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Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen Hardcover – April 21, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bhide (The Everything Indian Cookbook) provides a personal look at modern Indian cooking, showcasing new versions of her native cuisine that pay homage to tradition but also acknowledge the everyday lifestyle of India today. While Bhide's recipes use authentic spices and techniques, she departs from the stereotype of complicated meals that take hours to prepare. Her recipes focus on spices and flavor, spanning the gamut of Indian cuisine. She also includes recipes for meat, rice, breads and desserts. Highlights include coriander-and-fennel crusted lamb chops, curried scallops, and onion bread stir-fry. Scattered throughout are personal stories on a variety of subjects, including a visit to Vaishno Devi Maa's Temple and recollections of a meal prepared by grand master Indian chef Imtiaz Qureshi. Bhide also provides a detailed spice pantry section and an insider's guide to time- and labor-saving ingredients. The author offers a refreshing look at the diverse and changing cuisine of India, with a new perspective that will be embraced by Indian food lovers everywhere. (Apr.)
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From Booklist

Product of a culture deeply bound to its traditions, Indian cooking has only recently begun to engage seriously with other cuisines. Bhide spearheads a movement seeking to reinterpret Indian cooking and make it more accessible to the growing international kitchen. Herself an offspring of the Indian diaspora and raised in the Middle East, Bhide eschews standard recipes that can be found in other Indian cookbooks, instead taking Indian ingredients, especially the vast array of spices, and applying them in original, intriguing ways. She concocts a cocktail snack based on Rice Krispies cereal but sharply scented with mustard seeds, turmeric, cumin, and fennel. Green chili chutney tops bits of omelet resting in little pastry shells. Mashed potatoes get a garlic, chili, and coconut kick. Dry rubs anoint both grilled fish and meat. Essays intersperse the recipes, most of them Bhide’s reflections on her family and upbringing. A revolutionary approach to Indian cooking. --Mark Knoblauch

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416566597
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416566595
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,200,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
First, I must admit that the author is a friend, and that I worked with her on this book. But please don't let that make you think that any praise I give the book is unearned. Believe me, if this book had fallen out of the sky into my kitchen I would also love it.


Reason #1: The recipes WORK. I'm lucky enough to know that Monica tests her recipes, and has people with all different levels of cooking skill test them, too. And she won't let a recipe go until everyone can make it. So even if you are a novice cook, you *can* make these dishes. And if you are already skilled in Indian cooking, you just might find a simpler way to make something you love. Case in point: the recipe for Cream of Wheat and Paneer Pancakes (page 200). When I read it, I recognized it immediately as idli. But where is grinding the grains for it? Where is letting the batter sit overnight (or longer) to ferment? Gone! But what you get is a delicious pancake that works as a side, as a bread, as the basis for a meal.

Reason #2: She is there to guide you through things that might be new to you. It might be a bit much to call this a "Mastering the Art of Indian Cooking," but there is very helpful information about ingredients and techniques that might be unfamiliar. And again, even if you think you know all about them, you just might learn something.

Reason #3: This really is a book for *modern* cooks. Who has time to grind spices, and make complicated multi-day recipes? Very few of us. But even the simplest, quickest recipes are so full of flavor, you'll almost feel guilty at how easy they are. There is no such thing as a recipe that is too simple, as far as I'm concerned, not if the people I serve it to eat up every last bit!
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Format: Hardcover
There are so many wonderful recipes here, plus I love the little personal stories that Bhide drops into the book, like pearls. I find her recipes for vegetables especially helpful: we're trying to eat less meat in this house, and Modern Spice gives me so many new ways to cook old favorites like eggplant. She's also given me a reason to like green beans. Many nice seafood recipes, too.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This cookbook has been a great addition to my kitchen. While I love Indian food, I often struggle to pull off recipes in my own home because it's difficult to obtain the right ingredients. Fortunately, many of the recipes in this book use recipes that are easy to access (yes, I had to make a special trip to Whole Foods for some, but that's still obtainable). And while the ingredients are easier to find, the recipes are still inventive and interesting (it's more than just a book filled with dal and chicken recipes). I personally enjoyed the short stories scattered throughout the book. However, they don't dominate the book, so if they're not your cup o' tea, you won't be too distracted by them. The photographs in this book are mouthwatering, and will make you want to try every recipe. Not only has this book become a staple in my kitchen, but I have given it twice as a gift to adventurous cooks, with rave reviews from the recipients.
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Format: Hardcover
"Modern Spice" is hands-down my favorite new cookbook. I am reading it cover to cover, and I simply can't say enough good things about this book. For those out there who fear the exploration of this cuisine, let "Modern Spice" be your guide. The pantry chapter alone will allay your fear of mysterious spices and by the time you've gotten to the first recipe you'll be chomping at the bit to get to your stove.

"Modern Spice" is more than a cookbook; its a deeply personal exploration of food, family, culture and more. Monice Bhide's passion for life and food is infectious - it will draw you in, keep you reading, and encourage you to explore. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this treasure - your heart and your palate will thank you.
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Format: Hardcover
I loved the recipes, stories, guidelines on Herb and Spice usage under "The modern spice pantry" and mostly the style of writing in Modern Spice. I found it to be very interesting read as the recipes were personalized with beautiful personal stories and anecdotes that certainly kept the interest and added that extra dash of personal touch, which along with providing recipes, tips and guidelines threw light on cultural perceptive, origin or historical background of the recipe, and on the depth of Monica Bhide's passion with food and her writing.

This is a book for all-Indian and Non-Indians who would like to venture into kitchen with confidence. You can cook entire meal as it gives recipes for entrees, snacks, desserts and drinks.
I have recommended to my American friends, who usually get little overwhelmed with the spice/ingredient combination's that go into Indian cooking.
In Modern Spice, recipes are easy to follow, the flavors and the spice combination's are easy on the taste buds, and most importantly many of the ingredients are very easily available in regular super markets, except for few basic ingredients that would be found in Indian grocery stores.

The second group I am recommending the book is to the 2nd-generation Indians, busy Moms and for people who like to add a different angle to an Indian dish but lack the creative, risk-taking adventurous mindset of their own(eg i can site are-Papad stuffed with Paneer and crab, Brussels sprouts, Leeks and curry leaves, Lychee Pineapple Salad, salmon with Kumquat, Paneer and fig Pizza, roasted cauliflower, saffron mussels stew.....I can go on.

My personal favorite are the drinks-the exotic use of fruits and the blends(Guava Bellini, Papaya-Mango Tango!!!). I loved making them, with my own little twists or using the suggestions on alternatives.
Overall I think it is a good cook book to have in your kitchen and table.
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