on May 1, 2015
I was excited to get this book, after landing on a super easy recipe from Basu's website. The book is cute, for a small cookbook but horribly presented. The table of contents has listings like "Light and Bright" and "Food For Feeling Better". But with no further listings, and only an alphabetical index in the back, how am I supposed to find options for chicken dishes, fish dishes, pork dishes. Even sorting by curry, dal, masala, would have been helpful but everything is jumbled together with no way of finding any recipe, except for the last chapter "sweet indulgences." The other mistake the author makes is to frame everything from a U.K. point of view. Hello! Amazon makes us all part of one world now and I would have appreciated some tips on where to get this stuff in the U.S. Because I will be forced to cut up this book and rearrange it, I will end up losing half of the valuable information/tips scattered throughout the book (as it will be glued down to a blank page.) Lastly, I have to argue with the photos in the book, which show up on two pages as an assortment of dishes with references to the page the recipe is on. But the photo is never referenced in the recipe, making the styling, for all of its considerable effort, useless to me as a cook. So while the recipes look good, the book will ultimately have limited value. I'd love to see it properly edited and formatted, fattened up, and republished.
5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2010
I'm interested in North Indian courtly (Red Fort) cuisine of the Mughals and am always on the lookout for the latest on the subject. I regularly visit bookstores in Saudi Arabia (where I teach) and the USA. I've come across Salma's Husain's tiltles on Mughal cooking.
A part of my interest is in finding out material on Bengali Muslim cuisine (esp., what they, in Bangladesh, serve at weddings, the two Eid festivals, state dinners, annual feasts in university dormitories and military barracks, circumcision ceremonies, funerals, and other occasions when they feed guests in large numbers. I'm trying to absorb the style and principles of the Bengali Muslim cuisine (much of which owes its origin to "mughlai").
Recently, Mallika Basu's MISS MASALA drew my attention and I bought it. From its appearance and title, at first, I thought it was a novel (fit for a teenager because of the design and choice of colors) written by a South Asian. After a close look, I found that it's a cookbook and contains some mughlai recipes.
I like Mallika Basu's English; it's very readable. Also, I found the material quite authentic, interesting, and educational for me. It's worth the money, although I may not agree with her illustrations. I expected some color pictures of dishes but was disappointed. I wonder if it's the cost of publication that was the rationale for not using pictures.
Mallika Basu appears too Calcutta-centric and has not at all mentioned the independent Bengali republic -- the People's Republic of Bangladesh, although she claims she's a Bengali. Dhaka is rich in traditional Bengali and Mughlai culinary traditions. Maybe, in the next edition, she could enhance the book title, design, and content (by covering Bangladeshi cuisine).
-- Dr. Solaiman Ali (an expatriate Bangladeshi)
King Abdulaziz University (Faculty of Engineering)