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Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors Hardcover – May 1, 2014
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" . . . beautifully combines the time-tested traditions of the Indian kitchen with a practical, modern approach . . ." --SUVIR SARAN, author of Masala Farm and Indian Home Cooking
"Spices & Seasons awakened my sleepy palate the moment I opened it! What gorgeous, beguiling recipes and such wise words about so much, especially about children and vegetables. I am off to my kitchen, book in tow and with great anticipation of many wonderful meals." --DEBORAH MADISON, author of Vegetable Literacy and The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
Rinku stresses local and seasonal... She simplifies an essential spice kit down to just seven ingredients that form the base of many of the recipes in her book: cilantro, coriander, cumin, red cayenne, garlic, ginger, and turmeric.... Throughout the book, her recipes come alive with bright vegetables and intriguing combinations: Creamy Mint Chicken Curry, Shrimp in a Mango Basil Sauce, Super Simple Fish Curry, with but ten minutes of prep time. In all, she offers 150 inspired recipes, each accompanied by superb color photographs and warm paragraph-long introductions.
Spices and Seasons - simple, sustainable Indian flavours is a beautifully presented volume with a picture accompanying every recipe. Ok, so that's not an essential for a good cookbook but it does give a bit of support to the novice and some inspiration to the confident. But the most important element of the book is that the recipes are uncomplicated and practical. There are lots of classic Indian dishes here but Rinku interprets even these with flair and personal nuance.
Rinku takes the intimidation factor out of Indian cooking. Her recipes and techniques are practical and simple. Rinku writes beautifully. You'll read about her grandmother's kitchen, how to create an essential spice kit and getting children to make healthy dining choices among other things. For the most part, the recipes make use of ingredients that are easy to find in U.S. grocery stores.
"...beautifully combines the time-tested traditions of the Indian kitchen with a practical, modern approach..." -- Suvir Saran, author of Masala Farm & Indian Home Cooking "Spices & Seasons awakened my sleepy palate the moment I opened it! What gorgeous, beguiling recipes and such wise words about so much, especially about children and vegetables. I am off to my kitchen, book in tow and with great anticipation of many wonderful meals." -- Deborah Madison, author of "Vegetable Literacy" & "The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" "Whether you're shopping in supermarkets or farmers markets or cooking from CSA boxes and farm stands, Rinku has ideas and recipes for you. Whether you are a confident, seasoned cook, or curious about the kitchen, whether you know and love India's vibrant spices and culinary traditions or whether you are more curious than confident, Rinku welcomes you with this splendid and practical book. Teacher, coach, and passionate, smiling guide, she's exactly the presence I want in my kitchen this year, for all the spices and all the seasons." -- Nancie McDermott, author of "Quick & Easy Thai & Southern Pies"
From the Back Cover
WINNER LIVING NOW 2014 GOLD AWARDS
WINNER INDIEFAB BOOK OF THE YEAR 2015
WINNER READERS FAVORITE SILVER AWARD 2015
WINNER USA BOOK AWARDS 2015
Top customer reviews
1. It is beautiful! There are gorgeous pictures of the finished recipes and various spice mixes, the print font isn't fussy, and it is sturdily constructed (NOT a small thing in my kitchen!). But beauty alone does not a great cookbook make .....
2. It is well organized. I am not fond of cookbooks that read like novels. I like a cookbook with a clear introduction, concise table of contents, detailed index and visible headings. This cookbook has all of these. But this is a cookbook, not a PowerPoint presentation, so organization alone didn't lead me to love ...
3. The recipes are terrific. They are clearly written and, for those I've tried, very accessible, and the resulting meals are tasty. TheHerb and Spice Roasted Chicken (p. 245) is simple, requires almost no attention, and lends itself well to ingredient substitutions if necessary, as does the Creamy Mint Chicken Curry (p. 241). Not only is the Whole Spice Roasted Butternut Squash ivery good, but it is a welcome alternative recipe for the fall abundance of butternuts. Her Alu Gobi (Caulifliwer and Potatoes) is easy and again, amenable to variations, as is the Warm Red Cabbage slaw (p. 69) and the Slow Cooked Chickpeas and Ginger (p. 117).
4. The most powerful reason for buying this book is: the author has included several sections (e.g., pp 30--31; 9--17; p. 87) that lay down some basic concepts for cooking these dishes. These concepts allow the cook to play with the recipes, to substitute ingredients and to cook more efficiently. The author encouraged me to go to a local store, buy several different whole spices, and grind them myself and enjoy the vibrant scents and flavors.
I've owned this book for a while, and have cooked many of its recipes, but feel like I have a great deal more to learn from it. Great cookbook!
"Spices and Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors" by Rinku Bhattacharya (The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles) introduces readers to the cooking of today's India - a cuisine that is innovative, inspired, and full of possibilities. Many of us are only familiar with the heavy, cream-laced dishes in Indian restaurants, but Rinku's goal is to show that Indian cooking is more about flavors, freshness and love. Her emphasis on fresh, local ingredients (preferably from your own backyard, farmer's market, or CSA) and sustainability pair beautifully with Indian spices and simple, nourishing preparations that will delight family and friends.
Beautifully photographed and printed in the USA, the book begins with several short primers to sustainability in the Indian kitchen and learning the essentials (spices, oils, tools). Unlike some Indian cookbooks, "Spices and Seasons" does not require a long list of exotic imported cookware, and many of the ingredients should be readily available at larger grocery stores. Each recipe has a vibrant, full-color photo illustrating it.
Beginning with appetizers, you will find many great ideas that come together quickly. Some standouts include the mango and goat cheese mini crisps, shortcut vegetable samosas, chicken tikka and almond and saffron salmon kabobs. The remainder of the recipes are grouped by season; not surprisingly, there is a whole chapter of lentil and bean-based recipes, several of which are prepared in the slow cooker. I loved the comforting slow-cooked chickpeas with tomatoes and ginger (I used chipotles in adobo since that was what I had on hand) and the egg curries as I am always looking for new ideas to incorporate hard-boiled eggs.
Each recipe is prefaced with a brief introduction to its region, family history, and handy tips that will ensure a great result every time. Simple, flavorful preparations make the most of seasonal ingredients. I loved the tandoori spice roasted baby potatoes with mint, broccoli with toasted cashew nuts, the autumn dishes for shrimp in a mango basil sauce and salmon with a blood orange and tamarind glaze, and rich coconut curries. Other meats are featured, but the seafood section really shines. One of my favorite discoveries was the Japanese-inspired wasabi ginger fish with fresh blackberries; the sweetness of the maple syrup and blackberries offsets the umami of the soy sauce and the pungency of the ginger.
Chapter nine features pilafs and grains, which oftentimes are a main meal for me. There is also a chapter featuring traditional breads and crepes like naan, puri, dosas, and oothapams that take the mystery out of homemade breads to accompany your Indian feasts. Desserts are on the lighter side, and many feature fruit or fruit ices.
Several basic wet and dry spice blends are also included (chaat masala, tandoori masala, garam masala, curry powder) that give a much different, more vibrant flavor to your finished dish than using bland premixed blends from a grocery store and it is well worth investing the extra time to make up these mixes in advance.
In addition to being very suitable for vegetarians and pescetarians (there are many meat-free options and appealing seafood recipes), there is a gluten-free and vegan/vegetarian index and all recipes are also marked as vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free.
This is one of those rare cookbooks that I am compelled to cook my way through cover to cover; I have not had the pleasure of reading / cooking from Rinku's first book "The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles," but based on my experience with "Spices and Seasons," it will be next on my list!
Verdict: "Spices and Seasons" is an absolute must-own for anyone who enjoys Indian food or is simply looking for simple, healthful ways to make the most of an abundance of garden vegetables or a CSA box.
Thank you to Rinku for the review copy!
Most recent customer reviews
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