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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
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on 21 November 2006
I have been making curries now since I was about twelve years old, but the best thing that ever happened to me was getting hold of this book about twenty five years ago. I am now onto my second copy (the first one having worn away with use!) and still wowing my friends with subtle yet bursting with flavour dishes. All the recipes are incrediably simple, and there is a fantastic range of unusual dishes, for example black pea curry, which is my favourite and I have only ever found before in a restaurant called the Khyber in Westbourne Park Road. I am moved to write this review as I have just given up eating meat again, and am about to get Jack's chinese vegetarian book and see if it's as good.
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on 3 June 2013
I'd read quite a few good reviews of this cookery book, and was happy to find it on Amazon. My edition doesn't look the same as the one featured here, although the ISBN is quite correct. I tracked this gem of a book down after reading about it on Chowhound and E-Gullet. I'm interested in Indian food, and have other books by Madhur Jaffrey, Khalid Aziz, Yamuna Devi and Anjum Anand, to name just a few. All these writers are excellent, and have published books with beautiful photographs throughout. Jack Santa Maria has a great selection of recipes in this small unassuming paperback, which contains no photographs at all. The anecdotes and tips and valuable information on the use of spices, and how to blend your own masalas goes beyond what you would expect in a paperback of this size.
Chapters include:
Breads, Pancakes and Dumplings
Sweets and Desserts
Pickles and Chutney
One recipe that I had read about was his Banana Curry - Kela Ki Kari, and we decided to give it a try during the week. It was easy to prepare, didn't require a list of unfamiliar ingredients, and we served it with shop-bought Naan, and Plain Pulau Rice, another deliciously easy recipe from this book. Jack Santa Maria has created simple yet very authentic recipes that are made in no time at all. The Semolina Cookies - Nan Khatai, have an incredibly rich and crumbly texture, and the cardamom flavouring made it impossible to stop at only one or two, when served with a nice cup of tea to round off the meal.
If you are looking for authentic delicious recipes, I can recommend this book which appeared on the OFM'S listing of the Top 50 Best Cookbooks of All Time.
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on 24 November 2006
I got a copy of this book 21 years ago, when I was 21 and broke. I managed to eat well with the help of this book and the fruit and veg scavenged from the stuff left over at the end of the day at Lancaster market. It is the only book I have from that period and has survived about 50 house moves (not an exaggeration), so that should tell you how much I value it. It has a near mythical status for me and may well have the same with you if you get a copy.
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on 5 May 2012
This book ticks very few of the boxes for a modern cookery book. It's not by a celebrity chef, there are no sumptuous pictures and it is organised in a manner that I've been finding quite tricky to use for nearly forty years.

I was given this book as a present the year it was published and the pages are cockled and stained, the corners dogeared, it's seen some hard use! Maybe I'm more careful of books even in the kitchen than I was as the callow youth I was then, and maybe now we all get back to the computer to source recipes, print out a recipe, spill stuff on it and throw it away. But I frequently still return to this book

There is no better introduction to cooking vegetarian food of any sort, let alone food that requires different ingredients and some different techniques (speaking as someone whose Mum and Dad were good cooks but never cooked an Indian meal in their lives) Clear, concise and above all encouraging and tempting this is a must have cookery book. If you only buy one book this year, this should be it
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on 27 July 2007
I lent this cookbook to a new vegetarian 6 years ago, and have finally been forced to repurchase it as it was never given back and I have sorely missed it. It is an excellent book, and along with Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookery by David Scott, they rank as probably the most used in my collection of around 90 cookbooks.
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on 2 August 2009
I have to agree with the other enthusiastic reviewers here - this is one of my oldest cookbooks and a terrific, concise collection of simple yet tasty Indian dishes. A few of the recipes are particularly scrumptious and distinctive: if you only make one dish from this book, be sure it's the BANANA CURRY. Serve it up for a gathering of friends - and I defy anyone (except banana haters - do such people exist?) to resist wolfing their portion down and asking for more! Yummmm.....
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on 28 June 2013
My copy of this was bought 25 years ago and it has some good recipes for the time but there are no images of what the finished product should look like and we expect more from cookery books now. But it is not completely vegetarian, maybe some of the recipes have changed since then but some of them require GELATINE, this is not vegetarian by any stretch of the immagination.
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on 14 May 2016
Although this book was published in the seventies it is very informative I feel. It is straight forward and has some recipes and masalas which I have never heard of. A big section on Indian Sweets and Indian drinks, also making and bottling Indian Chutneys. Very authentic. Only one little niggle, instructions are fairly brief, and no pictures. However I cook Indian fairly regularly so not a problem for me. A newbie might struggle a little, possibly, but the recipes are very straightford, and likewise the ingredients. Overall a very good little book.
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on 5 December 2010
Like several other reviewers I got this book decades ago and fell in love with the flavours and smells these recipes make, so unlike traditional takeaway fare. I have bought, lent and never got back three copies so far, so was very relieved to see that it has been reprinted. Last year I made some coriander pickle for a street party. It ended up with four people fighting over the leftovers, despite my explaining how simple it is to make. And now my son is moving out, so he'll get a copy as a leaving present - may it make him as many friends as it has me.
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on 4 November 2016
I bought an earlier edition of this book in 1977 and have been using it ever since. I am a big fan of Indian food so have bought most of the other big names in Indian veggie cookery, but this one is totally brilliant. Have never cooked anything from here that didn't turn out wonderful. No huge long lists of ingredients and spices, but somehow the end result is tasty and delicious. Buy it - your family and friends will thank you. As another reviewer send this book is iconic
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