found between the covers that within less than twenty-four hours of receiving the book I was serving up to my family Malai Murgh Tikka accompanied by Jeera Chawal (Creamy Chicken Tikka with Rice with Cumin Seeds). It was so popular that I have been pestered ever since to either do it again or to try something else from India with Passion. My family are certainly passionate about it and I can see that this is one of my books that is destined to end up food stained and dog eared!
And finally, having raved about the written word, I must mention the photography. The book has been beautifully put together and has been truly enhanced by the quality and style of photographs used to illustrate it.
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