64 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Fulfills its promise. But it shouldn't be your first Indian cookbook.,
This review is from: Indian Home Cooking: A Fresh Introduction to Indian Food, with More Than 150 Recipes (Hardcover)After visiting Suvir Saran's New York restaurant, Devi, where I had what was possibly the best Indian meal of my life, I was delighted to get my hands on his cookbook. Breathlessly, I turned to the recipes for the dishes I had most enjoyed. YES! They were all here. And now they're in my kitchen.
The premise for this book is Indian home cooking, and it definitely succeeds. Some of the recipes have a long list of ingredients, but even in those cases, half the list is spices (4 cardamom pods, 4 cloves, etc.). It's definitely not fussy, and the author is cognizant that not everyone can get unusual ingredients. Most recipes identify which items are optional (such as curry leaves and nigella seeds), and, as long as your grocery and health food store covers such essentials as unsweetened grated coconut, you'll be able to make everything listed. Suvir Saran is also kind enough to give "serve this with... "menu suggestions, as most of us aren't sure enough of Indian accompaniments.
So far, I've made three of his recipes: a simple chicken curry that was undemanding enough to make for a Tuesday afternoon lunch (well received), and a meal of Cauliflower Hyderabad Style (with coconut, mint, and cardamom) with Simple Gujarati Dal with Three Chiles. It was great, although my cauliflower came out much wetter than I'd had in the restaurant.
There is a high proportion of vegetarian recipes in this book, though you'll also find plenty of meat, poultry, and fish. The meat recipes seem to be more in the "usual suspects" range, such as chicken tikka masala; it's the veggie stuff that makes me say Yum when I look at the photos. (Crisp whole okra with fennel and coriander, smoked spiced eggplant, stir-fried green beans with cumin).
The instructions aren't quite perfect, however. The cauliflower recipe called for one head, about 3 pounds; but the ordinary size cauliflower in my market were only about 1.5 pounds. I could and did make adjustments, which wasn't a problem -- though it might have been, if I were new to this cuisine. Also, some recipes require you to add an item, stir constantly for 30 seconds before you add the next... then 30 seconds later add another. That might be overwhelming to a new cook, at least one who doesn't have a recipe-reader standing nearby. (For new Indian cooks, I'd recommend Julie Sahni's book, which spends a lot more time explaining cooking techniques.)
Overall, however, this is a great cookbook. Recommended.
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Initial post: Oct 25, 2006 12:50:57 PM PDT
Suvir Saran says:
The cauliflower we serve at the restaurant is a very different recipe.
If you want the recipe, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Indian cookery is not about too much drama and fuss.
I grew up and still travel through India learning from and watching magical chefs create fireworks from nothing. They have little if any special acoutrements and certainly no major technique other than a will to cook and an understanding of how to cook with spices and aromatics.
That is nothing one can learn through pages.
In my cooking classes across the country, I find people become amazing Indian cooks after having worked alongside me and other Indians or even after cooking through the pages of my book or others.
What truly celebrates our cuisine is the light and wonderful flavors of our home cookery. And that is what I wanted to share.
Coming to this country, it was that which I craved and sadly did not find in restaurants on in many printed pages.
Thanks for all your support and also for your patronage of my restaurant.
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