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Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking Hardcover – December 9, 1985

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Enjoy vegetables? Foodies will love this collection of 120 innovative vegetarian recipes. Learn more | See more Yotam Ottolenghi cookbooks
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

One might expect that this fine sequel to Sahni's Classic Indian Cooking covers a smaller subject than that earlier work. But since most Indians are vegetarians, and since they cook in a diversity of styles, this new volume in many senses gives a truer panorama of that nation's classic cuisine. After an exhaustive glossary of foodstuffs and spices that make up the Indian larder, Sahni launches into the recipes, which in a rare concession to Western ways are arranged course by course. There is much that even a devotee of Indian cooking will find new in the areas of fritters and griddle cakes, braised dishes, lentils, chutneys. Though the ingredients are often exotic, Sahni's directions for buying (a mail-order guide is included) and cooking are precise. She brings some of the subtler practices of one of the world's great cuisines within America's reach. Foreign rights: Esther Newberg, ICM. November 25
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Julie Sahni is director of Julie Sahni's Indian Cooking School, established in 1973.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow and Company; 1st edition (December 9, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688049958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688049959
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
My wife and I received this book a month ago, for Christmas 2002, and have been cooking our way through it ever since. We are both vegetarians and, while not Indian, have had authentic Indian cooked food.
The recipes are fairly well done, easy to follow, and obviously well tested. Unlike some cook books, the times are correct, the food tastes "right," and the descriptions are accurate. It is well worth having this book as a good introduction to Indian style cooking. Try the Eggplant and Potato side dish (as a main course) over rice, it's wonderful!
There are a few minor annoyances that cause me to only give four stars rather than five. First, the index is horrible. Looking up dishes by the Indian names is tedious as the book has been almost over Americanized. Second, with a title with the word "classic," I am disappointed in the number of items that tell me to "buy this at the store/nobody makes these from scratch anymore/this is too complex, here is a simplified version" in this book. I appreciate the information, but I don't want the variation, at least not without the true recipe too. Third, even most of the side dishes will feed an army. Not being Indian, I would like even more information on meal planning than is given. If I made all the things suggested, we would be eating the same meal for a week straight!
Finally, the book doesn't go into much detail about the different regions and I would prefer to have things divided into regions as well. Again, these are minor, and I recommend this book as a good first book, but the recipes are good, so give it a shot! Oh, there are some typos in the book too, and considering how long it has been in print, they should have been fixed long ago!
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on March 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I can imagine becoming a vegetarian for reasons of social conscience, but it hasn't happened yet. I do, however, have vegetarian friends who tolerate my lack of enlightenment, and I do sometimes cook for them. On such occasions, if I feel like challenging myself, this is the cookbook to which I turn for inspiration.

Julie Sahni offers clear enough descriptions of the tasks involved in classic Indian cooking so that anyone who's a halfway good cook in any other style can easily produce something delicious from her recipes. I never follow recipes exactly except when I use this book; I've learned from trial and error that whatever Julie says is right. The lessons she offers in nutrition - balancing grains with lentils and other pulses; using spices to AID digestion; conserving nutrients in the cooking process - are invariably worth learning.

The cookbook begins with eighty pages of descriptions of the basic ingredients of Indian vegetarian cooking, especially the spices and spice blends. Julie tells us which spices can be ground or purchased ground in advance without sacrificing flavor, and which cannot. Lots of recipes in the newspapers, for instance, call for "garam masala" as if there were only one blend of spices under that name. Julie offers five quite different blends of aromatic and piquant spices, all regional garam masalas, and tells us when each is appropriate.

Some of the best recipes in the book are for pilafs and hearty stews. Then there are clear instrutions for making two dozen sorts of Indian breads and dumplings. Home-made chutneys, I can tell you, are way tastier than gunk from jars. Cauliflower stuffed with nuts and greens is one of my favorite showy dishes for company. How about 'tiny new potatoes smothered in fenugreek leaves?
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Lucy Fairbank on September 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is a MUST if you are interested in cooking authentic Indian vegetarian-one to one. I am not an Indian but an Indo-vegetarian, meaning I cook mostly Indian vegetarian food because I believe it is the best in the world. Almost everything I've made from this book has been AWESOME, from vegetable lentil curries of south India to paneer cheese dishes of north. This is the first book that taught me, correctly, the art of making dosa-the silky rice crepes of Madras and dokla, the feathery, lentil chiffon cakes of Gujrat. My Indian friends, who love my cooking, think I am some kind of a reincarnated Indian soul. All I do really is follow Julie Sahni's recipes. I own many Indian vegetarian cookbooks but hardly use them because none produce such great results, time after time. I think it is Julie Sahni's amazing knowledge of combining spices that make the dishes taste so extraordinary. I highly recommend this book. It is THE BEST.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Br'erRick on December 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I'll preface by saying that my personal experience with Indian cuisine is limited to the great restaurants around the U.S. that I've dined in. I haven't had the pleasure of going to India, or of enjoying home-cooked Indian food here.

On the other hand, I am an avid cook and have cooked professionally. One thing that all of my favorite cookbooks have in common is that they emphasize technique; another is that they link a cuisine to its culture. Using these books broadens my understanding of the technique of certain cuisines. Getting a feel for different cuisines' techniques and methods helps my overall ability to cook without recipes, and with confidence.

Ms. Sahni's book here has been an excellent primer for me on Indian cooking techniques. The patterns of the recipes emerge. The bases, braises, masalas, and finishing perfumed butters and oils. Just as Italian cuisine has its 'hand' and approach, but also its regional variations, so does Julie Sahni introduce us to the same in Indian cuisine with this book.

My only critique is that the book completely lacks photos, and drawings are nearly non-existent. While the recipes are thorough, sometimes desired texture is hard to gauge without some photos, especially with dishes that are unfamiliar from personal experience.

Otherwise, it is one of my 'primer' cookbooks, and an educational and entertaining glimpse into regional Indian cultures -- through food.
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