Book review – A cookbook quite unlike any other

2011-04-02 14:57

There are cookbooks with pretty pictures that make your mouth water.

There are cookbooks by famous chefs that you simply must own. And then there is this cookbook, which is quite unlike anything I’ve seen in a long time.

The first 15 pages are beautiful and glossy, and feature stunning pictures of food.

Then follows 809 pages packed with curry recipe after curry recipe after curry recipe.

Iyer’s writing is chatty, informative and really fun.

He talks to you and can almost sense your hesitation when it comes to trying out a new taste, and then he talks you right through it.

I own a lot of cookbooks, and many of them have very special places in my cooking repertoire, but most of them are fairly specific when it comes to cooking styles or regional foods.

This book is different because, while the curries take centre stage, many of the recipes can successfully be used across all forms of cooking styles.

My favourite sauce of the moment comes from this book; it is a mint-and-coriander blend with garlic and ginger.

It has made an appearance on fish, pasta and chicken in my house.

It is fresh, bright and incredibly tasty.

Iyer has been very clever in compiling this book, because he has aimed it at food lovers across the spectrum.
If you like spicy Italian food, there is a great spaghetti tomato curry.

If you like Mexican food, he has taken a traditional Indian curry recipe and twisted it into stuffed peppers with curried potato.

I especially like the chapter on contemporary curries because it takes into account all tastes and cooking styles and incorporates foods which are not normally associated with Indian cooking.

And if you are stuck with only some potatoes and bread, there’s even a recipe for that.

It’s really good, too.

My son is a picky eater and this potato-and-bread patty (which I smothered in good old Koo tomato sauce for him) went down a treat.

If you own only one curry cookbook, may I suggest that it should be this one?

It’s exhaustive and covers everything from spice blends, pastes, appetizers, poultry and game to egg, all the meat curries, biryanis and side dishes.

It reads incredibly well because Iyer knows his food, but he is also a good writer who takes the reader on a curry journey that spans the globe.

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