This is a large format volume… seriously large but it’s spiral-bound and this reviewer loves that. What joy! A book that stays open on the counter. The pages offer a photograph by William Lingwood for every recipe and the text is big and easily read and understood. This book does give the impression that it’s going to live up to its title. To keep you in the right frame of mind, the publishers have also included a music CD to create the right ambiance for an exotic meal.
The author Manju Malhi is evidently well supported. Her acknowledgments read like a Who’s Who of the media food world. AWT, Jeni Barnett, Alan Coxon, Paul Hollywood to name but a few. Manju has been a regular on our screens for quite a while and it’s evident that people in the know have faith in her. That’s a good start, but how about the food?
Well, the dishes look lovely and will be familiar to British restaurant goers. You’ll be able to prepare many of your favourite Curry House meals. Not all of these are authentic recipes handed down through generations since the plaster on the Taj Mahal was still wet, but they reflect what we have come to expect from an Indian menu. Chicken Tikka Masala is here and that’s home-grown… that is, a British home!
Easy Indian Cookbook doesn’t assume you know anything about cooking Indian food. It’s not condescending or patronising but it gives you lots of basic advice that will be welcomed by the novice. There is a good glossary of ingredients with Hindi as well as English names and some basic cooking techniques which will hold no terrors.
The recipe chapters cover everything from chutneys, spice mixtures and breads to meat and side dishes. There is also a selection of sweet treats and that’s good to see. It’s often difficult to find an appropriately exotic end to an Indian meal. The Menus chapter will help you present a balanced meal combining flavours and textures that will make you look like you know what you’re doing.
One of the classiest of dishes is Prawn Poori. This isn’t a difficult recipe, none of them are, but it’s impressive. Pooris are deep-fried breads that are rich and flaky. The prawns are succulent with a hint of heat from green chilli. I guarantee that you’ll make this often. It’s smart comfort food.
Easy Indian Cookbook is a marvellous introduction to Indian cooking. An attractive book that would make a great gift for anyone who wants to try their hand at the cuisine we love so much.
Easy Indian Cookbook
Author: Manju Malhi
Published by: Duncan Baird Publishers Ltd.
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018