Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cookbook review: India: The Cookbook

India: The Cookbook is a monster tome. It's billed as "the biggest Indian cookbook ever published," and I believe it. With 1,000 recipes, this is the one Indian cookbook to own.

I say that because for years I've been searching for one good comprehensive cookbook for each variety of ethnic food I love. The Joy of Cooking for Chinese food, Thai food, Indian food, and so on. It's surprisingly difficult. When I can find big reference-type cookbooks, they're usually geared to natives, not to relative beginners who may have trouble finding fresh curry leaves or fermented bean paste. But I think I can find cross the Indian book off my list now.

First, the packaging. Very clever--it comes disguised as a bag of basmati rice. It's big, it's colorful, each section is a different page color. And while the recipes do use a lot of hard-to-find ingredients (asafoetida, nigella seeds, tamarind extract), there are plenty of recipes that I can easily duplicate. Beet curry, fish stew, garlic naan, good old tandoori chicken.

I'm very excited about this cookbook. I love Indian food, and since I live in the 'burbs now, it's not like I can go out to eat for good Indian food anymore. I'll have to make it in-house. With this cookbook, I feel like I can do that. Phaidon, I hope you publish cookbooks just like this one for all the other ethnic cuisines in the world.

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