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Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen Hardcover – April 21, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Bhide (The Everything Indian Cookbook) provides a personal look at modern Indian cooking, showcasing new versions of her native cuisine that pay homage to tradition but also acknowledge the everyday lifestyle of India today. While Bhide's recipes use authentic spices and techniques, she departs from the stereotype of complicated meals that take hours to prepare. Her recipes focus on spices and flavor, spanning the gamut of Indian cuisine. She also includes recipes for meat, rice, breads and desserts. Highlights include coriander-and-fennel crusted lamb chops, curried scallops, and onion bread stir-fry. Scattered throughout are personal stories on a variety of subjects, including a visit to Vaishno Devi Maa's Temple and recollections of a meal prepared by grand master Indian chef Imtiaz Qureshi. Bhide also provides a detailed spice pantry section and an insider's guide to time- and labor-saving ingredients. The author offers a refreshing look at the diverse and changing cuisine of India, with a new perspective that will be embraced by Indian food lovers everywhere. (Apr.)
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Product of a culture deeply bound to its traditions, Indian cooking has only recently begun to engage seriously with other cuisines. Bhide spearheads a movement seeking to reinterpret Indian cooking and make it more accessible to the growing international kitchen. Herself an offspring of the Indian diaspora and raised in the Middle East, Bhide eschews standard recipes that can be found in other Indian cookbooks, instead taking Indian ingredients, especially the vast array of spices, and applying them in original, intriguing ways. She concocts a cocktail snack based on Rice Krispies cereal but sharply scented with mustard seeds, turmeric, cumin, and fennel. Green chili chutney tops bits of omelet resting in little pastry shells. Mashed potatoes get a garlic, chili, and coconut kick. Dry rubs anoint both grilled fish and meat. Essays intersperse the recipes, most of them Bhide’s reflections on her family and upbringing. A revolutionary approach to Indian cooking. --Mark Knoblauch
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Top customer reviews
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November 6, 2013.
As an avid cookbook collector and owner of a Culinary Library with over 6,000 cookbooks, I am happy to say that this cookbook has been a great addition and I highly recommend it!!! :-)
Ana Raquel Morales Droz
"Modern Spice" is a very attractive and practical introduction to Indian cooking. The recipes taste very good, are apparently adequately tested and are practical. You don't need to spend the entire day in the kitchen, many recipes require very little time.
Monica Bhide is quite possibly one of the brightest rising stars in the Indian culinary horizon. She is as much at home rubbing shoulders with culinary giants such as Jose Andres & Sanjeev Kapoor as she is fielding questions and comments from a slew of over enthusiastic bloggers via her facebook page and her website. An engineer by academic training, she is the author of three successful books and writes extensively about food, traditions & culture for major publications.
Modern Spice is one of those books that takes its time to sink into, and when it does, completely enchants you into falling in love with the stories and recipes contained within. Its a beautifully balanced set of essays and anecdotes from the author's life, interspersed between a collection of about 120 unique recipes.
At first glance, some of the recipes may well elicit a comment of "oh this, c'mon its so simple/humble, I make it practically every week" . And yet, it escapes us that this very simplicity is what makes it so delicious & memorable.
The recipes contain a collection of day to day simple yet memorable dishes that we live on & look forward to at an intimate family dinner or a gathering of friends. The thoughts and words and (some) recipes are those of a wife, a mother, a nervous graduate student rather than an established author, and Ms. Bhide excels at communicating this in the book. Just as the reader warms up to the fuzzy home made creations, the creative streak of the author becomes evident in such novel dishes as the savory cheesecakes (baked in phyllo pastry shells) paired with a red pepper and tomatillo chutney. And I've not even begun to describe the array of delightful offerings in the beverage section such as the guava bellini and Tamarind Margarita, attributed to Chef K.N.Vinod of Indique Heights in Chevy Chase, MD.
The essays speak to, and relate on a personal level with the reader. Reminiscences of the author's childhood in New Delhi, of her 'dadi maa' lovingly crushing rotis before feeding her children & grand kids at dinner, or one of my favorites (something I completely identified with personally), her love affair with 'chaat masala', and the quest to locate and retain for the long term, a suitable 'supplier'... of ready made rotis in the US! The quirks that everyone of us is endowed with, and makes us human.