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Tangy Tart Hot and Sweet: A World of Recipes for Every Day Hardcover – October 2, 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The host of TV's Top Chef, Lakshmi (Easy Exotic) puts her own culinary skills to the test in this glossy, cosmopolitan cookbook. Here, in vibrant colors, are her own palate-shaping memories in the form of recipes and short but highly personal essays. Like Nigella Lawson, Lakshmi's sex appeal is part of her draw as a food personality, and this collection obliges with adorable family photos as well as glamour shots of the model/actress nibbling on her creations. The global cuisine runs the gamut from a Southeast Asian–style Warm Peanut Salad with Tomato and Cilantro to Persian Chicken Soup with Omani Lemon and Dill to fried chicken battered with Rice Krispies. Keralan Crab Cakes and Pineapple and Pomegranate Crumble are among the fusion dishes that blend cuisines with intriguing results. Interspersed throughout are plenty of South Indian classics, reflecting Lakshmi's own heritage. Lakshmi has an inventive knack for flavor combination, but some of her recipes, like a Barbecued Shrimp with Chili Honey Butter, don't quite live up to the hype. Nevertheless, this book will certainly be well received by Lakshmi's growing fan base as well as home cooks looking to mix it up in the kitchen. (Oct.)
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From Booklist

Reality cooking shows have never been more popular (Gordon Ramsay currently has three programs on the air), and Top Chef is no exception. Lakshmi is no stranger to the field: her 1999 cookbook, Easy Exotic, was awarded Best First Book at the World Cookbook Awards, and she was the host of Padma's Passport on the Food Network. Her second cookbook is a much larger endeavor, with almost twice the amount of recipes. The dishes reflect her Indian heritage (curries and chutneys abound), with plenty of Caribbean (coconut crab cakes, chicken made with Red Stripe beer) and American (barbecue shrimp and fried chicken) influences. Though billed as simple, easy recipes to prepare, novices should be prepared to take a trip to the nearest international market for amchoor and jaggery. Lavish photographs, a small section on pickles and chutneys, and a few short essays by Lakshmi round out the volume. Not exactly an essential purchase, but expect demand from Top Chef addicts. Orellana, Carlos
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Weinstein Books; First Edition edition (October 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602860068
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602860063
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christy Cricow on June 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I enjoy Padma Lakshmi on Top Chef, and was delighted to hear about this cookbook. Bought it the first chance I had, and dug into it immediately.

The look of the book is great with beautiful, sort of rustic photos, and I love the concept itself. The recipes aren't overly complex or difficult, but include enough exotic ingredients and unusual ideas to make a home cook like me excited to explore them. The recipes I have tried so far have been good, if not quite great, surprisingly. (I'll keep testing, though!) But I can't get past the absolutely awful editing job! The explanatory text before one recipe suggests adding to the lemon juice in the recipe as a substitution for an obscure herb....except there IS no lemon juice in the recipe, only lime juice. A sublime sounding recipe for an exotic mac and cheese neglects to tell you whether to actually cook your pasta before adding it to the sauce. I see here that others are finding similar mistakes elsewhere.

I can't imagine writing a cookbook, and sending it out into the world without paying attention to something as essential as the recipes! I am taking more care with the editing of this review than the author and colleagues exerted on the book in question. I own a lot of cookbooks, and have never come across this before. The book is worth a look, and perhaps two, but it feels like less a serious cookbook, due to the carelessness with which it was created, than a dashed off vanity project. Too bad.
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By Christine on January 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I feel like maybe this book needed to be proofed a bit more. The recipe for meatballs in spinach sauce came out so watery with the four cups of water that were called for. And the recipe called for 1.5 pounds of lamb and 1 pound of spinach (which is quite a bit of spinach considering it's light weight, most prewashed bags are 6 ounces) yet serves 4-6?

And then the recipe for Madras Curry, the instructions referred to sauteing the onions until they were glossy, but there were no onions listed, only shallots. Perhaps this is splitting hairs onions versus shallots.

I also would have liked to have the total time a recipe takes to have been listed.
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By sakmak on February 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The pictures are beautiful, the stories enchanting... but the food, meh. I don't think all the measurements were calculated correctly and the spicing is hit or miss, ok on some dishes but seriously lacking on others. Really expecting more from Padma.
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Format: Hardcover
I have tried several recipes...all delicious. Red Stripe Beer with Chicken, Candied Pecans, Chili Honey butter on Shrimp. I cook alot, so I was able to make various leaps in the recipes, but it is definitely not a step by step for a new cook. If you know how to cook, this book is LOTS of fun.
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Format: Hardcover
The novelty value of these recipes is VERY appealing, so I persist in trying the recipes. All have been successful, despite the oft-mentioned editing errors. (I've adapted to using poorly-edited cookbooks.) The flavors, however, are mostly forgettable with a few 'pretty goods".

Of the dozen or so recipes I have tried, the only "repeaters" are a couple that are easy, quick, freeze well, or are a good use of ingredients I might have on hand (like herbaceous salad, curried squash soup, white bean & sage soup). I will probably cook another dozen recipes and then donate this one to my local public library. I would recommend that people borrow a copy if possible, then try a few recipes to see if this style resonates at your table.
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By DuxMom on February 8, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book! I just got it and in one day I made the waffles, the braised lamb, the pita chips, and the rose ice cream. All amazing! My kids even loved the orange blossom waffles and rose ice cream. The lamb was a huge hit at my dinner party. This is everything a cookbook should be - beautiful, inspiring, and with great recipes.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the "go to" cookbook in my kitchen. I've made recipes from every section of the book, many several times over and have taken the liberty to experiment with different meats (i.e. the Pan Asian Curried Beef recipe I've made with ground lamb, beef, buffalo, etc.)These recipes have tested the palates of my friends and pushed my culinary skills to new levels while at the same time relatively easy to understand and achieve great results. Love the fact that most recipes are loaded with flavor, but not so much on the calories!!! And yes, some of the ingredients are difficult to find, though a quick order online and a few visits to specialty markets will do the trick. Too many great recipes to list suffice it to say, I'm not the greatest cook but I feel like a culinary goddess with this cookbook by my side.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I made all of the following dishes as part of my menu for a SE inspired dinner party with excellent results: Keralan Crab Cakes, Deviled Eggs w/Serrano Chilies, Asian Cole Slaw, Carrot & Cilantro Salad, Green Mango Curry. Most of the recipes are not complicated, but they often require ingredients that you may not find at regular supermarkets (e.g. amchoor, or dried mango powder, and asafoetida) - I found everything I need at Kalyustan's in NYC ([...] The author does suggest alternatives for the more hard-to-find ingredients, and her easy-to-follow recipes have inspired me to try making more labor-intensive dishes like Moroccan Bisteeya.
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