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Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine Paperback – September 7, 2006
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"Admit it. You get cravings for Indian food. But it's time to look beyond takeout standards like butter chicken. These days, Indian-inspired menus mix and match cultures and tastes. Invite friends for a buffet full of flavour and spicy aromas, and rent a Bollywood movie. Go Indian -- it's a memorable way to entertain." (Style at Home Magazine)
"From the twin kitchens of their wildly successful restaurants, Vij's and Rangoli, and now in the pages of their cookbook Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine, Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala have changed the way we experience Indian food." (Eat Magazine)
"[The recipes are] made all the easier by clear instructions and an excellent introductory section called 'In the Indian Kitchen' that elucidates both technique and ingredients." (Focus Magazine)
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Recipes that I have tried so far have all been excellent. I agree with reviewers who have said that there is more salt and more water in some recipes, and I tend to reduce both of these ingredients as I cook. One can add more later, if they are needed. Otherwise, even though some recipes read as if they might be highly spiced, they are not, in my opinion. I follow them exactly the first time I make them (lessening the water and salt), and they are excellent. For example, I've tried the chicken breast in coconut-chickpea flour curry, in which the chicken turned out moist and had a lovely tartness because of tamarind paste in the curry. The cilantro-mint chicken curry is also very special and is one of the easiest recipes too. I will make it often. The vegetable recipes are interesting too; for me, the cauliflower-rice pilaf was great, with its inclusion of cloves, cumin, turmeric, and cilantro. Proportions for the ingredients in these recipes are often very important. Most of them serve 6 people, but I often make half the first time, and that has caused me no problem.
The photos and commentary are both outstanding, and there are so many recipes that I intend to try. I recommend this book highly for anyone who enjoys Indian cuisine.
So that is why my friend recommended this book for me to expand my repertoire. I exitedly waited for it to arriveso i can start to try some of the recipes i heard about. First, it took much longer to get this book than has been my experience with Amazon. After studying it, i found the explanations of the different spices, ingredients at the beginning very helpful. But, i was dissapointed in the range of recipes ....not enough vegetarian recipes that i typically find at my Indian friends' s housed, not enough easy to prepare every day recipes to prepare. So the rating reflects this experience with the book.
Because of the clear instructions and illustrations, I am now making my own paneer (cheese) at home. It's far superior to anything available in the stores and is much cheaper (less than $2 a pound if you get milk on sale).
I originally hesitated to buy this book because I'm vegetarian and many of the recipes are for meat and seafood, but I'm very glad I got it. The non vegetarian recipes can often easily be adapted for meatless use. And there are quite a few meatless recipes.
There are some editorial anomalies. For example in the recipe titled "Sautéed Arugula and Spinach with Paneer and Roasted Cashews," the arugula and spinach is in fact never sautéed. It is added to the liquid curry at the very end and cooked until wilted and heated through. Go figure. (Great recipe by the way, but reduce water to one cup from three.)
I also found that the authors tend to use more liquid than I would. If you are an experienced cook and you feel that a recipe calls for too much liquid, trust your instinct and go with less to start with. You can always add additional if you need it. The only time this was a problem for me was when I made a lentil rice pilaf, using the quantity called for - it was one of the first recipes I made. There was so much liquid I had to cook it down much longer than I would have liked and the result was mushy. The flavor, however, was superb. I'll make it again often, but with much less liquid. (In this recipe, the problem could simply be a difference in the rice and lentils these cooks use compared to what I'm using, although at least two other reviewers have mentioned the same problem.) I have often also significantly reduced the amount of salt called for.
Despite these quirks I'm giving the book a full five stars. It's a beautiful book and the food is magnificent.
Top international reviews
I could not find this book locally. The book explains the ingredients and their substitutes and makes Indian cooking easy, great stories about the family cooking and eating together