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Best Recipe Book for Indian Food

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Showing 1-25 of 45 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Jul 2011, 10:40:21 BST
Last edited by the author on 13 Jul 2011, 11:13:04 BST
cornishlee says:
I have a copy of Madhur Jaffrey's Curry Bible, which I love, but it's not an Indian food recipe book, which I would like to own. I've seen various such recipe books suggested on line, and the main four I keep coming back to are as follows:
An Invitation To Indian Cooking
A Taste of India
Madhur Jaffrey Indian Cooking
The Food of India

Could someone who owns several of these (and/or any others) please discuss their relative merits? Some of these books have many reviews on Amazon, but none which compare them to other books - information which would be most useful, alongside an outline of the book's contents (just recipes, stories, background, etc.)

Posted on 12 Jul 2011, 16:25:16 BST
I have A Taste of India and Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking. The latter is one of my favourite cookery books of the many that I own, and one that I find myself cooking from regularly since I bought it following the BBC series in 1982. The pages are stuck together in places, and the book falls open at some of our most used recipes. Using it now I tend to be slightly lighter on some of the ingredients: tastes have changed a bit over the years, but everything in the book is a delight. A Taste...is also one of my favourites, but for a different reason: I love reading the stories about each region of India covered in the book. I've probably cooked less from this book than the other, but looking at it even now there are place markers scattered throughout. If you want an introduction to the regional variety of Indian food buy The Taste...If you want a book that will delight you with every recipe then Indian cookery is the one. I'm tempted to suggest that you buy both, but that may not be an option.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jul 2011, 11:18:48 BST
cornishlee says:
Thanks - maybe I'll buy one and put the other on my wish list for now...

I note that "An Invitation to Indian Cooking" is the only non-vegetarian Indian cooking book in The Guardian's top 50 of all time that they published last year (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/aug/13/50-best-cookbooks-ofm). I wonder if that's because they think it's a better book than Jaffrey's others or because of it's impact (it was her first).

Posted on 13 Nov 2011, 17:30:30 GMT
Countrywoman says:
Look out in charity or second hand shops for the Curry Club "Indian Restaurant Cook Book" by Pat Chapman. It's my bible. He has also written other books,"Quick after work curries" is one, but they are probably all out of print - I got mine about 20 years ago! It's a simple recipe book with a bit about ingredients and methods etc as well. I have recently used a few of Gordon Ramsey's recipes published on the internet and whilst I don't like his style I have to say his recipes work well and are not too complicated. The book which went with the series GR's Great Escape is on my list now.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Nov 2011, 05:24:34 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 21 Nov 2011, 05:28:16 GMT]

Posted on 21 Nov 2011, 05:30:53 GMT
Amanda says:
Would suggest 50 great curries of India by camellia panjabi....my husband works in India and we have been here a long time, the recipes are very authentic, it has been reprinted with different covers hence I have more than one copy ...annoying!

Posted on 21 Nov 2011, 11:42:32 GMT
PaulDCocker says:
I'd like to suggest this title, My Family's Secret Kitchen: Traditional Recipes from a North Indian Family Kitchen by a relatively unknown Indian lady called Kum Kum Chandra - although a booklet and small it's very informative and the recipes are authentic. I feel I should declare that I worked on this book but I have no financial gain from you buying it, it's just a great little book.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Nov 2011, 12:29:48 GMT
The Curry Secret: How to Cook Real Indian Restaurant Meals at Home

Of the many books that I have, it is the least showy (no pictures), is not part of a tie-in with a TV series, but if you put in the effort (especially so with the curry sauce), the dishes are exquisite.

Of particular note is the tandoori sauce recipe which I think makes marinated chicken or lamb taste fantastic.

Although not advised by the text, I freeze the curry sauce once I have made a batch (rather than after the first stage). It seems to taste fine, so I then have sauce ready to use as a base for the meals.

Interestingly, he is not a great proponent of food colouring, and recounts the story of the time that a couple walked out of his restaurant because one of the dishes wasn't the bright red to which they had become accustomed.

Kris Dhillon's follow-up book is good (although it is in the more contemporary style i.e. huge colour pictures), but I have yet to find an Indian cookery book that I think is better than The Curry Secret.

p.s. I would ignore any "Indian food" recipes authored by any chef who appears on Saturday morning cookery slots.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Nov 2011, 15:20:58 GMT
Try Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni as wellClassic Indian Cookery

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Nov 2011, 17:06:53 GMT
PaulDCocker says:
Thank you for your recommendation - I've just ordered a couple of the books by Kris Dhillon as they look knowledgeable and well published.

Posted on 1 Mar 2012, 17:14:28 GMT
Scotlanda says:
I love Indian cookbooks and I am trying to track down a couple of Madhur Jaffrey's earlier titles. One problem I am experiencing is that some books are 2 separate titles put into one, and others are sold under two different names. Books I am interested in buying are " A Taste of India," Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cookery (or "Cooking") "An Invitation to Indian Cooking" and "Flavours of India." I know that some of these will probably only be available on Marketplace. I would appreciate any information anyone could provide about different editions, or overlap - same recipes published in a different edition. Thanks very much.

Posted on 2 Mar 2012, 12:49:58 GMT
NINA B says:
I own most of madhur Jeffrey's books as I love Indian food,the problem is in all this books they are showing us the proper Indian recipes which most are dry not as we know it from the takeaway,I bought the takeaway secret few months ago,lovely book it doesn't have to many curries but covers most of the takeaway food,the book doesn't have pictures because we all know how your fav recipe looks. I made the chicken tikka and chicken tikka masala both are really really nice,even if you make a single recipe it's worth the money, we enjoy the McDonalds burgers,Indian curries and Chinese dishes the most?

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Mar 2012, 18:21:58 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Mar 2012, 18:26:45 GMT
I got a book as a wedding present back in '83 and it well outlasted the marriage it is called The Curry Cookbook by Charmaine and Ruebon Soloman not sure if it is print still but I have a wall of curry cookbooks and this is by far the best. Also look at the Sainsburys 'A Taste of' range their one on Southern India is very good. Unfortunatly 'authentic' does not really exist or maybe it does? Just enjoy what you cook

Posted on 4 Mar 2012, 16:56:27 GMT
I have a very well used copy of Madhur Jafferys' Indian Cooking - and an equally used copy of her Quick and Easy Indian cooking; both of which are fantastic - so easy to follow. would highly recommned.

Posted on 5 Mar 2012, 06:29:24 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Mar 2012, 06:34:03 GMT
I still have a copy of the first book I bought and I still think its the best for the recipes. Not all the recipes have pictures, but the book comes from the early seventies before that wave of new cookery books with the full page plates for everything. It is called Step by Step Guide to Indian Cookery by Khalid Aziz. (He only ever produced one other book called the Encyclopedia of Indian Cookery which I didn't like as much.)

Back in 1974 there were few Indian Resturants and fewer books on how to cook curry. My first curry back then was made with the recipe and ingredients from an Indian friend's shop - so this was the only book I could find. But it was a great find and every curry in this book is a winner. Divided into regional chapters it takes you though a basics of each area and a selection of recipes. There are no ingredients that are unusual by today's standards - although back in 1974 it was fortunate I was living in London. There's everything you need to cook all you have ever come across in a resturant; poppadoms, parathas, samosas, bhajis, tikka masalla, nan bread, curries with yoghurt, coconut, or tomatoes, depending on the region.

I had many of the books by the best known authors over the past three and a half decades - but this book is still the best. Check out availability - Step by Step Guide to Indian Cooking - how about that for 1p!

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2012, 11:25:07 GMT
cornishlee says:
Thanks Chris. Another very good book of the same era is Indian Vegetarian Cookery by Jack Santa Maria. I was pleased to see it named in the Guardian's fifty greatest cookbooks a couple of years ago.

Posted on 5 Mar 2012, 11:30:20 GMT
Good call cornish...it's hard to get through all thr marketing of books now and get back to the basics and good content...so many books by actors, celebities, and good tv presenters, ther's not much room for actual curry chefs!

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2012, 11:46:24 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Mar 2012, 11:49:18 GMT
Scotlanda says:
Thank you so much for all the feedback on worthwhile titles. I like Jack Santa Maria's Greek Vegetarian CookeryGreek Vegetarian Cookery and I also remember an Indian friend mentioning his Indian cookery books. The book by Khalid AzizStep by Step Guide to Indian Cooking
sounds another good one. I'm going to order them today! I am also interested in knowing the best Madhur Jaffrey book from your list Cornishlee. I know that these books are also considered "vintage" and are far removed from Saturday morning TV slots as another commentator so aptly put it.
What's confusing for me is American titles being different for the same book ie Curry Easy and At Home with Madhur Jaffrey: Simple, Delectable Dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka Can anyone help me with this? Thanks.

Posted on 5 Mar 2012, 12:31:49 GMT
I've never really got on well with Madhur's books. The curries work out ok but only ok for me. But I can't argue with the number of books she has sold and continues to write. Just goes to show how many different audiences there must be. I tend to go nowadys for the ones that don't have well known authors but great reviews.

Posted on 5 Mar 2012, 14:05:14 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 5 Mar 2012, 14:10:14 GMT]

Posted on 5 Mar 2012, 14:13:08 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Mar 2012, 14:18:14 GMT
I have found the recipes in Indian Cooking by Lalita Ahmed to be very good and very similar to the way I was taught by my mother. I strongly recommend it and would like to add that I have no connection whatsoever to the author!
Also Anjum Anand's books are good. Another good authentic Indian cooking author is Vicky Bhogal Cooking Like Mummyji but I think that her books are out of print. You may be able to get them from the library though.
I have Madhur Jaffrey's books too but didn't use them much. HTH

Posted on 7 Mar 2012, 02:34:33 GMT
Last edited by the author on 7 Mar 2012, 02:53:50 GMT
B. Nash says:
Try http://www.indianfoodsco.com for Indian food. Or, try this for Bangladeshi cusine, which is what most "Indian" restaurants base their menu on: http://www.velki.com/link.asp?cat=4

Hope this helps.

Posted on 7 Mar 2012, 06:34:21 GMT
I think most curry recipe fans are trying to get away from resturant curries at home - even the industry is wondering if it should change from the standard 100 dishes you get throughout the UK. I have heard much talk of setting up places where you can only eat "staff menus" where you just get what's on for the day, or more specialised or regional establishments - but not much change so far in my part of the World. I think resturants have estabished a niche like a McDonalds or KFC and the British love stability and 'brands'.

Posted on 7 Mar 2012, 10:44:19 GMT
cornishlee says:
In addition to The Food of India I've recently had India: The Cookbook recommended to me. I haven't actually seen it yet but it looks promising - another one to add to the list of those to be considered.

C.R.Downing is right. My purpose in setting up this thread was not to find the best recipe for a chicken tikka massala. I used the word"authentic" at the time and perhaps that was wrong since to a certain extent it seems to be open to interpretation. There are several books which offer recipes for the 'authentic curry house' experience in your home and these, like any others, must have varying merits. To get a book that offers authentic Indian cooking as experienced on the sub-continent necessitates a rather different approach which has to accommodate the enormous variety of foods and cultures. Hence my citing of the two (large) books above.

Effectively, this discussion was begun in looking for an Indian Made in Italy: Food and Stories or Thai Food.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Mar 2012, 15:25:58 GMT
Rofrano says:
Agree. Great book, have used it for years.
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Initial post:  12 Jul 2011
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