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American Masala: 125 New Classics from My Home Kitchen Hardcover – October 2, 2007
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Suvir Saran's first book, Indian Home Cooking, offered a you-can-make-it take on one of the world's great cuisines, whose many spice blends, or masalas, can daunt Western cooks. In American Masala, Suvir offers 125 similarly approachable recipes that bring the many-layered flavors of Indian cooking to more familiar dishes, yielding, for example, Crab and Salmon Cakes with Spicy Cilantro Aïoli, Indian-Spiced Meatballs with Tomato-Chile Sauce, and Tamarind Roost Turkey with Corn Bread-Jalapeño Stuffing. More traditional Indian dishes, like Sweet Potato Chaat and Lamb Seekh Kebabs, are also included, as are sweets, such as Pistachio-and-Cardamom Pound Cake with Lemon Icing and Pavlova with Spiced Berries and Cointreau Cream.
Saran, a warm, food-loving presence, also offers autobiographical notes that further domesticate his recipes. With color photos and good info on ingredients and techniques, American Masala can help cooks add excitement to everyday and party-giving menus alike. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
Although the recipes in Saran's aptly titled second cookbook share no unifying principle apart from their deliciousness—whoever heard of Macaroni and Cheese keeping company with Mushroom and Rice Biryani Casserole?—they complement one another in a mysterious way. Such eclecticism reflects how Saran, chef and co-owner of Dévi in New York City, cooks for his family and enormous circle of Tupperware-toting friends. Unlike many other chefs' signature dishes, which originate in a restaurant kitchen, Saran's most inspired creations begin at home. When this cooking-without-borders approach succeeds, as it mostly does, the results taste like wild siblings of the original: bolder, stronger, deeper. Seasonings for a delicious variation on harira, a traditional Moroccan soup, include Aleppo pepper and garam masala; a buttermilk brine for fried chicken is flavored with ginger, coriander and cayenne. Indian dishes like Mashed Potatoes with Mustard Oil, Cilantro and Onions and Bombay-Style Whole Snapper, in which the fish is rubbed with a spice paste before roasting, particularly stand out for their elegance and ease of preparation. 60 color photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
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There's something for everyone in this cookbook! If you're tired of the same old meatloaf, chicken, and fish, wake up your taste buds with Tamarind-Glazed Meatloaf, Parmesan-Spiced Chicken Cutlets, or Coconut-Braised Salmon. Not a veggie-lover? You'll be shocked (I was) when you are taking seconds of the Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Almonds, the Cardamom-Roasted Cauliflower, and the Asparagus Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette. If you're looking for adventure with ingredients and names you've never heard of, try the Potato and Pea Poha or Imm Jaddara. Need a stunning dessert to impress at an office party or potluck? How about a Pistachio-and-Cardamom Pound Cake with Lemon Icing or a Toffee Cake that's out-of-this-world rich and delicious? And my absolute favorite of all is a twist on French Toast, using raw sugar that melts into its own crunchy, irresistible syrup. That recipe alone is worth the price of the book!
American Masala looks like a coffee-table showpiece, complete with beautiful pictures and enlightening narratives, but it's so much more. This book belongs in the kitchen, with the pages getting splashed and stained, the spine broken at favorite and oft-used recipes. I highly recommend it!
Then, and perhaps best of all, the fussy eaters in the family would not stay out of the potatoes until dinner! Even my mother, who hates richly flavored foods, loved both dishes. My heart sang, as the reason I ever took up a wooden spoon was total boredom with my mother's WASPy efforts in the kitchen.
All this totally reinforces a point I always talk about on my cooking show - that food and the kitchen are where many special family memories are cooked up. Memories that last a lifetime and beyond.
I haved thoroughly enjoyed using American Masala, too!
The recipes are well written and easy to follow. The meatloaf recipe alone is worth the purchase price. It's moist and delicious enough for company. And I've never been one to get excited about meatloaf!
Also loved the Shrimp Poha Paella - it's different, easy and absolutely scrumptious. Even the fussy teenagers in my family loved it.
I've been a caterer for 20 years, but this cookbook is teaching me new things about how to enhance the flavor of food with spices. I have tried eight different recipes so far, and loved them all.
You can't go wrong with this book.
I use the book as a reference when cooking, but also, if I just want to read about cooking techniques. I have learned some tricks from this author. I recommend this book to anybody looking to try to add spice to classic American fare, or just to read about interesting combination of food and spices.
Most recent customer reviews
The book only arrived a day ago and I've already cooked three of the recipes...Read more