Monisha Bharadwaj has a talent (in fact she has many, she is also a classical Indian dancer and an educator) for writing books that are little works of art. There are over 140 recipes in Stylish Indian in Minutes and all of them are mouth-watering and yet simple to make.
This volume just oozes class. Gus Filgate is one of the best photographers around and his stunning pictures are contrasted marvellously by black and white shots of striking Indian ladies and gentlemen at cocktail parties and dinners.
Monisha had found the preparation of authentic Indian food in the UK to be something of a challenge for her British friends. Her professional training had equipped her to produce classic dishes which were popular with everyone, but she wanted to develop recipes that gave the sense of smart home cooking to the British audience. The Indian cookbooks Monisha found in the UK presented food as complicated, over-exotic and only to be tackled by those with endless time and the support of several assistants!
Her skill allowed Monisha to ditch the European-targeted Indian cookbooks and devise her own techniques to provide truly authentic dishes, the sort that are made by truly authentic Indians! All of the ingredients used in Stylish Indian in Minutes are true to the traditional concept but they are all readily available in the UK.
Obviously there are dishes from all over India that have lists of ingredients as long as your arm, but Stylish Indian offers delicious recipes that will not fill you with terror. You won’t need to attend culinary school in Mumbai to achieve lovely results.
The recipes are, as ever, superb and easy to follow and it’s difficult to pick my favourites. There is so much here that would be ideal for both vegetarians and certified carnivores. Kali Mirch Murg (Chicken Curry with Black Pepper) uses spices that you will already have in your larder to produce a succulent and flavourful dish in no time at all (don’t you just love that?). Maach Paturi (Bengali Fish in Mustard Sauce) is equally simple and would be a smashing dinner party dish or even, in my case, a nice little meal on Wednesday!
Stylish Indian in Minutes is well up to the standard of Monisha’s other books. The food is exceptional but accessible with fresh healthy flavours. It’s an ideal book for entertaining but you won’t want to wait for your friends to pay a visit, you’ll buy the ingredients on the way home from the bookshop!
Stylish Indian in Minutes
Author: Monisha Bharadwaj
Published by: Kyle Cathie
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018