- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Periplus Editions; New Ed edition (September 15, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9625935274
- ISBN-13: 978-9625935270
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 105 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India Paperback – September 15, 1999
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"An uncommon primer on the distinctive vegetarian table from the four states of South India." -- The Atlanta Journal
"This is a great addition to a vegetarian library...a 'must have' for any ethnic food collection." -- Gourmet Retailer
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The only reason I'm giving this 4 stars instead of 5 is the quality of the bookbinding. I've had it for only a few weeks, and I've used it just once so far, but already the book is falling apart. I haven't been at all rough on it, it's just badly made. The signatures were glued or otherwise attached to a plastic strip down the center of the spine. They have all detached, and the plastic strip has broken into 2 pieces. All that holds it together now is the stitching and the thin line of glue attaching the end pages to the cover. I don't expect any of that to hold together for long.
If you can find another edition of this cookbook, one printed by another publishing company (this was by Periplus), I would highly recommend it. If the Periplus edition is the only one you can find, you might want to take steps to secure the binding, or else be prepared to having pages start to fall out soon after you begin using it.
After reading through, I'm unclear on a few things but trial and error should get me through:
- Tamarind pulp "lemon sized" is used frequently with different amounts of water. A ratio difference when using tamarind paste would be really nice to have. I guess the sourness is up to personal preference, but some clue would help for the first time running through the recipes.
- Bay leaf: The spice appendix states that she is talking about the Mediterranean Laurus nobilis bay laurel, but Indian bay leaf / tejpat (Cinnamomum tamala) is probably the traditional leaf used in all the dishes where she uses Mediterranean bay.
- "Bunch" of curry leaves. Depending on where I purchase the leaves has a huge variance on the size and amount of leaves on a stem (if they're still on a central stem). "Bunch" leaves too much up to interpretation (pun intended).
- Copra. I'm sure I can find it around here, but equivalent dried unsweetened shredded coconut would be more useful.
Having a small blender than can deal with grinding spices with some oil or water is highly recommended. In many recipes you create a paste of spices with oil/water and/or coconut.
Nice to haves would be:
- Tagged dairy vs no dairy
- Tagged garlic/onion vs no garlic/onion
- Consistent picture descriptions. I'm pretty sure a few of them were wrong, and on some I don't think I found the description. No consistency there.
- I'm still on the search for a cookbook that doesn't simplify spices just because they think the reader wouldn't be able to find them. Mark them as optional, but keep them in!
The two page sambar chapter intro picture made my mouth water.
This shows how to make every part of a rich Indian meal from soups and savories to sweets at the end. I've tried only one recipe (so far), the Tomato Rasam. I had to make some minor adjustments to available ingredients, but only minor, and it went together without difficulty. The result was incredible - tomato gave it tang, beans cooked til they disintegrated gave body, and a pleasant bite came from chilis (both green and red), ginger, and mustard seed. Other spices, including asafoetida, contributed a rich, deep note to the flavor. It tasted great, of course. Much to my surprise, my wife's asthmatic cough quited down after a bowl of it, then resumed promptly after the last of the leftovers were consumed - I'm not a "food as medicine" fanatic, but make of her report what you will.
I like this book a lot, and so does my wife. And, since it was recommended by an Indian colleague, I'll take his word for its authenticity. Enjoy!