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Indian Cookbooks


porcupine
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I have many Indian cookbooks and use them often. Over the past 2 years I've got a lot of mileage out of Raghavan Iyer's 660 Curries.

Also, I remain a huge fan of Madhur Jaffrey. If you don't have Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking you might want to give that a try. It's full of great recipes and not quite as dated as "Invitation", her first cookbook, and the one I learned to cook Indian food from, back in the 80s. She also has some great Indian regional cookbooks, "A taste of India" and "Flavors of India" that are out of print. Both are full of great recipes collected from cooks (mostly regular people, not hotel chefs) from different regions of the subcontinent. They are grouped by region and are very descriptive and accompanied by excellent photography. "Taste" covers Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Gujrat, Maharashtra, Kashmir, Bengal, Hyderbad, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and Kerela. "Flavors" covers Kerela, Gularat, Goa, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Punjab. There are no repeated recipes despite covering some of the same regions. Not an exhaustive survey by any means, but a great collection of some family recipes that are thoroughly explained, worked out and tested.

The few recipes included at the back of "Climbing the Mango Tree", her memoir, are fantastic, as well.

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My absolute favorite Indian (or more specifically South Asian) cookbook is The Curry Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon. I think it's out of print. It's not a giant tome, or even a particularly comprehensive tour of the different cuisines of the subcontinent, it's just basically a collection of a bunch of recipes the author and her husband enjoy, organized by meats, veggies, etc. I just love it because everything I've ever made from it has been delicious.

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her first cookbook, and the one I learned to cook Indian food from, back in the 80s.

Me, too. :) Thanks for all the recs. Another question: is there a good brick and mortar book store anywhere in the greater DC Metro area that has a wide selection of cookbooks? (Call me crazy or old-fashioned, but I actually like to heft a book, turn the pages, see the typeface and so on before buying. Also, bookstores are just cool. It's kinda like buying food at farmers' markets...)

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is there a good brick and mortar book store anywhere in the greater DC Metro area that has a wide selection of cookbooks? (Call me crazy or old-fashioned, but I actually like to heft a book, turn the pages, see the typeface and so on before buying. Also, bookstores are just cool. It's kinda like buying food at farmers' markets...)

Politics and Prose has a large food and cooking section. Also check the cookbook shelves in their downstairs sales area. I've often found good books there at great discounts.

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Politics and Prose has a large food and cooking section. Also check the cookbook shelves in their downstairs sales area. I've often found good books there at great discounts.

Interesting. As I typed that post I was thinking that P&P usually doesn't have interesting (to me) cookbooks. Will have to revisit. Though I try to stay away, because I tend to get carried away there.

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I'm w Zora, especially since options are limited these days. The Barnes and Noble in Bethesda's pretty good, though a favorite is Second Story Books. Have to be dedicated in visits because there will be long periods of nada, but I remember a time when a young chef decided he just didn't use the cookbooks he collected, and therefore sold the second-hand store a slew of pristine, interesting titles. I also recommend the Arlington Public Library. Budgets are slashed everywhere now, but until fairly recently, it was a great place to catch up w the latest and decide if it was worth buying.

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I ended up buying 660 Curries and How to Cook Indian. Haven't cooked from the latter yet, but would definitely recommend the former. The recipes look fairly straightforward, but they don't take shortcuts or have you using substitutes for authentic ingredients; the result (so far) is that everything has been full of flavor. Last night I made paneer tikka masala, an eggplant and pea dish with an almond and raisin sauce that was just exquisite, and roti.

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