Pat Chapman is famous among Anglo curry enthusiasts as a passionate Indian food lover and the man who started the Curry Club over 20 years ago. Its members now number 15000 so there is evidently support for Pat’s take on food of the subcontinent.
This is a hefty volume with the first 60-odd pages devoted to the history of India and the evolution of its food, tools and equipment, and basic preparation. He goes into great detail about the spices before we reach the recipes. His research is obviously thorough and adds a lot to the overall quality of the book.
There are a great many “Modern Chef’s Recipes”, with Spiced Stuffed Peppers being the offering from London chef Pital Gopal. Creamy Brown Lentils is a dish based on a recipe from London restaurateur Camilia Panjabi. Beef Tomatoes stuffed with gorgonzola is another chef recipe which is obviously a bit of a fusion dish.
Most of the recipes are said to be authentic and Pat give the region from where these originate. They are a delicious bunch and cover everything from starters through meats and vegetables to drinks. There is even an interesting item about the famous Bombay Duck, which I haven’t seen for years. It’s not a duck at all but rather an eel-shaped fish that is filleted and dried and used as a condiment.
Sunday meal for a crowd
My favourite recipe would have to be the Raan, Aromatic Roast Lamb. This is succulent leg of lamb, and the meat just falls from the bone. It’s savoury and delicious and easy to make. You can marinate the lamb for up to 60 hours (be warned, your fridge will smell of spice for all those 60 hours) and then just roast for 3 hours. It’s an ideal Sunday meal for a crowd.
Kulfi, Indian ice cream, makes a welcome end to any spicy meal and you don’t need to invest in an ice cream maker. Pat lists several varieties all using the basic recipe but with the additions of either chocolate, pistachio, mango or almonds. Yum!
The Chutney and Pickle chapter has Pat’s wife’s Sweet and Hot Tomato Chutney. It’s a clear chutney that looks attractive and bright. The traditional Lime Pickle would be the one for me and you can also use the same recipe to create a lemon pickle.
India Food and Cooking would be a good choice for anyone wanting to know a lot more about Indian food and history. There is plenty of reading, marvellous pictures and recipes to make your mouth water.
India Food and Cooking
Author: Pat Chapman
Published by: New Holland
Price: £19.99 – ISBN 978-1-84537-619-2 (hardback)
Price: £12.99 – ISBN 978-1-84773-565-2 (paperback)
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018