It’s a cookbook by the celebrated Indian TV chef Sanjeev Kapoor, so it’s bound to be full of delicious innovation and temptation. But my dear reader will be thinking the master has overstepped the mark with this one: The Yellow Chilli Cookbook? How many recipes contain yellow chilli?
Perhaps a timely word of culinary explanation is needed here. It isn’t the recipes that contain yellow chilli but more accurately Yellow Chilli that contains the recipes. Yellow Chilli is a chain of successful casual restaurants that are found in India and, increasingly, beyond. The book offers an insight into the bill of fare for those of us who, as yet, have not had the pleasure of visiting a Yellow Chilli.
This is undoubtedly an Indian cookbook but these days the ingredients are almost universally available. Tawa Aloo Jeera could likely be made with spices already in a Western store cupboard. These cumin-flavoured baby potatoes could constitute part of an Asian meal but would also work well in place of roast potatoes with your traditional Sunday joint.
Sanjeev Kapoor’s Chicken Chettinad is vibrant with those spices that make this cuisine so prized. Yes, there is a sizeable list of ingredients but those spices are inexpensive and easily available, and once you have them you will be able to turn your attention to many of the other recipes in this book. This is a perfect Northern winter warmer and chicken is still one of the most economic non-vegetarian options.
Another ingredient to spin-out the housekeeping money is minced lamb. In truth Sanjeev suggests minced mutton and that is available in some specialist butchers and Asian markets, but lamb is found everywhere. The flavour will not be so pronounced but it will still work in Keema Hari do Pyaaza. The main flavourings here are onions (that’s the pyaaza element) and chillies which offer both heat and remarkable taste.
My pick of the book and a truly outstanding entertaining dish is Chandi Korma. Its garnish of silver varq will reinforce the impression of rich extravagance and it is edible, but the dish will become a favourite even without the glittery bits. It’s not only the shimmer of silver, though, that is royal. It’s well-laced with mawa (a condensed dairy product), and cheese and nuts. A little goes along way and it will be a delicious talking-point.
Sanjeev Kapoor is perhaps the most recognised face in India and was even voted the Man Most Trusted. He is a trained chef rather than a TV presenter drafted for the job. His recipes are as trustworthy as he, and indeed his international audience is increasing with Yellow Chilli restaurants arriving outside India. This is real Indian food which is displayed with flair and good taste – a classic culinary jewel in a contemporary setting.
The Yellow Chilli Cookbook
Author: Sanjeev Kapoor
Published by: Popular Prakashan
Price: Rs 595/-
Visit Sanjeev Kapoor here
Visit Yellow Chilli here
Asian cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018