Anjum Anand has a very popular second BBC TV series called Indian Food Made Easy, and this volume contains recipes from that series. Her last book called Food Made Easy focused on dishes from the first debut series. That book was an instant best seller and was one of the top 10 cookbooks for 2007. This book, however, introduces regional Indian cooking.
This young woman is attractive, smiley and vivacious. She has taught many culinarily-impaired Brits how to cook authentic Indian food. Her series is targeted towards those who are interested in family cooking rather than restaurant fare that is often unrecognisable from original dishes.
Although New Indian explores regional cuisine, the chapters are divided by food type rather than geography. There are chapters on Light Meals and Snacks, then on to meats and vegetables, Beans and Lentils etc, to Desserts. Anjum starts with Before You Start, which gives advice on the use of ingredients in the Indian kitchen.
The recipes are lovely and for the most part simple. The accompanying photographs by Vanessa Courtier are beautiful and help to give this volume a light modern feel. Anjum gives guidance on buying produce and spices for each dish. You’ll know what to ask for in an Asian supermarket.
Many Indians eat no meat at all so it’s no surprise to find so many vegetarian dishes. Goan Spiced Aubergine is easy and would be a great side-dish to fried fish. Stir-fried Peas could be used in the same way or as a filling for samosa, making a lighter snack than those with the more usual potato and pea stuffing.
Dal of many kinds is eaten by most Indians every day. It’s comfort food of the highest order and healthy, which is more than you can say for most dishes we crave. Tarka Dal will be familiar to those who frequent Indian restaurants. If you enjoy the dal from the local takeaway you will love the lighter home-made version and it will be a lot cheaper! Black-eyed Pea Curry is hearty and warming. It only takes 30 minutes if you use tins of black-eyed peas. That’s almost faster than the takeaway.
You’ll need something to eat with your curry or dal and a favourite is Roti or Chapatti. I have had a lesson from a professional so I can tell you it’s far easier than you would imagine to make puffy and soft breads in just a few minutes. Anjum takes the mystery out of the process so you’ll be able to present fresh, straight-from-the-pan roti along with an aromatic Indian meal for your guests. How smart is that?
Anjum Anand has penned a book that reflects our desire to eat Indian food that would be recognised by Indians. We want healthy, light and delicious dishes with the minimum of oil but still full of flavour. A great introduction to Indian regional cooking with a contemporary feel.
Anjum’s New Indian
Author: Anjum Anand
Published by: Quadrille Publishing
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018