Great Curries of India

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by Camellia Panjabi, Simon & Schuster

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780684803838
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 10/28/1995
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 8.95(w) x 11.17(h) x 0.67(d)

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Great Curries of India 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
shawnamabrey More than 1 year ago
This book is more than just an introduction into Indian quisine. It really is an introduction into Indian cultures and - mostly by accident-an introduction to the differences in communication and work styles between Indians and Westerners. Just the introduction alone makes Great Curries of India a must-have for anyone really interested in connecting with Indian people personally or professionally through their cooking. In India, nothing is ever 100%: there is always a grey area. That is the first rule to learn about India and its quisine. That is where its strength lies! While Ms. Punjabi doesn't come out and explain this; it's really best that you approach any Indian cookbook (or any Indian for that matter) remembering to be adaptive. The biggest flaw in this book is the conversions: I believe they are English. But even from there we have a few other problems. Remembering the aforementioned lesson, that nothing is black and white in Indian communication and ways of doing things, the flaw is almost forgivable. Here is why: depending on where your spices come from, how old your spices are, whether you are using organic foods (much smaller in size), and where your produce comes from, there really is no way to be accurate in writing down an Indian recipe. Onions in India are TINY, lemons are much higher in acidity, Etc. Oral tradition prevails in the kichens of India. Ask 99.99 percent of Indian housewives for a written recipe for a dish they make; and they simply wouldn't be able to produce one! These skills have been learned by watching and doing in kitchens for many, many generations. Not writing or measuring. This is what makes this recipe book more precious: Ms Punjabi actually stood in most of the hot kitchens where these dishes were being prepared, hand-writing her own notes and about the measurements and ingredients bit by bit, then went home and attempted to duplicate the dish. This no doubt took years of research. She details her stories about some of these dishes, making the book even more fascinating. To fully appreciate even one recipe, it is imperative that one read the intro first. Anyone unfamiliar with Eastern- and more particularly Indian- ways of communicating and doing business might find some level of frustration as they use this book. But those who are patient and open-minded will be deeply rewarded. This cookbook is one that I believe the author has put a great deal of heart into. The introduction alone would make a great book in and of itself- I am not aware of any other cookbook which so thoroughly explains Indian spices and the vast array of methods in which they are used and the regions of India from which they are harvested. Upon reading the introduction to these recipes, with a little practice, one doesn't really NEED to follow the recipes any more. You will need to experiment; and will have fun doing so. In summary, this book's strengths really do make up for its weaknesses. Note: I have found the most glaring errors in recipes to be found in the back of the book where there are no photos; I think many of these back-of-the-book recipes are filler and were not really tested. You can see that some recipes might call for 8 ounces of tomato, while the very next recipe calls for 2 tomatoes; no convention. These recipes clearly weren't originated by the same person. Less experienced or western cooks should definitely focus on featured recipes at the beginning of the book first.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has tremendous potential, but truly falls short for those of us who are not completely familiar with Indian cooking or English measurements. All cup measurements are 7-oz cups - U.S. chefs take note. But the amibiguities do not stop there. The author fails to mention what to do with one or more of the listed ingredients in several recipes. The order of instructions in some recipes are not correct. Perhaps the original British version is much better and that these details were lost in translation. I purchased my copy 5 years ago and without fail, every recipe I tried, I had to adjust and make corrections to in order to make the dish properly. I recently flipped through the book during a move and had to chuckle reading through my handwritten notes on all the recipes I tried. Given, that most well-worn cookbooks would and should have personal notes to adjust the recipes to the chef's own tastes, these notes were more for completion than taste. The photos and author's background on the spices and regions in India are lovely however.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ms. Punjabi has put together some authentic, good dishes with excellent photos. All of them come out Yumm. She could have done more with deserts and rices.... Good book to keep in your cookery arsenal if you wanna impress people with your dishes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Unique is the explanation of how Indian food works,and why. Which ingredients heat the food, which cool it, which colour it, which spice it. Brilliant and concise! 20 years of research make such a difference. Stupendous.