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Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine Paperback – September 7, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Filled with incredible recipes, creative, thoughtful technique, and delightful stories, Vij's invites the home cook into the bustling kitchen of what has been called one of the finest Indian restaurants in the world." (Cookbook Digest 2007-02-01)

"Admit it. You get cravings for Indian food. But it's time to look beyond takeout standards like butter chicken. These days, Indian-inspired menus mix and match cultures and tastes. Invite friends for a buffet full of flavour and spicy aromas, and rent a Bollywood movie. Go Indian -- it's a memorable way to entertain." (Style at Home Magazine 2007-03-01)

"From the twin kitchens of their wildly successful restaurants, Vij's and Rangoli, and now in the pages of their cookbook Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine, Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala have changed the way we experience Indian food." (Eat Magazine 2007-05-30)

"[The recipes are] made all the easier by clear instructions and an excellent introductory section called 'In the Indian Kitchen' that elucidates both technique and ingredients." (Focus Magazine 2007-07-01)

About the Author

Vikram Vij was born in India and grew up in Amritsar and Mumbai. He studied hotel management in Salzburg, Austria, before moving to Canada to work at the Banff Springs Hotel. He opened the original 14-seat Vij's Restaurant in Vancouver in 1994.

Meeru Dhalwala was born in India but moved to Washington, D.C., at a young age. Prior to moving to Canada, she worked on human rights and international development projects. She and Vikram live in Vancouver.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre; 1 edition (September 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1553651847
  • ISBN-13: 978-1553651840
  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A. R. Tupper on November 10, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Vij's restaurant (Vancouver B.C.) has been one of my favorite placed to eat for some time now. For the money, you'd be hard pressed to find better food anywhere. Having said that, I was admittedly a bit nervous about trying to recreate any of these dishes in my own kitchen. I'd rate my self as a moderately skilled chef at best, and didn't know the first thing about preparing Indian food.

Anyways, I couldn't resist the temptation to try. My first effort was a cilantro-mint chicken curry. I must say it was incredible. The whole house smelled amazing while I was cooking. I invited my parents over to try the results and they couldn't stop commenting on how delicious the dish was.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes Indian food and wants to try preparing it for themselves, or would like to add a few incredible recipes to their repertoire.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By C. Sanders on November 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
I *love* Vij's restaurant, so I had pre-ordered this cookbook for myself and a friend. I find the recipes in this book very easy to follow, and they do not use a bunch of hard-to-find ingredients. I'm very pleased.

One warning - the recpie for "Goat or Lamb Curry" on pg. 80 calles for WAY TOO MUCH salt (2 TABLEspoons)!! Cut that in half or less when you make it. This must have been a misprint - maybe they meant 2 TEAspoons? Even that would be a lot. There is no way that much salt in correct, but I followed the recipe. If you could ignore the salt, the taste of the (lamb) curry was delicious.

I have also made one of the rice and cauliflower dishes - that was good, but then I like the taste of cumin.

The one I am really looking forward to making is the short-ribs dish. Vij told me that in the restaurant they cook the ribs at 200 degrees for something like 6 HOURS. The book calls for a more moderate time, like 3 hours. I'm sure it will be delicious.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Karthik R on February 25, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't usually write reviews [for cookbooks] but I just had to write one for Vij's book. I read a lot of cookbooks but I have never once been inspired or impressed with any book on Indian cuisine (except perhaps Chilis to Chutneys). This is the first one that really caught my attention and here's why: Vij's philosophy, much like early California cuisine, emphasizes the use of fresh local [north American] ingredients (many of which aren't normally used in Indian cooking). When cooked with fresh Indian spices, the results are just spectacular. I never thought Arugula, Kale and Butternut Squash would taste so good in an Indian curry. Even if you're vegetarian, many of the sauces [in the meat/poultry/fish sections] work just as well with Tofu or Paneer. The Seared venison medallions in a pomegranate curry, Striped bass in a sour cream curry, sauteed brussel sprouts and coconut chick pea flour curry are such wonderful treats for your senses.
The book is well-written with lots of pictures and clear concise instructions. I recommend keeping a good stock of fresh spices (especially Cumin, Coriander and black mustard seeds) before cooking with this book. I first read about this restaurant in the NYT last year and have been looking for a book since then. I am not the slightest bit disappointed.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lisa on November 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a brilliant book. I have been cooking Indian food for over 30 years, and this book has totally changed the way I think about Indian cooking. Where many Indian cookbooks have a long list of ingredients, this one tends to have fewer ingredients, but they are absolutely the *right* ingredients, and not in stinting quantities. The result is flavors that are crisp and bright.

Because of the clear instructions and illustrations, I am now making my own paneer (cheese) at home. It's far superior to anything available in the stores and is much cheaper (less than $2 a pound if you get milk on sale).

I originally hesitated to buy this book because I'm vegetarian and many of the recipes are for meat and seafood, but I'm very glad I got it. The non vegetarian recipes can often easily be adapted for meatless use. And there are quite a few meatless recipes.

There are some editorial anomalies. For example in the recipe titled "Sautéed Arugula and Spinach with Paneer and Roasted Cashews," the arugula and spinach is in fact never sautéed. It is added to the liquid curry at the very end and cooked until wilted and heated through. Go figure. (Great recipe by the way, but reduce water to one cup from three.)

I also found that the authors tend to use more liquid than I would. If you are an experienced cook and you feel that a recipe calls for too much liquid, trust your instinct and go with less to start with. You can always add additional if you need it. The only time this was a problem for me was when I made a lentil rice pilaf, using the quantity called for - it was one of the first recipes I made. There was so much liquid I had to cook it down much longer than I would have liked and the result was mushy. The flavor, however, was superb.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Slava on January 26, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to say that I appreciate this book and that it's well done, however I find the dishes to be more eclectic and individualistic interpretations of this kind of cooking than things I find I'd rush to make at home. For example Vij's features very liberal use of ghee as opposed to moderate amounts of oil in the tadkas; homage to alu gobhi is a pate of the vegetables baked and pureed with heavy cream (similar to mashed potatoes); and so on. That said the recipes I've tried out have been very nice ("alu gobhi" pate included), and the information provided has been well presented, instructive and useful.

One think I really like about this book: Paradoxically, their recipe for garam masala is a very usable blend that is very predominantly cumin seed, so it's not as wild-and-crazy shahi/restaurant-style a taste, but rather it lends itself to more liberal use and for a final product that is more reminiscent of homestyle flavors.

Certainly this book fills a niche, and it is nice. It's just not the most home-cook-useful book I've ever used. I'm glad I have it, but I don't find myself relying on it often. I say this as one who has never had the opportunity to experience the Vij restaurants--I'm just examining the book on it's own merits. My 2 cents... hope it helps someone!
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