Top positive review
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Undoubtedly the best all round curry book on the market right now
on 13 June 2009
I've been taking the art of cooking south Asian food quite seriously for some years now, collecting a considerable number of books on the subject. This book by Camellia Panjabi is undoubtedly the best all round (balancing results with ease of recipes) Indian curry recipe book on the market right now.
The recipes are preceded by 60 pages of information on the history and social aspects of Indian food and the ingredients and techniques used.
Highlights of the recipes for me include:
- 'lamb korma pulao' from Lucknow, a fragrant combination of lamb and rice slow cooked in a casserole
- 'kaalee mirch cha mutton' (lamb with herbs and black pepper) from the Konkan coast, with a sauce containing loads of coriander and mint colouring it green
- 'nalli korma' (lamb shank korma) from Lucknow, fragrant slow cooked lamb shanks falling off the bone
- 'aachar gosht' from Bhopal, lamb cooked in pickling spices
- lamb curry Madras style from Tamil Nadu, hot but a flavoursome combination of spices
- 'safed murgh korma' from Agra, a white chicken korma
- 'chicken rizzala' from Bhopal, a green chicken korma with coriander and mint
- 'pista chicken' from Delhi, a chicken pistachio korma, with a green pistachio sauce which is a bit of an effort to prepare but is worth it
- 'kaju chicken in kaala masala' from Mumbai, chicken and cashew nuts in 'black spices'
- Parsee red chicken curry from Mumbai
The are plenty of other recipes not only with lamb or chicken but also using fish, shellfish, eggs, vegetables and fruit, including some more unusual ones like watermelon curry, mixed dried fruit curry and pineapple curry.
Whilst concentrating mostly on main courses, there are also recipes in the end section for accompaniments - breads, rice dishes, vegetable side dishes and chutneys - and desserts.
One downside is that being a paperback of relatively small dimensions, you can't lay it open flat on the kitchen worktop (there was an earlier edition of this book with some different recipes which I also own, which had larger dimensions and did lie out flat). It needs a decent cookbook stand, or do what I do and photocopy a recipe so it doesn't matter if you manage to dribble spice pastes all over it.
If you get just one curry book, make it this one.