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Indian cookbook recommendations


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I would be interested in this as well. I have the same gap in my book collection as well as knowledge between my ears. One of the things I want to do in 2004 is to learn more about Indian cooking. A good recommendation for a beginner would be nice. In the best of world's that book would also address the regional differences.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Julie Sahni, "Classic Indian Cooking". -Dick

I also prefer Sahni's book to Jaffrey's, but I don't think either one will steer you wrong.

I think there's also a 1,000 Indian recipes (or something like that) which might be a good idea if all you want is recipes, and lots of 'em.

Cheers,

Geoff Ruby

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I think I will go for Madhur Jaffrey. I have seen her many times on TV and she always makes some sense to me and is not at all intimidating. Thanks, guys.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I have not made anything from this cookbook yet, and I am interested in your opinion of it--Curries and Bugles by Jennifer Brennan. Would you consider this authentic Indian? Or is it Indian by way of British? It was very interesting reading, in any case.

I'll have to look into Madhur Jaffrey.

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I like Sahni's book because it appears to be both comprehensive, like you might get in the 1000 recipes book (which appears to actually be good unlike many such huge compilations) and informative. Jaffrey has the advantage of having several books that specialize if you're interested in one thing more than another, such as vegetarian Indian.

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I was so lucky a few years back to get to share a workstation with Madhur Jaffrey at Greystone while I was taking a class and she was prepping for a confrence on Indian and Southeast Asian food. She is one of the most charming and delightful people I've been around. She was given a group of high school students to use for prep and she was very kind and patient with them.

I like her book "A Taste of India" because it takes you through the different regions of India and explains the difference in ingredients and styles of foods. The recipes are very workable and the text is informative and held my interest.

Also take a look at "Curried Favors" by Maya Kaimal MaeMillan. The recipes are from the south of India. They are also real workable and tasty.

Have fun!

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I was so lucky a few years back to get to share a workstation with Madhur Jaffrey at Greystone while I was taking a class and she was prepping for a confrence on Indian and Southeast Asian food. She is one of the most charming and delightful people I've been around. She was given a group of high school students to use for prep and she was very kind and patient with them.

I like her book "A Taste of India" because it takes you through the different regions of India and explains the difference in ingredients and styles of foods. The recipes are very workable and the text is informative and held my interest.

You are confirming my impression of her from television. She is the kind of person that I would just like to hug. :biggrin:

Thanks for the tip. "A Taste of India" sounds exactly like what I am looking for.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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The eGullet India Forum is full of helpful info. In particular, you may want to take a look at this great thread in which Suvir Saran collects links to threads on a variety of basic Indian food topics, including Indian cookbooks.

:smile:

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For the omnivore, Julie Sahni's Classic Indian Cooking and for the herbivore, Jamuna Devi's Lord Krishna's Cuisine.

They are both solid, well researched, and well rounded. Readable and highly cookable, the results are 'authentic.'

I consider them to be the Julia Child or Diana Kennedy of Indian Cooking ... work your way through either and then you are ready to tackle the more regional, formal, traditional, or arcane.

Theabroma

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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I would be interested in this as well. I have the same gap in my book collection as well as knowledge between my ears. One of the things I want to do in 2004 is to learn more about Indian cooking. A good recommendation for a beginner would be nice. In the best of world's that book would also address the regional differences.

I would recommend Julie Sahni and there is a particular one by Madhur Jaffrey called, I think -- Regional Flavors of India that is really excellent -- it really lays out the differences in the cuisines of the different states

I like Julie's style of writing.

Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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I'd go for Madhur Jaffrey. Her recipes work, she gives the basics, she writes well on more general aspects of Indian food and she's used to writing for audiences not in India.

'A Taste of India' is her book on Indian regional food and I'd got for that since Indian regional cooking often gets overlooked - most people assume Indian cooking starts and ends with the really very narrow (and not particularly authentic) slice of it that they get in Indian restaurants abroad.

Jaffrey's 'Introduction to Indian Cooking' might be the better book for beginners though its more narrowly focussed on the type of cooking done by her family which is based in Delhi. Her latest book in the cooking of the Indian diaspora, called 'The Ultimate Curry Book' or 'Kebabs and Curries' in some markets, is very interesting, but perhaps not one for beginners.

There are some Indian cooks based in the UK who are producing attactive, easy to use books - Sunil Vijaykar's '30 minute Indian' is a bit of a misnomer, yes its 30 minutes, if you've got someone else to do your prep work for you, but its still a good and attractive book.

The one I'd really recommend, if you can get your hands on it, is Monisha Bharadwaj's 'The Indian Kitchen' or 'The Indian Pantry' (name differs with markets) which is a really excellent introduction to Indian cooking through the ingredients it uses. Its not perfect, some of the recipes could have done with some checking and proof reading, but its really interesting and attractive,

Vikram

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Penguin Books India publishes a range of regional cookbooks. Is anyone familiar with these, and have comments about their quality?

-- lamington a.k.a. Duncan Markham

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - collaborative book reviews about all things food and wine

Syrup & Tang - candid commentary and flavourful fancies

"It's healthy. It's cake. It's chocolate cake."

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I received two from my daughter. "The Indian Grocery Store Demystified" by Linda Bladholm. This was a godsend for me. It details every conceivable ingredient used in Indian cooking. It's also small enough to pack with you when you visit an Indian market.

The other is Madhur Jaffrey's "Quick and Easy Indian Cooking". A perusal shows that it's accessible even to neophytes to Indian cuisine like me.

You're sure to get many, many recommendations but these appear to be a good starting point for one who isn't yet experienced with the cuisines of India.

--------------

Bob Bowen

aka Huevos del Toro

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      Post your questions here -->> Q&A
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      • ½ cup milk
      • 1 teaspoon sugar
      • 1 cup warm water
      • 1 tablespoon yogurt
      • 1 egg
      • 4 cups of all-purpose flour (labelled "maida" in Indian grocery store)
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 1 teaspoon baking powder
      • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (for baking tray)
      • 2 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee
      In a bowl whisk together the milk, sugar, water, yogurt and egg.
      Place the flour, salt and baking powder in a large shallow bowl. Mix well.
      Pour the liquid onto the flour and begin to knead. Continue kneading until you have a soft dough. If you need more liquid, add a few tablespoons of warm water. Knead for at least 10 minutes, or until you have a soft dough that is not sticky.
      Oil the dough.
      Cover the dough with a damp cloth and place in a warm place for 1½ - 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in volume.
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      Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large, heavy baking tray and set aside. Lightly dust the rolling surface and rolling pin with flour.
      Knead the dough again on the floured surface for about 5 minutes. Divide it into 8 equal pieces and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap.
      Roll each piece into a ball and flatten it with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll it out into an oval shape (about 8 inches). Using your hands, pull at both ends of the oval to stretch it a little. Continue until you have made 8 naans.
      Brush each oval with clarified butter.

      Place the naans on the baking sheet bake for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3 minutes or until golden brown.
      Peshawari Naan
      In this delightfully sinful recipe, the naan dough is stuffed with dried nuts and raisins and baked. Serve this warm right out of the oven for the best taste.
      1 recipe prepared plain naan dough
      For the stuffing:
      • 1 tablespoon cashews (crushed)
      • 1 tablespoon almonds (crushed)
      • 1+1 tablespoons pistachios (crushed)
      • 1 tablespoon raisins
      • 1 teaspoon cilantro leaves, minced
      • 1 teaspoon sugar
      • 1 tablespoon Milk Mawa Powder (Dried whole milk powder)

      • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
      • 3 tablespoons melted butter or clarified butter
      Prepare the Naan dough.

      While the dough is resting, prepare the filling.
      Set aside 1 tablespoon of pistachios and the raisins. In a mixing bowl combine all the other filling ingredients. Add a few tablespoons of water to bind them together to form a lumpy consistency.
      Roll the dough into a log. Cut into 8 equal portions. Lightly dust the rolling surface with flour.
      Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large, heavy baking tray and set aside. Lightly oil or flour your hands.
      Take one portion of the dough and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands. Flatten the ball. Place it on the floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a circle about 5 - 6 inches in diameter.
      Add a tablespoon of the filling to the center. Bring the sides together and pinch them to seal and form a ball. Flatten lightly. Dust very lightly with flour.

      Roll the flattened ball again on a lightly floured surface until about 5 - 6 inches in diameter.
      Garnish with the reserved pistachios and raisins.

      Continue until you have made 8 naans.
      Brush each naan with clarified butter. Place the naans on the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3 minutes or until golden brown.
      Serve hot.

      Onion Kulcha
      We present this recipe by popular demand. Here the naan is stuffed with a spiced onion mix and baked to perfection.
      1 recipe prepared plain naan dough
      For the stuffing:
      • 2 small red onions, finely chopped
      • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
      • 1 tablespoon Chaat Masala (www.namaste.com)
      • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
      • Salt to taste
      • 3 tablespoons melted butter or clarified butter
      • 2 teaspoons cilantro, minced for garnish
      • small boiled potato, grated (optional)
      Prepare the naan dough.

      While the dough is resting, prepare the filling.

      First, using the palms of your hands, squeeze out all the water from the chopped onions. If the onions still appear to be watery, add a small boiled grated potato to your filling. This will prevent the filling from spilling out of the kulcha.
      In a mixing bowl combine all the filling to form a lumpy consistency.

      Roll the dough into a log. Cut into 8 equal portions. Lightly dust the rolling surface with flour.
      Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large, heavy baking tray and set aside. Lightly oil or flour your hands.
      Take one portion of the dough and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands. Flatten the ball. Place it on the floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a circle about 5 - 6 inches in diameter.

      Add a tablespoon of the filling to the center. Bring the sides together and pinch them to seal and form a ball. Flatten lightly. Dust very lightly with flour.

      Roll the flattened ball again on a lightly floured surface until about 5 - 6 inches in diameter.

      Dip your fingers in water and moisten the surface of the kulcha very lightly. Sprinkle with a few minced cilantro leaves. Continue until you have made 8 kulchas.

      Place the kulchas on the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3 minutes or until golden brown.
      Serve hot.


      Ande Ka Paratha
      This is a unique addition to your recipe collection. A mild and flaky bread, it is a small kid’s favorite at our home.
      Makes 8 parathas
      • 2 cups Indian atta flour (whole-wheat flour)
      • 1½ teaspoons table salt
      • 2+2 tablespoons melted butter or clarified butter
      • Water as needed
      • 8 eggs
      In a bowl combine the flour, salt and two tablespoons of clarified butter. Slowly begin to add the water, kneading the flour as you go. Make a dough, kneading for at least 10 minutes. The final dough should be soft and pliable. It should not be sticky or else it will not roll out well.


      Cover the dough with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes.

      Roll the dough into a log. Cut into 8 equal portions. Lightly dust the rolling surface with flour.
      Lightly oil or flour your hands. Take one portion and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands. Flatten the ball. Place it on the prepared floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a circle about 5 - 6 inches in diameter.
      Now fold the dough over itself.

      Take the folded dough and roll it around itself into a spiral.

      Tuck the end under.

      Do this for all eight dough balls. (This folding and rolling will make the paratha very flaky.)

      Now flatten the spiral and roll again on a lightly floured surface until about 5 - 6 inches in diameter.


      Heat a griddle on medium heat. Brush it lightly with butter and add the paratha. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the bottom of the paratha begins to blister. Brush the top lightly with butter and remove from heat. Put the paratha aside on a warm plate.

      Grease the same griddle a bit and break an egg on it. Cook the egg sunny side up. Place the cooked side of the paratha on the egg. Press down gently to break the yolk. Let it cook for a minute. Brush the top of the paratha with butter, flip carefully and cook for another minute or two until the paratha is no longer raw.


      Remove the paratha from the griddle and place on a serving platter. Cover with a paper towel. Continue until all the parathas are cooked.
      Serve hot.

      Indian Bread Stuffed With Spicy Potatoes (Aloo Ka Paratha)
      This filled paratha is a very popular North Indian bread, served traditionally with homemade white butter and Indian pickles of your choice.
      • 2 cups Indian atta flour (whole-wheat flour)
      • 4 tablespoons semolina
      • 1½ teaspoons table salt
      • 2 tablespoons melted clarified butter or butter
      • Water as needed
      • 3 medium potatoes, peeled
      • 2 Serrano green chilies, seeded and finely minced
      • 1 tablespoon cilantro, minced
      • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, grated
      • 1 teaspoon Chaat Masala
      • 4 tablespoons melted clarified butter or butter
      • A few tablespoons flour for dusting
      In a bowl combine the wheat flour, semolina flour, salt and two tablespoons of clarified butter. Slowly begin to add the water, kneading the flour as you go. Make a dough, kneading for at least 10 minutes. The final dough should be soft and pliable. It should not be sticky, or else it will not roll out well.
      Cover the dough with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes.
      While the dough is resting, prepare the filling.
      Boil the potatoes in enough water to cover for about 15 minutes. Drain.



      Put the potatoes in a bowl and mash them well with a fork. Add the green chilies, cilantro, ginger root, and chaat masala and mix well. Set this filling aside to cool.
      Roll the dough into a log. Cut into 8 equal portions. Lightly dust the rolling surface with flour.
      Lightly oil or flour your hands. Take one portion and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands. Flatten the ball. Place it on the prepared floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a circle about 5 - 6 inches in diameter.
      Lightly brush the surface with the clarified butter. Add a tablespoon of the potato filling to the center. Bring the sides together and pinch them to seal and form a ball. Flatten lightly. Dust very lightly with flour.



      Roll the flattened ball again on a lightly floured surface until about 5 - 6 inches in diameter.


      Heat a griddle on medium heat. Brush it lightly with butter and add the paratha. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the bottom of the paratha begins to blister. Brush the top lightly with butter and flip over. Cook for 2 minutes.

      Remove the paratha from the griddle and place on a serving platter. Cover with a paper towel. Continue until all the parathas are cooked.

      Sheermal
      A sweet bread, it is one of the few Indian breads that uses yeast. Keep the dough in a warm place to ensure that it rises. You can increase the amount of sugar if you like a sweeter taste.

      • 1 packet dry yeast
      • 1 teaspoon sugar
      • ¼ cup water
      • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
      • ¼ teaspoon salt
      • 2 tablespoons sugar
      • 2 eggs (separate 1 egg and set the yolk aside) beat the whole egg and the white together
      • 2 tablespoons melted clarified butter or butter
      • Extra flour for dusting
      • Pitted cherries/raisins for garnish
      Mix yeast with the sugar and 1/4 cup water. Set aside until frothy, about 5 - 10 minutes.
      Combine the flour, salt and sugar. Add the clarified butter, egg and yeast mixture. Knead until a smooth dough is formed. (You may need more warm water.) Set aside to rise until the dough doubles in size.
      Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large, heavy baking tray and set aside. Lightly dust the rolling surface and rolling pin with flour.
      Knead the dough again on the floured surface for about 5 minutes. Divide it into 6 equal pieces and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap.
      Roll each piece into a ball and flatten it with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll it out into a disc. Continue until you have made 6 discs.
      Beat the reserved egg yolk and brush a little on each sheermal. Place a few cherries on the sheermal for garnish. Place the discs on the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes.

      Turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3 minutes, or until golden brown.

      Tandoori Roti
      We wanted to show how the tandoor is used to prepare breads. These pictures are of a special roti or bread, called Tandoori Roti, being prepared in the hot tandoor or clay oven.
      The basic recipe entails preparing a dough of whole-wheat flour. (See the paratha dough prepared earlier.) The flattened rolled out discs are then cooked in the tandoor until the dark spots begin appearing on the surface of the bread.




      Post your questions here -->> Q&A
    • By rajsuman
      Inspired by a similar thread under 'General Food Topics', I wanted to know how many Indian cookbooks we collectively own on this forum. I have 43 right now, but I'm sure more will turn up from under the bed etc. I'm particularly curious about your collection Vikram, because you seem to own every Indian cookbook under the sun. Here's a picture of my very modest collection (a few on the left haven't come in the shot)

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      This one appears to be older.

       
      And this one appears to be the newer of the two.

       
      Any insight would be helpful.
       
      Thanks,
       
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