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Gordon Ramsay's Great Escape: 100 of My Favourite Indian Recipes Hardcover – 7 Jan 2010
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“Gordon unveils his hottest recipes ever […] forget those takeaways”
The Times Weekend
“The 100 recipes are for curious entry-level cooks as well as experienced hands on the lookout for unusual spice combos, as Ramsay has gone beyond the curry house in his search for authentic recipes […] recipes are properly tested, the instructions clear and the photography is a visual feast”
About the Author
Gordon Ramsay's radical career change at 17 years old led him to London and to fame and fortune as chef, restaurant-empire-builder and celebrity. Gordon has published nine bestselling recipe books, a hugely successful autobiography and has starred in a stream of successful television series including the award-winning Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Hell’s Kitchen and The F Word. He was appointed OBE in 2006.
Top customer reviews
This book is a "spin off" to a British television series that saw Ramsay travel around India, learning from some of the country's top chefs and regular street-food cooks alike what real Indian food is. What people think of Indian food can often be a pale imitation of the real authentic dish or, as in many cases, the dishes one enjoys at home are not even known of in the country of their alleged birth.
There is no standard Indian fare as each region has a wide-range of specialities, delicacies and signature dishes. Where commonality can be found there will still be regional influences based on practical and historical reasons. Here Ramsay gets to learn about what makes many of these dishes tick, whether it be taste, visual appearance, nature of ingredients or even a cultural difference.
Many cookery books featuring Indian food often manage to confuse the less-experienced reader by over-complicating matters or becoming intimidating through their desire to be authentic. Ramsay, whilst trying to keep the food true to its roots, acknowledges and accepts some practical differences - not everybody will have access to all of the cooking implements and fresh ingredients that would be desirable yet with a slight compromise and the use of ingredients that are increasingly-available in larger supermarkets around the world you will still get a dish that could be fit for a King, a Maharajah or a good family get together. With a little bit of effort one can enjoy a taste of India from your own kitchen.
At times one might forget this is principally a recipe book due to the wonderful colourful photographs and light, free-flowing text. It is like having a quality informal travel guide with a lot of recipes and expert advice thrown in. Each recipe is well-presented with much background information, tips and tricks and, as one would expect, one does not need to be a professional chef to follow and understand the instructions.
It would have been nice if more of the knowledge gained from his research could have been added to the book to add further "background impact" but then the book might have been a series of volumes and not so kitchen-friendly. Similar a version of the book with copies of the television series on a DVD or Blu-Ray disk would have been great, but licensing and technical issues involved with the television world still get in the way. If you get the chance to see the series or to buy a DVD/Blu-Ray copy you should do so for additional benefit.
This reviewer, himself an avid eater of Indian foods, found quite a lot of interesting recipes to try in the future as well as a lot of information nuggets to file away. This is not a classic reference book nor a classic recipe book but a jolly good hybrid. A sort of informal learning experience. This book really should be considered if you have enjoyed Indian food and wish to learn a little more about it and, hopefully, have an interest to try making some for yourself.
The book's very reasonable price makes it a bargain - particularly when you know it will be heavily-discounted by many larger outlets due to the television series tie in, meaning that it is going to be affordable to even more people. For less than the price of couple of typical takeaway meals, you could get the knowledge to make your own in the future!
Gordon Ramsay's Great Escape.
But, in reality, it is far more.
With raised lettering to the D/J's main title, a relaxed and still rugged GR adorns the front cover, sharing his enthusiasm for India - its food and its life.
'...My own love affair with Indian food started when my mother made me my first curry as a child.
Granted, Mum's inauthentic curries were nothing like what we're used to today - hers were mostly flavoured with curry powder with the occasional handful of sultanas thrown in - but to us the flavours seemed exotic and mesmerising and I was hooked. Since I left home and started working, Friday night curries have become a ritual. Like most people, I have had favourite dishes, which I would order time and time again, but overall I felt pretty comfortable with the food and thought that I knew quite a bit about Indian cuisine.
How wrong I was!..........
...When the opportunity came for a culinary adventure in India, the choice was simple. This was the chance of a lifetime to escape from the grind of daily life and discover the truth about Indian cuisine....'
From the d/j inner flap:
'.......to experience for himself the stunning diversity of this extraordinary country's culinary traditions......Gordon immersed himself in all that India has to offer, tasting his way from region to region.....
Throughout this epic trip, GR cooked with some of India's most accomplished chefs, acquiring and refining new cooking techniques with a staggering variety of ingredients.........'
The use of the adjective 'staggering' is certainly not understated!
The glossary contains the various ingredients with descriptions, essentially a useful guide to what needs to be in the store-cupboard if new to Indian cooking. So if you are not sure about 'Asafoetida', or 'Jaggery', fear not....GR explains, as he does throughout the book - giving his usual basic definition of anything mildly 'different', e.g.:
From 'Galouti Kebabs'
'Galouti means 'melt in the mouth', and these delicious lamb patties come from Uttar Pradesh, a region renowned for its kebabs.......'
along with the odd pre-warning about (perhaps) a harder-to-source ingredient, depending on what one has access to, e.g.:
From 'Aloo dhai puri:
'You will need to make a trip to your nearest Indian grocer to secure a box of ready-made mini 'pani puri' shells and a bag of 'sev mamra' (crispy snacks consisting of a mixture of puffed rice, fried yellow gram noodles and spiced peanuts). Thereafter, it will only take minutes to assemble these delicious bite-sized treats.'
And to justify the recipe selection we are reminded that this publication is based on personal experience and does not aim to be an Indian Cooking 'bible':
'I may not have covered every classic dish of every region during my relatively short culinary tour (indeed this book contains some recipes that were simply inspired by my travels and some of these classic dishes)..........'
Overall, this is a well-produced chunky tome.
The durable board covers carry the same picture as the d/j and open to 273 high quality pages, split over chapters:
1. Starters & snacks (pg 31 - 61) 14 recipes
2. Fish (pg 64 - 97) 14 recipes
3. Poultry & meat (pg 100 - 129) 14 recipes
4. Vegetarian (pg 132 - 159) 13 recipes
5. Breads & rice (pg162- 195) 15 recipes
6. Chutneys & accompaniments (pg 198- 227) 14 recipes
7. Sweets & drinks (pg 230 -267) 16 recipes
along with a 15-page introduction - basically a potted summary of the tour - the aforementioned glossary, a concise index, winding up with GR's acknowledgements and finishing with a dedication to the late Alex Robinson.
Each chapter opens with a double-page spread, with an on-location shot on the left hand page and the list of the following recipes on the other.
Each easy-to-follow recipe follows the same layout and colour distribution - with the title, an opening paragraph and the method, in the main part. The number of servings and the list(s) of ingredients appear in the 'grey area', making it easy to find, refer to and compile a shopping list. A pink 'flash' reminds you what of the chapter. A few recipes spill onto another page.
Generally, there is a good balance of photography throughout, full credit to Emma Lee and Jonathan Gregson - arguably a little light on the number of finished dishes - and, GR does feature - as is the norm!
A small taste of the other recipes contained within:
* Malia chicken kebabs
* Spicy vegetable and paneer wraps
* Bengali prawn curry
* Baked whole sea bass with green masala paste
* Chilli beef fry
* Lamb korma
* Black-eyed bean curry
* Saag aloo
* Coconut rice
* Pilau rice with meatballs
* Tadka dal
* Green mango chutney
* Ginger fruit punch
* Masala chai
* Rosewater kulfi
My favourite to date, tried and tasted:
'Cauliflower Tandoori, with Fried Onion Rings', which I made for some vegetarian friends, although I did make use of a rather large cauliflower rather than investing in the four baby ones the recipe uses. As the method requires cutting into large florets, and blanching, I don't think we lost too much and due to the beautiful warm weather we were able to grill the marinated cauli on the BBQ (first airing this year) - rather than using the oven - and did manage to achieve that 'mild smoky element' GR enthuses about, if a 'tandoor' isn't available:
'Many Indian villages have community ovens where families take their marinated meats, fish and vegetables to cook in blazing hot tandoors........'
Monkfish moilee - the first fish curry I have ever done.
Chicken palak - what a good use of spinach
Chicken badami - mild and delicious
Chicken biryani - the best! Beautiful flavours really work together ( lovely rice)
Jeera rice superb with egg curry. ( Never thought and egg curry would taste so good)
Now buy spices in larger quantities to keep up!
Thank you, Gordon!