Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking

My son is home from college for the summer. Because he likes to play games, I challenged him to write a review of a game. In return, I agreed to write a cookbook review. I think I have the easier job since I have been cooking from Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking book for almost 25 years.

My first Indian cookbooks were gifts mailed to me from my Indian in-laws. Madhur Jaffrey's book was the first Indian cookbook I used that was intended for Americans. It was easier to use than my Indian ones since I did not have to worry about Indian cup sizes, unusual spice and vegetable names (e.g., haldi for turmeric, lady's finger for okra), or temperatures in marks.

The introductory material in Indian Cooking including ingredient descriptions and techniques is informative. I like the color pictures of selected dishes and the author's recipe introductions. The English recipe titles with Indian equivalent names below make the book accessible for those unfamiliar with the Indian dishes. The term pulses for beans and peas was new to me when I first read the book.

The detailed ingredient list and precise directions guide beginning Indian cooks to successful results. I had problems with the direction "fry until all the water evaporates and you see the oil again", probably because I use less than the recommended amount of oil I.

The serving suggestions encouraged me to try adding an Indian dish to meals. After I had experience, the Indian meal guidelines were are helpful.

Many of our family favorites come from this book. Every year after Easter, I make "Hard-boiled Eggs in a Spicy Cream Sauce" or "Vinegared Eggs" with our dyed Easter eggs. "Chicken with Cream" is our standard main dish when we invite friends over for an Indian dinner. For Thanksgiving, I cook "Sweet Yellow Rice" as a side dish. Even friends, who were hesitant to try Indian food, have enjoyed "Gujerati-style Cabbage with Carrots" when I brought it to potlucks. My husband and kids enjoy "Vermicelli Pudding" for dessert after an Indian meal, however I make it with vermicelli from an Indian grocery store.

I recommend this book for friends interested in Indian cooking, and I have given it as gifts. The book's size, approximately 200 pages, is not overwhelming for anyone who wants to try Indian cooking. It contains a variety of meat, vegetables, rice, bread, dessert, and condiment recipes. Some of the dishes are similar to ones served in Indian restaurants (e.g., "Tandoori-style" Chicken" and "Sour Chickpeas") and others more like the home cooking my husband grew up eating (e.g., "Rice with Yellow Split Peas" and "Sweet and Sour Okra") .

Check out my son's review of the the video game Tiny and Big or Cutting Down EVERYTHING

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