Invitation to Indian Cooking

Invitation to Indian Cooking

2.8 5
by Madhur Jaffrey

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Carefully worked out for American cooks in American kitchens, Madhur Jaffrey's classic An Invitation to Indian Cooking demonstrates how varied, irresistible, and inexpensive Indian cooking can be and how easily you can prepare authentic dishes at home. There is no other book on Indian cooking as persuasive as this "invitation" from award-winning cookbook


Carefully worked out for American cooks in American kitchens, Madhur Jaffrey's classic An Invitation to Indian Cooking demonstrates how varied, irresistible, and inexpensive Indian cooking can be and how easily you can prepare authentic dishes at home. There is no other book on Indian cooking as persuasive as this "invitation" from award-winning cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey.

Focusing on the flavorful cooking of her native Delhi, Jaffrey offers more than 165 easy-to-follow recipes, with detailed instructions designed for those who have never cooked Indian cuisine. Learn how to make common Indian foods such as Samosas, Fried Eggplant, Naan, and Tandoori Chicken, as well as the more adventurous Tomato Tamarind Chutney, Stuffed Whole Okra, and Lamb Korma with Almonds. Eleven chapters provide recipes for Soups and Appetizers; Meats; Chicken, Other Birds, and Eggs; Fish and Shellfish; Summer Cooking and Barbequed Foods; Vegetables; Rice; Dals; Chutneys, Pickles, and Other Relishes; Breads; and Desserts.

With a helpful introduction and beautiful decorative drawings by Jaffrey, An Invitation to Indian Cooking also includes sample menus for meat-eaters and vegetarians, notes on flavorings and utensils, a glossary of Indian cooking terms, and a list of sources for purchasing special ingredients.

Whether you already love Indian food or are looking for something new to try, learn from the best; let Madhur Jaffrey take you on a culinary journey you will never forget.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The final word on the subject . . . perhaps the best Indian cookbook available in English." —Craig Claiborne, The New York Times

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.16(w) x 7.93(h) x 0.59(d)

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An Invitation to Indian Cooking

By Madhur Jaffrey

Vintage Books USA

Copyright © 1975 Madhur Jaffrey
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0394711912

Chapter One

Seekh kabab, flat style

This version of the ground meat kabab is excellent to serve with drinks and to take out on picnics. The meat and spices can be combined a night in advance and left, covered, in the refrigerator.

1/2 medium-sized onion, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
A piece of fresh ginger, about 1-inch cube, peeled and chopped
20 whole black peppercorns
10 whole cloves
Seeds from 8 cardamom pods
1 fresh hot green chili, sliced (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons chick pea flour
2 1/2 pounds chuck, ground three times
1 cup (loosely packed) chopped Chinese parsley (coriander greens or cilantro)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional - use as desired)
1 egg, beaten
5 tablespoons melted butter

In the container of an electric blender, combine the chopped onions, garlic, ginger, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom seeds, green chili, nutmeg, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Blend at high speed until you have a smooth paste.

Heat a small iron skillet or griddle over medium flame. Put in the chickpea flour and stir until it is 2 or 3 shades darker. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine the meat, the chopped parsley, the contents of the blender container, the cumin, coriander, salt, cayenne, and roasted chickpea flour. Mix well with your hands. Cover and refrigerate until ready to broil (overnight if convenient).

Take meat out of refrigerator 45 minutes before serving.

Preheat broiler.

Add beaten egg to meat and mix well.

Line 10-by-15-inch baking tray with foil, and brush it with half the melted butter.

Spread the meat mixture in the tray: it should be 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Brush the top with the rest of the melted butter. Place under broiler, 3 to 4 inches away from heat. Broil until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove with a bulb baster any liquid that may accumulate.

Cut meat into 1 1/2-2-inch squares.

Serve hot, or cold, with Raw Onion Rings and Fresh Green Chutney with Chinese Parsley and Yogurt or Fresh Mint Chutney with Fruit.

Serves 8-10

Roast chicken stuffed with spiced rice

If you are tired of your usual chicken roast, try this one. With the expenditure of just a wee bit more time and energy, you can create a sensational dish - spicy without being hot, simple without being dull!

I use precooked (usually leftover!) rice for the stuffing. Adjust the salt for the stuffing according to the saltiness of the precooked rice.

1 roasting chicken, 4 pounds (at room temperature)


2 tablespoons olive oil (or vegetable oil)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground garam masala


1 medium-sized onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
A piece of fresh ginger, about 1-inch cube, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 cup canned whole tomatoes, drained, or 3 fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon whole black mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
2 cups (well-packed) cooked rice
1/2 teaspoon salt (or as needed)

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade. Wipe chicken well with a cloth or paper towel so it is as dry as possible. Brush three-fourths of the marinade all over the chicken, inside and out. Let the chicken sit, unrefrigerated, for about 2 hours. Save rest of marinade.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place the onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, coriander, and cumin in the container of an electric blender. Blend at high speed until you have a smooth paste.

Heat the 4 tablespoons of oil in a 10-12-inch skillet over medium-high flame. When very hot, drop in the mustard and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to rise and pop (15 to 30 seconds), add the paste from the blender, keeping face averted, as the mixture will bubble rapidly and splatter. Stirring, fry the paste on medium-high heat until it is browned. The oil should separate from the paste (this will take about 10 minutes). You will need to stir more frequently as the moisture evaporates.

Add the cooked rice, and the salt as and if you need it. Turn heat to low and mix the browned paste with the rice. Loosely stuff the chicken with the rice and truss it. Place it in an ovenproof baking dish, breast up, and put it in the preheated oven.

Let the chicken brown for about 20 minutes, basting it with the remaining marinade mixture every 5 minutes. Turn down the heat to 350 degrees. Cook another hour or until the leg moves easily when pushed up and down at its socket. Baste every 10 minutes with the juices that will come out of the chicken.

To serve: Lift chicken gently and put on a warm platter. Let it sit for 15 minutes so juices will not flow out when carved. Serve simply with a green salad or, if you like, with any green bean, peas, or cauliflower dish. Sweet Tomato Chutney also tastes good with this roast.

Serves 4


Excerpted from An Invitation to Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey Copyright © 1975 by Madhur Jaffrey. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Madhur Jaffrey is the author of many cookbooks—six of which have won the James Beard Award—and was named to the Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America by the James Beard Foundation. She is also an award-winning actress with numerous major motion pictures to her credit. She lives in New York City.

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Invitation to Indian Cooking 2.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ms. Jaffrey's greatest gift to the novice of Indian cooking is her ability to adapt recipes to Western kitchens and Western ingredients. She offers reasonable and easily found substitutions for more obscure ingredients and cooking methods. I have given this book as a wedding gift, a house-warming gift, a birthday gift, even as an unbirthday gift. It is one of my most dog-eared and food-stained. She is also very clear that chili powder, dried chilis and green chilis should be added to taste, or may be omitted altogether. If you do not tolerate hot food, substitute paprika for chili powder or dried chilis, and some minced bell pepper for green chilis. That way you get the flavor and the veggie value without the heat. While the recipes may look long and overwhelming at first glance, most of them are one pot meals. This means that the long list of ingredients, once chopped, measured, or prepped, simply go into the same pot in a particular order with a particular amount of time between each. The end results are so very worth the prep time, which is, in fact, minimal. I withhold a star for oil and salt. I have found that in almost every case, the amount of oil she calls for can be reduced by half to two-thirds. I find that the amount of salt she suggests to overwhelm the entire dish. So, I leave salt out altogether in cooking, adding it to taste just before serving.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Madhur Jaffrey is an international authority on Indian food and the host of several tandoori-driven TV shows. She walks you through each step of the process. Just follow her detailed directions and you will end up with mouth-watering dishes. recommends this illustrated book with more than 200 recipes, to non-Indians.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Elenitsa17 More than 1 year ago
Mine just arrived, but WHERE ARE THE PICTURES?  How do I know if what I'm doing is right?  If you are a visual person, like I am, then don't bother.  This book is strictly text.   I'm giving this boom 2-stars but not because of the recipes, because I haven't tried, but I'd rather look for a book with more visual cues.