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Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 21, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, April 21, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

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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From Booklist

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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416566597
  • ASIN: B00381B7ZU
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,985,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Suzanne Fass on November 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
First, I must admit that the author is a friend, and that I worked with her on this book. But please don't let that make you think that any praise I give the book is unearned. Believe me, if this book had fallen out of the sky into my kitchen I would also love it.

Why?

Reason #1: The recipes WORK. I'm lucky enough to know that Monica tests her recipes, and has people with all different levels of cooking skill test them, too. And she won't let a recipe go until everyone can make it. So even if you are a novice cook, you *can* make these dishes. And if you are already skilled in Indian cooking, you just might find a simpler way to make something you love. Case in point: the recipe for Cream of Wheat and Paneer Pancakes (page 200). When I read it, I recognized it immediately as idli. But where is grinding the grains for it? Where is letting the batter sit overnight (or longer) to ferment? Gone! But what you get is a delicious pancake that works as a side, as a bread, as the basis for a meal.

Reason #2: She is there to guide you through things that might be new to you. It might be a bit much to call this a "Mastering the Art of Indian Cooking," but there is very helpful information about ingredients and techniques that might be unfamiliar. And again, even if you think you know all about them, you just might learn something.

Reason #3: This really is a book for *modern* cooks. Who has time to grind spices, and make complicated multi-day recipes? Very few of us. But even the simplest, quickest recipes are so full of flavor, you'll almost feel guilty at how easy they are. There is no such thing as a recipe that is too simple, as far as I'm concerned, not if the people I serve it to eat up every last bit!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found out about this book from a blog I read regularly. The book and 4 recipes I have tried definitely live up to the reviewer's comments and recommendation. The author also includes wonderful stories of her family recipes which bring the book more alive for me - I am an oral historian, so really 'into' that kind of backstory richness. The recipes are written very clearly and simply and are easy to follow with good tips for substitutions - or alternative flavoring - in many cases. I also like Madhur Jaffrey's books but this is a different generation's take on many of the classics.
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Format: Hardcover
There are so many wonderful recipes here, plus I love the little personal stories that Bhide drops into the book, like pearls. I find her recipes for vegetables especially helpful: we're trying to eat less meat in this house, and Modern Spice gives me so many new ways to cook old favorites like eggplant. She's also given me a reason to like green beans. Many nice seafood recipes, too.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The pomegranate shrimp is our new favorite. Amazing! The book is filled with useful and witty advice and great recipes. Before getting it I had assumed this kind of cooking was too labor intensive and difficult to be done regularly. Monica Bhide has managed to translate authentic tasting dishes into simple steps from easily sourced ingredients. I'm really enjoying it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was always under the misguided impression that Indian cooking was extremely difficult and complicated - until I got Monica Bhide's book. What I especially like are her spice guides - including where to find them - and just general good advice right down to the kind of pan you should use. But the real gems are just the recipes. Simple and delicious.
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