Despite loving Indian cuisine and having a shelf full of Indian recipe books, I thought I'd make room for another that appeared to offer something fresh. However, it really didn't come up to my expectations.
First of all I find the cover of this book misleading. The implication of a book for 'busy living' is that the recipes will be swift and painless. Much traditional Indian cuisine - in fact true of most cultures - is that it expects lots of time in preparation. Frying spices, soaking pulses & lentils, marinating meats... in short hours of labour for magnificent results. And guess what... many of these recipes call for exactly this approach.
Then there's the presentation. There's nothing wrong with a book being part personal account, part recipe book. Often that sets it above the clinical approach of some of the more generic recipe books. But in this example the balance seems to have swung too far and I soon lost interest in Malika Basu's self indulgent back-story. This might not have mattered if I was bowled over by wonderful looking dishes that made me want to start cooking. But the illustrations are pure fluff - adding a bit of colour to the text but certainly not giving me much inspiration. There are hardly any `end result' photos and maybe I'm too much of a visual beast but these are exactly what typically inspire me to try a recipe.
None of which would have mattered if this were the key to culinary heaven. But the first few recipes we tried just didn't hit the mark. For example, the keema matter required a dedicated shop in an Asian supermarket, was hard work in preparation and ultimately not that special on the plate. We pretty soon lost faith and it's doubtful we'd try many more.