Chef magazine called this book's author "the best-known ambassador of Indian food in the United States" . . . and the Boston Herald referred to her as "the renowned author and actress [who] teaches home cooks about the sophistication and infinite diversity of Indian fare." The New York Times described her simply and succinctly as "the Indian cuisine authority." For many years a best-selling cookbook, Madhur Jaffrey's seminal title on Indian cuisine now has been totally revised, redesigned, enlarged, and enhanced with 70 brand-new full-color photos. With chapters on meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables, as well as pulses, relishes, chutneys, and pickles, the author guides her readers through the delicious and colorful range of Indian food. More than 100 detailed recipes direct home chefs through step-by-step preparation of well-known classics like Tandoori-style Chicken and Naan Bread, as well as more unusual dishes including Salmon Steamed with Mustard Seeds and Tomato and Drunken Orange Slices. Ms. Jaffrey also presents comprehensive background information on spices and seasonings, kitchen equipment, authentic preparation techniques, and suggested menus. Taste-tempting color photos show prepared dishes.
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157 of 157 found the following review helpful:
Food my palate craves long after the last biteFeb 04, 2006
By Luciano H. Ramos
I decided to jump online and write a review for this book (my first time ever taking the time to write a review) after having another wonderful evening due mainly to the wonderful recipes that come out of this book. Most reviews have people touting food credentials such as "the way my mother made it" and "I had these neighbors who were" which may be good, but I feel a bit bias since because often their judgment is skewed to look for what they knew growing up. Not knowing this food growing up, I have depended on restaurants, friends, online recipes, and cookbook authors to introduce me to foods that my palate craves long after the last bite.
That said, this book has some of the best Indian recipes I've ever eaten, in or out of a restaurant or friends house. I'll try to keep this short and simple.
Last night it was the Vindaloo (Goan-style Hot and Sour Pork), pyaz wali basmati chaaval (buttery rice), green lentils with garlic and onion, Gujerati Sem (Gujerati-style green beans) that provoked me to make this entry. I'll have to say that everything in this book that we've tried have been incredible. While the Vindaloo list of steps and ingredients was long, it was by far the best I've ever had. The other three dishes were incredibly easy, with the green beans taking the cake for being the easiest. I actually asked my wife to do these because they appeared so easy and she is easily intimidated in the kitchen with long complicated recipes. I couldn't get enough of them.
The chhole (Sour Chickpeas) are by far the best we've ever had. Incredible!
The instructions are clear, Madhur Jaffrey provides good narrative, and good recommendations for what to serve together (as the example above). I would say if you are looking for an Indian cookbook then this is the one for you, but buyer beware, if you have never ventured down the road of Indian cooking, you may need to make an additional investment of purchasing some spices you may never have owned. But all should be easily purchased in your local grocery store.
Quickly, a couple other books I've tried include (and own):
Madhu Gadia's New Indian Cooking. The recipes in this book are good for a healthy alternative (the Vindaloo I made last night called for 10 tablespoons of oil --- yum!), but you definitely can tell the difference in the final product... as you do with most healthy alternatives. The only recommendation I would make is doubling all of the spices (except maybe the salt, but I don't cook with much salt) if what you are looking for are highly flavored dishes.
From Bengal to Punjab by Smita Chandra, which I would recommend steering clear of. The dishes just never seemed to come out with me wanting to cook them again... which lead me to try cooking probably half the recipes in the book in search for something good and not having to go out and spend money on another book. Three Indian cookbooks later I found Jaffrey's book.
Sanjeev Kapoor's Khazana of Indian Recipes. I had a friend pick this book up for me while he was in India. They tell me that this guy is probably the biggest Indian food celebrity in India. While the dishes from this book were pretty good, it is not friendly to the average American. There a lot of conversions and absolutely no narrative to tell you a little about what you're preparing. Good food but not user friendly.
I hope this info is helpful.
123 of 125 found the following review helpful:
A must-have for any lover of Indian foodOct 31, 2000
By Lisa Shea
"be the change you wish to see in the world"
I *love* Indian food. We eat Indian out quite a bit, and I am hooked on palak paneer, aloo gobi, pakoras, samosas, garlic naan, you name it. We were always a bit afraid to start cooking it in our home, though, because there are so many spices and often hours of cooking involved in these dishes. Then we came across Madhur Jaffrey and her series of books.
They are superb!! This one in particular is a staple of our cookbook selection. The first part of the book goes over the spices involved and the different techniques used in cooking, to give you an overview. It even describes the types of equipment you should have. Then ... the recipes!!
All of my favorites are in here. Naan, which we cook on a pizza stone. Saag aloo. Aloo ghosht. You just open the book to any page and you hit a delicious dish. There's beef and chicken, completely vegetarian, even a whole section on relishes and chutneys.
If I had any complaint it would be that there aren't many pictures at all in here, but the recipes come out so well, and the descriptions are so complete that you rarely need to know what it looks like. It's always delicious!
90 of 92 found the following review helpful:
"Almost perfect!" says my Punjabi husbandNov 04, 2003
I had tried serving Indian recipes I found on the Internet, and my husband, a Punjabi who relishes his food, would politely eat them. The first time I made Ms. Jaffrey's "everyday" Chicken in Fried Onion Sauce, he turned to me with a big smile on his face and says "it's almost perfect - I would never know this was not prepared by a born-Indian!"
Well - that's all the proof I needed! The only consistent complaint we have about the book is that the pulses (grains and legumes) are quite bland. That may be how the majority of Indians eat them, but in my husband's community, everything is highly seasoned. I've had to adjust all of those recipes for him.
One caution about the previous edition if you decide to buy it used is that occassionally you'll find a step missing in the procedural part of the recipe. You'll get to the end of the recipe and find there is an ingredient left over that's not made it into the pot - like the meat, for instance! I recommend you read all recipes carefully before starting so you can spot ommissions and strategize around them. This approach will also help you plan all the prep steps - measuring and chopping ingredients.
71 of 76 found the following review helpful:
I love this cookbook!Jan 23, 2003
By Debbie Lee Wesselmann
For an introduction to Indian cuisine, Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking can't be beat. The recipes are all easy to follow and to prepare, with ingredients, in both American and metric measurement system, listed in a column next to the recipes. Jaffrey does not concentrate on Indian vegetarian dishes, although many of the recipes ARE vegetarian. There are even a few beef recipes reflecting the non-Hindu population. (The beef baked in yogurt and black pepper is delicious!)
Jaffrey includes a descriptive guide to Indian spices and ingredients as well as a chapter on cooking techniques. The section on breads is fantastic. I never thought I could make poori at home, and yet they turned out perfectly. I make naan fairly frequently, using a breadmaker to knead the dough, because it's my family's favorite. Other excellent dishes include Dry Potatoes with Ginger and Garlic, Gujerati-style Green Beans, and Spicy Baked Chicken. (The recipes are titled in English, with the Indian names in parentheses underneath.)
Anyone with a basic know-how of cooking should be able to succeed with these recipes.
64 of 69 found the following review helpful:
A CLASSICMar 25, 2000
This is absolutely one of my all time favorite cookbooks. Madhur Jaffrey is a teacher par excellence and everything is this book is explained in a clear, concise and easy to understand way. I found it excellent for the beginner and advanced cook alike. Every recipe I have tried has been delicious and the chutneys are beyond compare. The heavenly aromas are reason enough to experiment with the recipes, never mind the delicious tastes! If you love Indian cooking or are thinking about giving it a try, I'd recommend you begin with this book. You absolutely can't go wrong.
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