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Jay Francis

Suneeta Vaswani's New Cookbook

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I guess Suneeta has been working on her cookbook for upwards of 20 years. It is out now. I've done a bunch of recipes from it, and I know many of them from her cooking classes here in Houston. The book is excellent.

I love the way the book is laid out, it is designed to make following the recipes fast and easy. There are three columns for each recipe, the left column has the measures listed in English units, the center column lists the ingredients, and the right column has the measures listed in metric units. The cooking instructions are excellent. The headnotes consist of information on the dish and tips for the dish. This is a cookbook by a teacher who knows how to put a recipe together.

Here's the beauty of the book, by way of example. How many times have you seen a cookbook recipe that calls for, say, "1 onion chopped"? What size onion would that be, exactly? Here in Texas an onion can be pretty bid. In Europe, they aren't as big. What Suneeta has done is demystify the list of ingredients by using measures of cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons, or, metric weights. This is awesome! It makes the recipes foolproof. And it gives you a baseline for later changing the recipe up to suit personal tastes.

I own 5 Indian cookbooks, and I have read quite a few more. But this is the one that I will default to. This book should be in every cook's collection. It is that good.

I would recommend starting with the following:

Chicken in Cashew Saffron Gravy

North Indian Lamb Curry on Bread

Whole Baked Masala Cauliflower

Bell Peppers with Roasted Chickpea Flour

Dhokla (a fast and easy recipe using cream of wheat that produces beautiful results)

Split Yellow Peas with Tamarind Chutney

Gena's Kababs (flavored with green onions, ginger, cilantro, crisp fried onions)

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your post reads like a publicist's blurb but i'll give the book a once-over the next time i'm in a bookstore.

and cups, teaspoons and tablespoons aren't necessarily such an accurate measure either. i've been experimenting from the penguin kerala cookbook of late and i am beginning to suspect that his teaspoons are much smaller than mine.

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don't feel sorry--it would be a pretty good publicist's blurb if it had been one. tell us a little more about her.

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I read a nice review of the book in the Houston Chronicle a few weeks ago. Its really nice to see a book like this come out -- it will make Indian cuisine less exotic and more appealing to the public.

I have not seen it though, so I am glad to read that you have had a good experience.

What are some of your other favorite Indian dishes Jay?


Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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I guess that my first Indian cookbook was a little 30 cent paperback that I picked up in New Delhi, way back in 1973 when I had just finished college, save some money and went overland to India via Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Over the years I never had an Indian cookbook proper, it was easier to go to the Houston library and check something out. Around 1983, when I moved back to Houston after working for my company in Greece for a few years, I came across Suneeta's article in Bon Appetit. Her recipe for curried cheese potato balls became a show stopper at pot lucks that I would go to and became part of my repertoire. I'm very surprised that this spectacular dish did not make it into the cookbook. Around this time I started teaching cooking classes for fun, and started going to Suneeta's classes. So I have her recipe print-outs going back 20 years, from many many classes.

In respect to your request for recipes, here is a good source. This is the website of her publicist, that I found on the web, and noticed that as part of the site, several recipes are printed for each book that she represents, including Suneeta's. Just go down to the book listing for her and click on recipes.

http://www.lisaekus.com/food_media_resources.htm

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Jay - How nice to hear that you are teaching cooking classes. You really should start another thread on that and share with us.. I think that willmake a fun read

I meant what other Indian dishes do you like.. other than the ones already mentioned.. from other books.. your own creations??

1973 - that was a while ago.. what were your impressions? Have you ever gone back?


Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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