From Publishers Weekly
The host of TV's Top Chef
, Lakshmi (Easy Exotic
) puts her own culinary skills to the test in this glossy, cosmopolitan cookbook. Here, in vibrant colors, are her own palate-shaping memories in the form of recipes and short but highly personal essays. Like Nigella Lawson, Lakshmi's sex appeal is part of her draw as a food personality, and this collection obliges with adorable family photos as well as glamour shots of the model/actress nibbling on her creations. The global cuisine runs the gamut from a Southeast Asian–style Warm Peanut Salad with Tomato and Cilantro to Persian Chicken Soup with Omani Lemon and Dill to fried chicken battered with Rice Krispies. Keralan Crab Cakes and Pineapple and Pomegranate Crumble are among the fusion dishes that blend cuisines with intriguing results. Interspersed throughout are plenty of South Indian classics, reflecting Lakshmi's own heritage. Lakshmi has an inventive knack for flavor combination, but some of her recipes, like a Barbecued Shrimp with Chili Honey Butter, don't quite live up to the hype. Nevertheless, this book will certainly be well received by Lakshmi's growing fan base as well as home cooks looking to mix it up in the kitchen. (Oct.)
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Reality cooking shows have never been more popular (Gordon Ramsay currently has three programs on the air), and Top Chef is no exception. Lakshmi is no stranger to the field: her 1999 cookbook, Easy Exotic, was awarded Best First Book at the World Cookbook Awards, and she was the host of Padma's Passport on the Food Network. Her second cookbook is a much larger endeavor, with almost twice the amount of recipes. The dishes reflect her Indian heritage (curries and chutneys abound), with plenty of Caribbean (coconut crab cakes, chicken made with Red Stripe beer) and American (barbecue shrimp and fried chicken) influences. Though billed as simple, easy recipes to prepare, novices should be prepared to take a trip to the nearest international market for amchoor and jaggery. Lavish photographs, a small section on pickles and chutneys, and a few short essays by Lakshmi round out the volume. Not exactly an essential purchase, but expect demand from Top Chef addicts. Orellana, Carlos