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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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This is a charming and gently informative six-part celebration of Indian food, presented in Rick Stein's usual affable and entertaining style.
If you've seen any of his previous series then you know exactly what you're getting: a tour of India which takes in all aspects of grassroots and traditional cookery - majoring on the people who prepare the food, as well as the fresh ingredients; where they come from, how they're grown, and how all of these influences have an active interplay with social history.
Don't expect exact recipes which you can follow step by step. Each programme does include several segments (three or four) of Rick cooking dishes in a fabulous lakeside bungalow, based around the meals, meats and methods he's discovered in each region. These are really useful demonstrations - I picked up a trick about swilling ground spices in warm water before adding them to hot oil, for instance - and occasionally quite comic, like when the ginger / garlic grinder kinda explodes and showers poor Rick with hot (if fragrant) masala! But if you want actual amounts, list of ingredients, cooking times and so on, then you'd best buy the companion book.

The TV episodes aim to represent the flavours of the Indian subcontinent - and when you watch several of them it really does become obvious that different ingredients are used in different areas, or combined in subtle ways to make dishes which sound the same - but obviously taste totally different.
Rick goes out of his way to try eating at small cafes and restaurants, even when he's obviously a little uncomfortable with the surroundings. You have to applaud his determination throughout the series to learn to eat rice with his fingers, in a country where cutlery is rare and where the plate is often a banana leaf.
Each episode includes a guest chef or cookery expert who acts as a guide to local delicacies, and behind-the-scenes segments where Rick snoops in the kitchen while a dish is being made. Hot oil flares on open fires: heaped handfuls of garam masala, chilli and cumin get thrown into the mix, and he scribbles it down in his notebook while the Indian chefs deftly throw or blend the bread speciality of the region. It's almost as if you can smell the spices...

There are some times where words fail our presenter and he literally can't quite describe what he's tasting. There are also other moments where he delights in tucking in to what looks like utterly inedible fishy things, and the occasional awkward pauses where communication between Rick and his guest stalls, as he stumbles to find something suitable to say about the flavour of the food they've spent all day preparing for him.
But in many ways that's the charm of this series: it's not wildly glamorous. There's no sweeping helicopter shots or romantic moments with Rick looking windswept on a mountain top. As with the very best factual TV, the series is more about the subject then the presenter. Sure, he's Rick Stein. But his enthusiasm for the feed and the cookery is what drives each episode and what makes it so watchable.
The Indian-based soundtrack is excellent, also. Not too loud so it never competes with the dialogue, but very atmospheric.
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on 28 August 2013
I have enjoyed all of Rick's series especially his Food Heroes. All the series are fine, fun, informative. Rick is my favorite celebrity chef mainly because he does not act the fool as one Mr. Gordon Ramsay does and he seems to know a thing or three unlike the dear Naked Chef who shall remain nameless who claims never to have read a book. Rick is sensible. Rick is true. You know he has integrity that you can actually trust. INDIA: IN SEARCH OF THE PERFECT CURRY is so well-made. So beautifully shot. And, as ever, Rick is charming and just damn likeable. He takes us to unexpected places this time and my armchair traveler revels in his exploits and make me yearn for the dishes, sights and sounds, the very flavors that Rick is enjoying and promoting. I have already secured the ingredients and made Rick's favorite curry the Madras Red Snapper Curry with Tomatoes and Tamarind as well as Nimish. Wow! WOW! What successful dishes. I have already had requests to make them another time. Next is Rocky's Chicken Korma followed by the cod curry. It helps that I bought the recipe book that accompanies the series. (I buy all of them due to the fact that the DVDs are so inspirational - I run right out and make as many of the dishes as possible.) I have even sourced and purchased Stone Flower and Amchoor and Black Cardamom - ingredients that heretofore were never in my pantry. Thanks Rick. (I miss Chalky. We all miss Chalky.)
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This is a fabulous series no doubt:simple dishes to make,with Ricky's easy manner demonstrating the most complex of recipes for the viewer to follow.

The use of colour in the choice of ingredients and locations makes this a visual feast.

I spent my childhood years in Bombay,Madras and Calcutta and remember the abject poverty everywhere you went.Nothing has changed.For a country that's supposed to be on the up India still has a long way to go.

Off camera and in the background you can see the squalor,the open drains,the sweat shops.It's sad now as it was 100 years ago,a country that appears to be in limbo.

The people are gregarious:wherever a camera crew are spotted they are there giving their help,advice and input to add to the flavour of Stein's series.You can't fault them.They really are friendly.

Credit to Rick Stein and his producers for allowing these scenes to be framed.

We can appreciate Stein's gift of presenting wonderful food to us, the amateur chefs, but perhaps this series might be viewed one day as a social commentary on emerging India.

For me a very thought provoking essay but there's a lot more beyond the cookery facade......
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on 28 September 2013
Everything you need to know about Indian cooking is here. Rick Stein is a true professional and a gentleman, and his passion for what he does flows through his cooking in this and every other DVD he has partaken in. I also purchased the book that accompanies this series on Indian cooking (as a reference point). These DVDs are a joy to watch. If you want pretentious high-street cooking then watch some mainstream-channel cookery series - (there are a lot of celebrity "chefs" out there) - but if you want to see how local people cook then this is the DVD set to watch on Indian cooking. The culture and regional history of each dish is explained and Rick takes a very objective and balanced approach to Indian food. He explores all types of local dish as cooked by the indigenous people according to region and social environment. Domestic, street and hotelier cuisine are recorded. Rick then seeks to emulate these same dishes back in our world based on his personal notes, memoirs and observations. The camera work and sound are excellent to say the least. Rick Stein is my primary reference for Indian and Asian cooking. I cannot recommend this 2-DVD set and the accompanying book highly enough. In one word - fantastic!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 June 2016
Great DVD _ As usual with Rick Stein he presents this in a easily watchable program that is stuffed full of History of the region's and fantastic easy to follow recipes. I especially like the fish curry. The recipes has ingredients that you can easily find in your local supermarket but if you can't then as usual Rick tells you if it's vital to the finished dish or not. I really enjoyed watching this it really is good.

It would be extremely helpful if you could please vote 'YES' in case you like this review or vote 'NO' if you find it unhelpful with a comment so I can improve quality of future reviews.
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VINE VOICEon 28 December 2015
I don't like spices - and therefore curry - and I also don't eat savoury rice, so this set of programmes might seem to be the last thing I would watch.


The photography is superb, the people and places are gorgeous, Rick provides a hugely informative description of the whole experience of travelling through India.

This is a series I know I will watch over and over. Well recommended - even more so, I imagine, if you like to eat the food.
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on 4 July 2014
If you like Rick Stein, India & all things Indian, you will love this DVD set.
I watched the TV series & enjoyed it so much I bought this & watched
it all over again. Full of great tips for those who enjoy making their own
curries taste even more like those you get in your local restaurant.
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on 4 August 2015
Fantastic series, we avidly watched every episode, and then re-watched. It blew away my preconceptions of what Indian food is, and opened my eyes to an entirely new genre of food. Also bought the book to try the recipes. However, it's not just about food, Rick goes into the culture and history, making this a true adventure.

Now planning our holiday to Kerala.
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on 13 December 2013
I love it because you are able to see Indian and see everything was really authentic. His manner is great and his passion superb. He has inspired me to go back to the original way I used to cook curry and yes I am an Indian woman. Great job well done.
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on 14 April 2015
This is the first book that Rick has done after his TV series where the recipes shown on screen are actually in the book en-masse. This book is great and you want to cook and eat everything shown so why did the BBC make his other books so poor? For example, Rick's excellent Mediteranean TV series which i though was one of the best food series ever produced end up being a VERY poor and uninspiring book that is a waste of money?
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