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Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India Paperback – September 15, 1999

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Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India + Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking + 660 Curries
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Periplus Editions (HK) ltd.; New edition edition (September 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9625935274
  • ISBN-13: 978-9625935270
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Indian-born and -raised Padmanabhan is a veteran cook and writes on culinary matters for Madras Musings , a South Indian newspaper. Here she muses for Americans on meatless meals and snacks originating in the Southern part of her native country; "dakshin" means "south" in Sanskrit. The author directs us on basics: there are recipes for curry powder, chili powder, rasam powder. She also defines what may be unfamiliar menu staples--sambars, or first courses, distinguished by tamarind, dal, or buttermilk foundations; poriyals, or sauceless curries, made with stir-fried (or occasionally deep-fried) vegetables. Her recipes are varied, authoritative and imaginative, especially those in the chapter on snacks, where breads vie with each other for primacy. Not everyone will find it possible to cultivate a taste for the often creamy, overly sweet desserts. But the chutney section comes as a refresher. Padmanabhan also provides recommendations for menus, a glossary of Indian terminology and a list of specialty Indian food shops in this country. Color photographs on nearly every other page are even more than usually tempting.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The Indian food that most Americans are familiar with is from North India. Here are two new books to expand their horizons. Dakshin, the first in a new series, is a lavishly illustrated introduction to the cuisine of South India, where most of the population is Hindu and vegetarian. The author, an Indian food writer, presents dozens of recipes for the various courses of a South Indian vegetarian meal, most accompanied by inviting full-page color photographs. American cooks may recognize a few dishes from Indian restaurants, but most will be new. Although some of the ingredients may be somewhat difficult to find, Padmanabhan's recipes should be worth the effort. Law, a cooking teacher and author of the excellent Southeast Asia Cookbook (LJ 8/ 90), has traveled frequently to India over the last decade. She has collected recipes from both home cooks and chefs throughout the country, but here she emphasizes the lighter dishes of the South, usually but not always vegetarian. She has adopted a few dishes, cutting back on the fat, but most are authentic versions. Law's text is both informative about Indian cuisine and culture and a pleasure to read, and her recipes are very accessible to Western cooks. Both titles are highly recommended.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book if you are after an authentic south Indian vegetarian cookbook.
Janet Shenoy
I can related to all of the dishes in the book and the tastes come out just like "mom's cooking".
mukund srinivasan
The instructions are easy to follow, the recipes are written clearly and easy to comprehend.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

149 of 155 people found the following review helpful By IITian on July 14, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a single male from North India who loves South Indian food. Bsides I am a vegan who abstains from any animal products. Even though in the vicinity of Berkeley we have lots of Indian restaurants, they are dominated by Mughlai (or Punjabi) cuisine - which include the all-too-familiar tandoori chicken, palak paneer, samosa etc. A few South Indian restaurants recently opened up, but ghee (by popular demand!) seems to be used in almost all dishes. (No wonder Indians have one of the highest rates of heart problems, beer-bellies and lots of other health problems.)
Decided that if I wanted to eat good and healthy South Indian food, I had to cook it myself. Bought this book. Am not an expert cook and don't have much time to search around for 1/2 teaspoonful of XYZ. Luckily this book has been good in that respect. Only 5-6 standard Indian spices (all available from Indian grocery stores), with a few specialized spice mixes, will allow one to create authentic dishes like sambar and rasam. Food photos are excellent, and some days, I just look at those pictures to satisfy my hunger for South Indian food!
Thus far, have tried a few recipes, and all turned out well. In future, I plan to expand my menu.
I hope this book helps to make South Indian food popular among Americans. In my view, South Indian staple food like idli, dosa, sambar, rasam, and various rices are healthy and tasty unlike those overcooked, oily Punjabi food they serve in Indian restaurants. My wish is for the author to come out with a vegan version of this excellent book, because I think veganism is the way to go for all for health, for environment and for compassion. :) Thanks for reading.
Quote: Greatness of a country is judged by the way its animals are treated - Gandhi.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
I received the first edition of this cookbook from our bestman's wife. She, like me, had to learn how to cook her husband's favorite foods from home. This was a challenge as I had never eaten spicy foods let alone cook them. I've grown to enjoy the dishes and this book taught me how to cook them. The book teaches the method and is very easy to follow. Many of my guests (women who learned to cook in India) have asked for the name of the book and author. One relative bought a copy for each of her daughters to give to them when they left home. I always receive a very favorable comment from my in-laws when I prepare a meal from this book. My only regret is that the hardback edition is out of print. I would urge the publisher to bring it back into print.
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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful By kn_s VINE VOICE on July 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you follow her instructions exactly, the results taste exactly like my mom's cooking, or my aunts. I go a little slower on the chillies, but that is a personal preference and depends on the type of chilli used. Its perfect in terms of flavor for sambhar, rasam, avial, mor kuzhambu etc. However, the recipes don't include chettinad flavors etc. i.e. I found that her non Rasam type dishes do turn out a little watery. So I would personally be a little more generous with the thuvar dhal(make extra and add to thickness/taste)
I would definitely not recommend "Savoring the Spice Coast" from Maya Kaimal like the Berkeley reviewer did. This cookbook uses absolutely the right ingredients, and unlike Maya Kaimal's cookbook, does not treat curry leaves and bay leaves as equivalents. For dosas in the USA even in a California winter, one needs to ferment the batter in a warm oven at least overnight. In Chennai, 4-5 hours at room temp would have done it. And in terms of spiciness, I use more jalapenos than I would serranos, and of course habanero chillis i use sparingly. And with ginger, young ginger is very mild. How fine you chop/grate also makes a difference to the spiciness obtained.
I buy this book for friends, and even have a copy for our vacation home since I find it hard not to have on hand. An absolute must if you cook S. Indian. though not quite as comprehensive as the long time staple "cook and see"
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Mom2twocuties on February 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
I'm a South Indian myself and a total gourmand... apart from the classic "Cook & See" series, this is the book that results in the most authentic taste and flavor-filled dishes!

The Cook & See books are translated from Tamil and not very well at that... but the results speak for themselves.

This book, on the other hand, is written in English with good instructions... about the spice level, I think it's perfect but then I grew up eating this stuff!

So if you have a mild palate, I'd easily quarter the chiilies and lessen the spices a tad.

So if you are looking for a well-written book with good illustrations, with authentic flavor, I'd recommend this one!
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
I bought this cookbook because I wanted to learn how to cook Indian food, particularly southern Indian food as my boyfriend is from Bangalore. Indian cooking has an entirely different philosophy than any other cooking I've ever done. Most of my friends consider me to be pretty gourmet when it comes to Western cooking, and I have found the cross over into Eastern cuisine exciting and fun.

This cookbook has extremely tasty recipes, however, I would warn you about the suggested use of red & green chillis. In some recipes, the author calls for *6* red chillis--ouch! I cut it down to one, and sometimes it is still too hot.

I would also agree with a previous reviewer, that some of the yogurt based dishes turn out to be too watery. So be careful how much water you use to cover the vegetables.

I also think that the directions for this book could have been much, much better written. For instance, when making "Ordinary Dosai" they tell you to soak the rice overnight, then drain the rice, then grind it to a batter adding 1 c. of water as you do so. THEN they tell you to soak the beans, etc. etc. Why would they not say to soak the rice and the beans overnight? Then do the next steps. These types of things are quite common, so read the entire recipe first!!

I have had a lot of trouble figuring out what each different kind of dal is. I've googled them, but then when I go to my local Indian grocery, they have all sorts of different names. I've gotten to the point that I don't really think it matters if you use a Tablespoon of urad dal or moong dal in the tempering. But then again, I'm not an expert.

Also, I think these recipes are really easy.
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