The Everything Indian Cookbook, by Monica Bhide
I have to admit that this was a very appealing book to read. While I was unfamiliar with Indian cuisine until I was about a teenager or so, it has since then remained among the more interesting and tasty cuisines for myself personally, despite my lack of interest in eating yogurt. One of the things that this book does particularly well is not only to provide plenty of tasty recipes in a wide variety of categories of eating that are organized in a logical fashion, but also to frame those recipes in terms of meals that can be enjoyed by people. This is a worthwhile and interesting book and there is a lot here that is appealing. Even if many of these dishes include ingredients I am not hugely fond of, there is plenty here to be found that is well worth trying and easy enough to enjoy, and as might be expected the author includes a variety of dishes that can be enjoyed by those with fairly restricted diets, even to the point of vegetarian diets, although the more sorts of food that one enjoys the easier it is to find recipes in this book to try out.
This book is between 250 and 300 pages and it is divided into numerous thematic chapters. The book begins with acknowledgements and an introduction and then moves on to discuss the basics of Indian cooking (1), some basic recipes (2), as well as starters and snacks (3). This sets the reader up for learning some fundamental techniques and recipes that make the book easier to appreciate before the author moves to more substantial fare, beginning with drinks, teas, and soups (4), moving on to salads (5), and then looking at vegetable dishes (6). From here the author moves as one might expect to chicken and egg dishes (7), meat dishes (8), including plenty of very tasty lamb dishes, as well as fish dishes (9). There is a chapter for rice dishes (10), and one for lentil and yogurt dishes (11), after which there are chapters for various roti (breads) (12), a strong point of Indian cuisine, and chapters dealing with chutney, pickles, and papads (13). After that two chapters look at sweets (14), and then a collection of dishes included for a tasty royal feast (15). The book ends with a glossary (i), suggested menus (ii), additional resources (iii), as well as an index.
This book is an enjoyable one to read, not only because the author includes plenty of fundamental aspects of Indian cooking in terms of dishes, but also because the author explains the nature of tandoori ovens and how it is that Indian cooking is unique and striking from that perspective as well. As far as the specific dishes go, there are a few areas that are notable strong points. The starters and snacks include chicken tikka, corn fritters, spiced broccoli, and potato cutlets, all of which sound pretty fantastic and some of which I enjoy eating already. Vegetable dishes like cheese and spinach curry, dry-spiced carrot and peas, stir-fried cauliflower, fenugreek-flavored potatoes, south Indian rice and vegetable delight, garlic cauliflower, Bengali potatoes, and green beans with coconut also are very worthy dishes. Unsurprisingly the book includes a great many tasty chicken dishes including tandoori chicken, butter chicken, chicken curry, almond-flavored chicken, chicken tikkla masala, coriander chicken, cardamom chicken, goan chicken curry, as well as parsi-style eggs. Similarly, dishes like fiery lamb vindaloo, spinach lamb curry, royal lamb, and ginger-flavored lamb chops hit the spot, making this a book that offers plenty of worthwhile recipes.
My love for Indian cuisine began in Trinidad. Tampa is blessed with authentic Indian restaurants throughout the city, which is important, for authenticity is vital. Its cultural core is missing when the food is manipulated to fit the tastes of another’s.
I love Indian food, and the area where I live has several very good restaurants. As soon as the covid restrictions lift there are a couple of great Indian buffets I go for. I pretty regularly enjoy some tasty lamb biryani though from a local place.