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Jul 16, 2006 10:29 PM

Authentic Indian cooking at home

Anyone make any Indian dishes at home? I love Indian food and am a regular at The Udupi Cafe which I love, even with all the current changes. I just ate lunch there on Friday and it was still as wonderful. I love the soft Indian cheese, Paneer, and the spinach dish with it, Paleek Paneer, not to mention any method of curry, biryani and fragrant rice dishes. I just found a great source for most of the spices I need and am really itching to cook.

Also if anyone has any good recommendations on cookbooks for authentic Indian food I would really appreciate them. The ones I have looked at seem to read in another language.

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  1. I'm into Indian cooking now too! Son gave me a Madhur Jaffrey cookbook "From Curries to Kebabs" last Christmas and I love it. I've heard others recommend her books also; she has many Indian cookbooks on the market.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Val

      I have looked at Jaffrey's books and found it way too overwhelming, but that was over a year ago so maybe I will look at it again. My library has it.

      1. re: Val

        this is not technically cooking, but Maya Kaimal has an amazing line of refrigerated Tika Masala, Coconut Curry and Vindaloo that are fantastic. www.mayakaimal.com

        1. re: Belly DuJour

          I can also recommend her book, "savoring the spice coast of india". She does a great job of explaining the various cultures of kerala and its diverse cuisine. The recipes are easy to follow and work. Best Indian cookbook i've had in a long time.

        2. re: Val

          I really love Jaffray's Indian Cooking. Last night we had a delicious meal of Shrimp in Dark Sauce, Aloo Gobi, rice, and naan (although I cheat and by the naan in the freezer section of Whole Foods).

        3. i like the Time Life book from about 25 years ago. you can still find it online on ebay. it has a yellow cover with spices on it.

          i also like yamuna devi's unabridged version of lord krishna's cuisine, but more to learn methodology rather than igredients. her lists are too long and don't really reflect simple home cooking.

          2 Replies
          1. re: arifa

            Yamuna Devi also doesn't use "tamasic" foods like garlic or onions. I agree that her book is a bit complicated, but I have found a couple of good recipes in it.

            I'd really recommend Julie Sahni or Madhur Jaffrey. Jaffrey's got so many books, of varying levels of simplicity, that you're bound to find one you like.

            I agree one of the major obstacles to making Indian food is the ingredient list. It takes a bit of shopping, but once you have the basic spices, you're in business. Then it's just a matter of cooking once or twice to get a hang of the method. And I also found that I do a lot more Indian food now that I have a food processor. Some sort of chopper or blender is very useful when cooking Indian food!

            1. re: Kagey

              I don't know which of Yamuna Devi's cookbooks you base this assertion on, but I have Lord Krishna's Cuisine. It's FULL of onions, though there's not garlic in many recipes. Yes, she is definitely influenced by Vedic traditions, and this is a vegetarian cookbook, with lots of dairy foods included. Many of her recipes have long ingredient lists and long preparation time. If you want to understand many of the traditional ways of preparing Indian food, though, she's a great place to start. (She does use shortcut methods for some recipes, too.) She's not the most approachable, but I wouldn't throw her out of the picture entirely.

          2. I recommend Julie Sahni's Classic Indian Cooking highly. The book is laid out well and gives good, detailed instructions on the basics. I would rank Sahni up there with Paula Wolfert for making clear a cuisine that is very different from standard European cooking.

            2 Replies
            1. re: cheryl_h

              I agree with you, and dave below, this is a great cookbook. There are relatively few cookbooks I actually use often for recipes, Sahni's in one, also Wells "Bistro Cooking" and Jafury's "World of the East."

              1. Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni - a great cookbook.
                She also has a book on Vegetarian and Grain cooking.

                I've cooked a fair number of her dishes, and have yet
                to be disappointed. Just last weekend I followed her
                directions and made paneer cheese from scratch,then
                followed by using it for Matar Paneer. A lot
                of fun, and I learned a lot as well.


                3 Replies
                1. re: dave_nyc

                  Dave, How was the paneer?? That is one of the items I want to try and it doesn't look too difficult. The recipe I have calls for boiling whole milk with an acid until fully curdled, then rinsing, forming and pressing. I would love to know your method and results!

                  1. re: cooknKate

                    That's actually how I make ricotta at home. 1 cup buttermilk, 4 cups milk, heated. Except I don't press it. So I can confirm it works in making cheese, just don't know how like paneer it is, once pressed.

                  2. re: dave_nyc

                    We have made our own too and I love the fresh dairy smell the kitchen gets. It is not difficult at all. The recipe we have used doesn't actually call for boiling the milk, but heating it very slowly just to the boiling point and adding lemon juice and removing from the heat. Then allow the curds to form before strainng out the whey. Don't discard the whey there is good nutrition there. If you are a baker use it to make bread. We drain the curds a few hours in cheese cloth before forming and pressing and cutting.

                  3. My favorite (I'm on my second copy) is "A Surti Touch" by Malvi Doshi. Excellent for Gujurati favorites as well as standards...Doshi is Gujurati. (She used to own the Ganges restaurant in SF, years ago, but hasn't been there for a long time...). It may be out of print, but amazon.com currently has 10 used copies. It is the book my husband gave me so that I could learn to cook like his mom used to.....

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: janetofreno

                      Thanks for this I just ordered a used copy. You might want to know that she wrote another called "Cooking Along the Ganges." It's about twice as big as her first book.