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Madhur Jaffrey's Ultimate Curry Bible: India, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, South Africa, Kenya, Great Britain, Trinidad, Guyana, Japan, U Hardcover – October 1, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"the definitive curry book by the world authority on Indian food" Publishing News "a majestic book" Independent on Sunday "What more could you want?" Catriona Howatson, Daily Telegraph "The perfect gift for those who warm to the thrills of a well-made curry, it is the definitive guide." Tom Parker Bowles, Mail on Sunday

About the Author

Now regarded by many as the world authority on Indian food, Madhur Jaffrey was born in Delhi and is an award-winning actress and bestselling cookery author. Her first book, An Invitation to Indian Cookery, was published in 1973 and since then she has written over 15 cookbooks, now considered classics in their field, including Madhur Jaffrey's Ultimate Curry Bible and Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. She has appeared in over 20 films, including Merchant Ivory's Heat and Dust and Cotton Mary. In 2006 she published her memoir of childhood, Climbing the Mango Trees.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press; First Edition edition (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091874157
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091874155
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 7.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #354,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Madhur Jaffrey is a legend. Her books have helped cooks in the UK recreate the taste of Indian cookery for around 30 years now.

This book starts off with a comprehensive and very interesting discussion on the history of curries and how Indian cookery spread across the globe through the spice trade and emmigration.

In fact it covers more than just curries. The sections are split into:

1. Lamb, Pork, beef, veal and goat

2. Poultry and eggs

3. Fish and seafood

4. Vegetables

5. Dals, beans and split peas

6. Kebabs and soup

7. Rice, noodles and breads

8. Relishes and Accompaniments

9. Special ingredients and techniques

Each chapter is prefaced with a page or two of introductory notes on the topic. Also, what I really like about the book is that interspersed throughout, are notes on topics such as "The Anglo Indian Influence", "The British 19th century curry", "In search of the perfect kebab" "The origins of the Bhuna", "The Japanese love of curry", "The origins of the Korma" and "The story of the goat curry". This stuff is great to read if you are a curry enthusiast like I am!

Recipies are represented from India, Pakistan, Trinidad, Hong Kong, USA, South Africa, Japan, Guyana, UK, Kenya, Bangladesh, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia - so it's truely an eclectic mix. Yet this strength in diversity is also the weakness of the book, as Madhur Jaffrey is an expert in Indian cookery. In her quest to write a "Curry Bible" she steps out of her comfort zone and into more unfamiliar territory - international cookery.
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Format: Hardcover
I love Madhur Jaffrey's cooking, I love her recipes and I find them fairly easy to negotiate. Really I have nothing bad to say about her or her cookbooks, but a word of warning to people who have already bought her cookbook "from Curries to Kebabs" these books are identical. Now whether this was a repackage deal by the publishers I cannot be sure, but was most amazed that I could buy two completely different looking books (from different stores) of exactly the same cookbook. Very sneaking!
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Format: Hardcover
This book is both my current favorite cookbook and the most frustrating one I own. I have tried at least 20 recipes in it, and of those easily 5 are dishes that are already household favorites. We are especially delighted by the recipes for places we are unlikely to visit soon, such as Pakistan. That said, this book is NOT for beginning cooks. It is plagued by Ms. Jaffrey's well-known reluctance to adequately explain Indian cooking techniques; worse, in my mind, are the numerous errors--I have already found two recipes in which she neglects to tell us what to do with some of the ingredients! It is characteristic of her books in other ways, too: heavy on the meat, skimpy on dals and rice dishes, a preponderance of fried vegetables. Still, I am grateful for the recipes, especially the lamb dishes--some of which I dream about, they are so good.
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Format: Hardcover
Firstly I should say that I have really enjoyed making the recipes from this book. My cooking has previously been European style and it's been interesting to produce things which look and smell so different. I was entranced at the smells the first time I cooked from it. I do, however, have two gripes about this book. The first is that lots of the recipes taste similar to each other. Cinnamon, ginger, and coriander dominate most. The variety I've experienced eating at the homes of my Indian friends seems to be lacking here. Secondly, the editing is really shoddy: there are lots of errors in the recipes. The most common problem is that there are items in the ingredients list which are never mentioned in the instructions for that recipe. In at least one recipe the instructions or quantities are wrong because there is no way one could, say, obtain a thick sauce by following her instructions. The number of errors is such that I no longer trust anything and always have to ask myself if what I'm reading makes sense before I do it. This is a real pity.

Also slightly irritating is that the recipes are littered with "black magic", where you're told to, say, add ingredient X then immediately add Y; or perhaps to wait 30 seconds before adding A to B. Frankly it makes no difference which way around you do these things or what the delay is, this rubbish just wastes space which would be better spent explaining the recipe correctly. This here cook doesn't appreciate the time wasted in working around irrelevant instructions.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful and informative cookbook, or even a cultural-historical work, and makes fascinating reading. Many of the recipes I've tried have been excellent.

However I agree with the comments about the occasional vagaries in some of them--the frequent instruction to add ingredients "when the oil is hot," for example, is open to a wide degree of interpretation. I also feel that sometimes the quantities of liquids specified in the recipes are too large, I've made some where the chicken or vegetables were simply afloat in a soup by the end, contrary to the described or pictured result. I'm experienced enough to know how to reduce a sauce, but why should that be necessary or desirable, after spending so much time and effort on the stipulated procedure, and given the concentration of spices that that entails? I don't have this problem with other Indian cookbooks I use.

Also, it would have been nice to know that commercially available tamarind paste apparently cannot be used in equivalent quantities to the paste she describes making yourself from dried tamarind. Personally, I find the taste of the commercial product so overpowering that a fraction of the amount asked for in the recipe would have been ample, and I don't think I'll have the heart to eat the rest of the dish I just spent an evening preparing.
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