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My Bombay Kitchen: Traditional and Modern Parsi Home Cooking Hardcover – June 18, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this charming volume, an independent food scholar explores her Parsi heritage and provides a wide range of recipes that should prove revelatory even for home cooks used to whipping up a biryani at a moment's notice. Though it shares similarities with other subcontinental cuisines-a reliance on ghee, a taste for curry, a deep affection for vegetables-Parsi food is unique in many ways, hinting at its Persian ancestry with ample use of eggs, while nodding toward Europe through savory custards and rich desserts. Many recipes are both unusual and deeply comforting: onions, young garlic, and leeks turn rich and buttery in an Allium Confit, and Braised Greens, spiked with cayenne, are vegetables gone to heaven. Cauliflower, eggs and grated cheese take a decadent turn in Mother's Wobbly Caulfilower Custard. King even makes organ meats appealing: Chicken Livers in Green Masala is a luscious take on the underused ingredient, bright with cumin, chiles and coriander. King also has novel uses for goat brains, kid's trotters and tongue, an intriguing challenge for intrepid home cooks. Perhaps most delightful is her brief introduction to Parsi history and culture, which tells both the author's story as an Indian expatriate in Berkeley, and the fascinating background of one of the world's most sophisticated cuisines.
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Review

“King could do for Indian cooking in America what Alice Waters and company did for the food of southern France.”
(San Francisco Magazine 2008-07-02)

“Essential reading for anyone to understand Parsi culture and cuisine. . . . She evokes the passion to cook.”
(The Art Of Eating 2007-12-01)

Niloufer Ichaporia King’s intimate tone, wit, and personal stories make us feel as if we’re right next to her.
(Chow 2008-12-08)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 355 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (June 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520249607
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520249608
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Cast Iron Chef on July 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I received my order of "My Bombay Kitchen: Traditional and Modern Parsi Home Cooking - Niloufer Ichaporia King."

I STRONGLY recommend this book. My wife is Parsi, and I enjoy cooking Parsi cuisine (along with many other cuisines, but Parsi cuisine is a favorite) and have a number of books on the subject, so I looked at how she treated some recipies I had already done, Patrel and Dhansak Masala. I've visited where my wife grew up in Bombay on M Karve Road near the Eros theater. There I also enjoyed Goan cuisine (my wife's 'nannys' were Goan and are superb cooks of both Goan and Parsi cuisine). Reading this book made you feel like you were back in Bombay learning a cuisine at the hands of someone who had mastered the cuisine and was gracious and competent enough to be teaching it to you with the clarity and style of a master teacher. Clearly this book is written by a Parsi in America, paying attention to the difficulties of obtaining certain ingredients, noting appropriate substitutions, yet showing the knowledge that could only come from someone who had been a part of the culture in Bombay - maintaining a most authentic result. The book isn't simply a collection of exquisitely presented recipies demonstrating exemplarary versions of those recipies, but the recipies are presented within the cultural context of the Parsi traditions, noting the culinary likes and dislikes of Parsis, what are mainstays of the tradition, etc etc. Delightfully written - a pleasure to read (excellent editing) and a clear presentation of information that I've struggled to get elsewhere.

Dhansak Masala is a complex spice mixture composed of dhana jiru and sambhar masala, each complex mixtures in their own right, with endless variations as numerous as there are cooks.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Kornbluth TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Alice Waters calls Niloufer Ichaporia King "one of the great cooks I know." It makes Waters crazy that King has steadfastly refused to open a restaurant. But it delights Waters that, on the Parsi New Year, King consents to cook a feast worthy of her mother's Bombay kitchen at her legendary restaurant.

I've never been to that dinner. Nor have I ever enjoyed an Indian meal that King might claim as her own. I'm the standard American who claims to love Indian food --- I look over the menu and wonder one thing: how hot to order the curry. Oh, and maybe whether to get the king-size beer if I've thrown sanity to the winds and ordered a vindaloo.

But smart friends have said "My Bombay Kitchen" is the cookbook event of the year.

And Alice Waters --- she created Chez Panisse and almost singlehandedly launched the good food movement --- certainly knows her way around an entree.

And as even a skim of her book indicates, Niloufer Ichaporia King doesn't cook the mundane fare I'm used to.

One reason fits all: Niloufer Ichaporia King's people are not quite "Indian".

The Parsis were Persians who migrated to southern India from Persia. They had a highly evolved culture, heavily shaped by the teachings of Zoroaster, a prophet who lived in the seventh century before Christ. King calls Zoroastrianism "a religion of conduct rather than piety," for it holds that all people --- that includes both sexes --- are equal, that we are stewards of the earth, and that life is "an ongoing struggle between light and dark forces within each human being."

Because Bombay is a port city and a commercial hub, its tastes were sophisticated when King was growing up there.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Larry Bain on October 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Like many great affairs, it began in the bedroom and moved to the kitchen. I was so entranced by Ms. Ichaporia-King's writing that I had the book at my bedside for weeks of enticing, and entrancing late night reading. I then brought the book into my kitchen for what I anticipate will be a lifetime of delicious meals. I used to cook for profit, but now just for pleasure and it is a book that can be either inspirational (oh, I think I will try that spice combination with my old favorite pork dish) or instructional (so that is how you make chili pickles) and most often both. I hate when Amazon says "people who liked this book, also liked..." But I will say for people who liked Simple French Food by Richard Olney, The Zuni Cookbook by Judy Rogers, or Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson, they will adore this book. I now have a little Bombay in my kitchen, and everyone is thrilled about my latest affair.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Folded Pony on April 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Some people use cookbooks, I read them. I believe a cookbook, especially an ethnic or exotic one, should be as entertaining as a novel, as detailed as a travel guide, and as warm and witty as a good neighbor's kitchen. It's rare to find a cookbook that fits the bill as completely--and cleverly--as this one. No tiresome list of esoteric ingredients and daunting prep, Niloufer's explanations of products, procedures and substitutions are clear and organized enough for newcomers to Middle- and Far-East cooking to march confidently, yet salted with options for more advanced cooks to flex their jazz and improv muscles. The obsessive attention to detail and organization presciently addresses issues like storage and substitution, often with memorable mirth. (In a description of a recipe that can be successfully "thawed": "Note, I didn't say 'frozen.' Anything can be successfully frozen.") Moreover, she provides a brief and eloquent history of the Parsi people, giving the reader a solid foundation to better appreciate this somewhat obscure culinary creole.

Of course, the deal breaker is, "How's the food?" Well, her Major Ordle's Chutney is the best mango chutney I've ever made (and she explains why), her Mother's Wobbly Cauliflower Custard slides into a pie shell to become God's own quiche, and her masur (without tongue, thank you) is itself worth the price of admission.
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