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Mar 2, 2009 02:24 PM

Indian cookbook recommendations

I'm looking for a good Indian cookbook - anyone got any special recommendations? I've had Madhur Jaffrey's "Indian Cooking" for a couple of years, and I think it's OK, but not great. I've found the spices and seasoning in a few of the recipes often didn't blend as well as I'd like, and that the recipes didn't really "come together" as I'd expect from someone who's regarded widely as an authority.

I'm not fussy about a specific regional cuisine either - a book which features nothing but Bengali food but has consistently good recipes would be far more useful to me than one that tries to cover the full diversity of Indian food and is patchy.

So, opinions?

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  1. There is this book 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer..i have found it to be very popular in the food blog network and last week, spent almost an hour in Barnes and Noble sgoing through the book...loved it!! ive ordered a copy online on amazon and waiting for it to arrive!! From what i read in the book, I am sure you will have no issues regarding teh ingredients not blending well...:)


    1 Reply
    1. re: scATmirchmasala

      I just got this book from for $9.95.


    2. May I recommend an excellent Indian cookbook..."Vij's Indian Cuisine" written by Vikram Vij and his wife
      Meeru Dhalwala. They are owners of the best Indian restaurant in Vancouver, BC called "Vij's. The cookbook is available through Amazon. Wonderful, original recipes especially Marinated Lamb Popsicles!


      1. The top seven books below are my current favorites out of about 30 that I have. The two Bengali books I have were not all that useful. The Collingwood book is a great read. It speaks to the evolution of Indian cooking after the Europeans (and others) arrived and the development of Anglo Indian and British Indian cooking. It only has a few recipes.

        Bharadwaj, Monisha The Indian Spice Kitchen
        Iyer, Raghavan The Turmeric Trail, Recipes and Memories from an
        Indian Childhood
        Jaffrey, Madhur A Taste of India
        Kanani, Manisha 50 Classic Curries
        Mohan, Rocky Art of Indian Cuisine
        Panjabi, Camellia 50 Great Curries of India
        Sahni, Julie Savoring India

        Banerjij, Chitrita Bengali Cooking, Seasons and Festivals
        Bose, Sujit Bengali Kitchen

        Collingham, Lizzie Curry, A Tale of Cooks & Conquerors

        3 Replies
        1. re: OnkleWillie

          Speaking of Madhur Jaffrey, the cookbook I love best in the world that she wrote is Eastern Vegetarian Cooking which includes many Indian dishes. I have most of her books and some I like better than others. The Boatman's Curry recipe in is worth the price of the whole book.

          I have Eastern Veg in a combo book (about " wide) with Indian Cooking, but until it fell apart, I had it in a separate volume. It's probably still available.

          Julie Sahni is also good as is Ishmail Merchant (now deceased) of Merchant and Ivory movies fame's book Passionate Meals. His recipes for take-offs on Indian food such as Fresh Corn Pakoras, Cheese Toasts with Mustard or Cumin seeds, Pistachio Raita, Caraway and Onion Potato Salad, a basmati rice pilaf with sultanas and cashews, an eggplant and ginger rice pilaf, and Curried Meatballs.

          From Merchant, I got the idea of putting whole cardamom pods into the onions frying up for a rice dish. I leave them in all through the cooking and then warn guests that they need to be on the lookout for them in case I didn't manage to get all of them out. He also has a hamburger mix with ginger, chilies and yoghurt in it. In his dessert section there's a recipe for carrot and raisin halva as well as a few rice puddings and milk puddings.

          Sheesh, how I do go on. It's just that I've never heard anybody talk about Merchant's book and it deserves to be more famous! He should be famous posthumously for his cooking as well as for Howard's End!

          I just checked Merchant's book on Amazon, and there are copies available for just over $4. I'll also be glad to post recipes.

          Oh yeah, and as somebody said above...You'll have to pry my cold, dead fingers off my Ottolenghi Cookbook to get it from me.

          1. re: oakjoan

            oakjoan, i see the "ottolenghi fever" on the boards! {;^D. "adulation" seems so inadequate to express the euphoric response. worship?

            thanks for the tip about merchant's book. i'd never heard of it, but i like his ideas that you presented.

            1. re: oakjoan

              Yes, second Eastern Vegetarian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey - it covers not only India but Japan, Korea and the Middle East (and more) and is fantastic. No pictures, nothing fancy just a shedload of solid recipes. I also have a book by the film producer Ismail Merchant which I have loved for many years - it was a slim volume produced by the UK supermarket Sainsburys in 1992 entitled Indian Vegetarian Cooking. I've personalised many of the recipes over the years until they're not really what was in the cookbook but have always had great compliments on the dishes I've developed from this book.

          2. Flavors of India: Vegetarian Indian Cuisine
            by Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff

            1. Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni. And it really is a classic!