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December 1998 Issue
Four Selections
by Ronda L. Halpin
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Quick & Easy Indian Cooking

About the Author

    Madhur Jaffrey is a well-known authority on Indian food and cooking. She is the author of many cookbooks and hosts three television series on Indian cooking. They include: Indian Cookery, Far Eastern Cookery, and Flavors of India. In 1994, she won the James Beard Award for Best Cookbook with A Taste of the Far East.

About the Cookbook

    When I was in college, I often joined a few friends at a favorite Indian resturant in Manhatten. The food was expensive, but -- frankly -- the aroma that floated around the place was worth the price alone. If you're like me and enjoy Indian food, you'll love Quick & Easy Indian Cooking. It offers the best flavors and aromas of authentic Indian cuisine with methods that even a novice cook can handle.

    One of the most important aspects of proper Indian cooking is the amazing blends of spices used. As an extra help to people starting out, Madhur includes an extensive section near the end of the book about what to have in an Indian pantry. It covers everything from coconut milk to the famous curries. For the beginner, it helps alleviate any anxiety about whether or not you have what it takes to cook Indian cuisine.

    While this cookbook is geared towards the novice, an expert cook can find ways to keep challenged by choosing several dishes and variations. Suggestions about menus and entertaining are also included for those chefs who are bold enough to dare! Madhur also encourages the reader to mix and match Indian dishes with Western dishes. Mix a chef's salad with an egg curry or a spicy fish with simple boiled potatoes. Try an Indian-style chutney with your grilled chicken. Who says it shouldn't be done?

    The recipes presented in Quick & Easy Indian Cooking serve between two and eight people. Halving and doubling are possible, but you must be careful with the spices or you will be unhappy with the results. Since many of the dishes freeze well, I suggest you make the larger servings and freeze or otherwise store the leftovers. Do you really think your family will complain about smelling wonderful Indian food twice in a month?

    The over 70 recipes in the book are organized into eight catagories and each catagory begins with its own list of recipes for quick reference. Illustrations are provided throughout the book to show the finished product and some serving suggestions. Here are some examples of what you'll find in it:

    1. Soups, Appetizers, and Snacks (like Sandwiches with Mint and Chili Butter)
    2. Beef, Lamb, and Pork (like Lamb Stewed in Coconut Milk)
    3. Eggs and Poultry (like Garlicky Mushroom Masala Omelet)
    4. Fish and Seafood (like Curried Tuna)
    5. Legumes and Vegetables (like New Potatoes with Cumin)
    6. Bread and Rice (like Turmeric Rice)
    7. Salads, Relishes, Chutneys, and Pickles (like Fresh Red Chutney with Almonds)
    8. Drinks and Desserts (like Banana Halva)
    If you think you want to add Indian cooking to your list of specialties, Quick & Easy Indian Cooking is for you. Whether a novice cook or an executive chef, you can benefit from this book.

Where to Buy

    If you are interested in purchasing Quick & Easy Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey, you are likely to find it among the international cookbooks at any large bookstore, such as Barnes and Nobel or Borders. You can also consult one of the online booksellers made available at the end of this article. The publisher's price of the cookbook is $15.95.

Some Suggested Online Booksellers

Editor's Note: None of the cookbooks mentioned in this review are in any way associated with Seasoned Cooking or its publisher.

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