Is India Cookbook the only book on Indian food you’ll ever need?
I’ve been asked by many people where I learned to cook Indian food. My answer… From good friends and my collection of cookbooks. I have a library of about 100 Indian cookery books and India Cookbook by Pushpesh Pant has to be one of my all time favourites.
Pushpesh’s book features 1000 recipes that he has gathered over the past 20 years. If you are already in to Indian cookery and want to take your cooking to the next level, this is the book for you. With so many recipes to choose from, you will learn so much about Indian food and how it varies from region to region.
This is not a picture book like so many other cookbooks. Though there is very nice photography throughout, most of the recipes are left up to your imagination. This is of course preferable to many.
India Cookbook is a textbook of Indian cookery.
I turn to Pushpesh’s book regularly. When I need inspiration I know I will find it within India Cookbook. I don’t follow many of the recipes exactly. Instead, I look at a recipe, think what a great idea and then I’m off to try and create something different and new.
Pushpesh actually recommends to use his recipes as a guide and then to adapt the recipes to your own tastes and diet.
Case in point… Many authentic Indian recipes use a lot of ghee (clarified butter) which is simply too much for people trying to live a healthier lifestyle. Although Pushpesh does want you to try his recipes as they are first, he also encourages you to use less or more of his suggested ingredients. Use less ghee, for example or hold off on the chillies.
If you can’t find an ingredient, he suggests, you can often just omit it.
By studying India Cookbook as much as I have, I have also begun to recognise Indian recipes by their origin simply by the ingredients used and how they are used. Each of Pushpesh’s recipes state where they are from and how spicy hot they are.
Stand out dishes include Sedan-Chair kebab (Kursi Miyani) which is an amazing Indian version of a Scotch Egg, Lamb Samosas which are better than you will find anywhere and Slow Cooked Aromatic Fish (Dum Ki Machhali).
Really though, how can I possibly begin to tell you about all the fantastic recipes? There are 997 more!
Indian Cookbook isn’t a celebrity chef style book with snapshots on every page and stories about their holiday to India.
If you are just getting into Indian cookery, I don’t want to scare you off from purchasing this outstanding book. You will find the authentic chutneys, pickles, breads, curries and other dishes you are looking for. You are getting one heck of a lot of book for your money, though it could be a bit daunting for the novice cook.
“The only book on Indian food you’ll ever need.” is written boldly on the front cover. Though I don’t know about that, I definitely would not want to be without my copy of India Cookbook.
Author: Pushpesh Pant
Published by: Phaidon