Favorite cookbooks are like old friends. With time, their pages become tattered and torn, splattered with oil and culinary experiments. These signs of use do not diminish their value. Rather , they are marks of the high esteem in which the tome is held. Neelam Batra’s 1,000 Indian Recipes (1,000 Recipes) is just such a book.
I bought 1,000 Indian Recipes (1,000 Recipes) when I was a young wife and mother. My eldest son was born in India, and my husband and I spent years living and working all over the subcontinent.
Having recently moved back to Washington, DC, I was beset by cravings. Anyone who has visited India can comprehend my quandary. I had spent time in Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Delhi, and was craving regional specialities from each city!
Thank goodness, Ms. Batra had my back. Her very thorough cookbook is the only one I have found which covers cuisines from most regions of the country.
I am not suggesting that every single Indian dish is contained in this encyclopedic book. However,1,000 Indian Recipes (1,000 Recipes) does present the masalas (spice mixes) and techniques relevant to each of India’s major regional cuisines.
Mastering the Indian Kitchen
Moreover, the book’s text offers innumerable bits of wisdom worthy of the very best Indian mother-in-law. Ms. Batra proffers advice on everything — from basic techniques and masalas, to how to make a proper pakora. Better yet, all of her suggestions are based on the realities of preparing food in a modern, Western kitchen.
With this book in hand, even a novice can prepare proper Indian food at home. 1,000 Indian Recipes (1,000 Recipes) traverses the space between simple dishes which can easily be prepared by a young housewife and those requiring significantly more skill with grace and elegance. It is a book that grows with the reader.
If you are a novice, who is just beginning to learn about Indian cuisine, Ms. Batra’s book will put your mind at ease. The recipes are easy and accessible. They run the gamut from simple raitas to accompany and cool your food in hot weather, to elegant biryanis. There is something in this book for everyone.
While I have been known to amp up the quantities of certain seasonings — particularly chilis — this book respects the balance of each dish. It provides the cook with a roadmap. However, it also liberates him or her with the confidence that only knowledge and experience can confer.
A Sampling of Recipes from the Book
|Mughlai Garam Masala||Kichdi, Comfort Food for All Seasons|