At Home with Madhur Jaffrey

December 8, 2016
At Home with Madhur Jaffrey Book Cover At Home with Madhur Jaffrey
Madhur Jaffrey
October 19th, 2010

For all who love the magical flavors of good Indian cooking and want to reproduce effortlessly some of the delectable dishes from that part of the world, here is a groundbreaking book from the incomparable Madhur Jaffrey that makes it possible. By deconstructing age-old techniques and reducing the number of steps in a recipe, as well as helping us to understand the nature of each spice and seasoning, she enables us to make seemingly exotic Indian dishes part of our everyday cooking.

• First, she tantalizes us with bite-size delights to snack on with drinks or tea.

• A silky soup is mellowed with coconut milk; a spinach-and-ginger soup is perfumed with cloves.

• Fish and seafood are transformed by simple rubs and sauces and new ways of cooking.

• A lover of eggs and chicken dishes, Jaffrey offers fresh and easy ways to cook them, including her favorite masala omelet and simple poached eggs over vegetables. There’s chicken from western Goa cooked in garlic, onion, and a splash of vinegar; from Bombay, it’s with apricots; from Delhi, it’s stewed with spinach and cardamom; from eastern India, it has yogurt and cinnamon; and from the south, mustard, curry leaves, and coconut.

• There is a wide range of dishes for lamb, pork, and beef with important tips on what cuts to use for curries, kebabs, and braises.

• There are vegetable dishes, in a tempting array—from everyday carrots and greens in new dress to intriguing ways with eggplant and okra—served center stage for vegetarians or as accompaniments.

• At the heart of so many Indian meals are the dals, rice, and grains, as well as the little salads, chutneys, and pickles that add sparkle, and Jaffrey opens up a new world of these simple pleasures.

Throughout, Madhur Jaffrey’s knowledge of and love of these foods is contagious. Here are the dishes she grew up on in India and then shared with her own family and friends in America. And now that she has made them so accessible to us, we can incorporate them confidently into our own kitchen, and enjoy the spice and variety and health-giving properties of this delectable cuisine.

(via Goodreads)

My friend Dr. Cupcake  started her blog in May, and I’ve been an avid follower since day one. As a med student, she doesn’t have a lot of time but she loves cooking. If she can find the time to make amazing recipes, so can I! I’ve been really into Indian food lately, and it’s put quite a strain on my wallet to constantly be going out to eat O_o . But thanks to Dr. Cupcake, I decided to branch out and learn to cook this cuisine on my own. Enter At Home with Madhur Jaffrey and I have found SUPER delicious Indian food is not only easy to make, but also must easier on my wallet when it’s homemade. I am sold.

Disclaimer: I am terrible at photos. Particularly food photos. I promise these dishes all taste way better than they look. WAY better.

Madhur Jaffrey is an Indian-born actress turned chef turned travel writer turned celebrity chef. at-home-with-mj-ingredientsShe is recognized for bringing Indian home cooking to the Western world. In fact, her debut cookbook An Invitation to Indian Cooking (which I cannot find anywhere for the life of me) was included into the James Beard Foundation’s Cookbook Hall of Fame in 2006 (a cookbook hall of fame?! My TBR just got overwhelming). Since the publication of her debut cookbook in 1976, Madhur Jaffrey has continued her passion in sharing Indian recipes and cooking techniques.

In 320 pages, Jaffrey covers quite the gamut of recipes. Including recipes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka I knew there would be a lot to take in. The table of contents covers appetizers, snacks, seafood, eggs, poultry, lamb, beef, vegetables and more. Honestly, I expected to be in over my head, but I quickly discovered I was not.

In the Introduction, Jaffrey says:

My purpose in writing this book is to vanquish that fear, to make Indian dishes as simple and straight forward to prepare as, say, beef stew, and to hold your hand through the entire process with clear instructions and detailed explanations.

Sounds like my kind of introduction to Indian cooking.

This book is simple. There are very few pictures.


Salmon Tikka Masala and Red Lentil Dal

Most recipes are one page in length or shorter. They call for simple ingredients, in common measurements, and always have a substitute for a non-standard Western grocery store option. For example, hot green chilies can be replaced with jalapeno. Or, Italian basil can be used instead of Thai basil, but you should use a little more and expect a slightly different flavor. I quickly found that Indian food is often easier to make than many of the recipes which are my current standards! And new favorite recipes from this cookbook are quickly becoming staples in my household.

In fact, our newest family staple (and possible favoritest dish EVER) is Jaffrey’s chicken vindaloo recipe from this cookbook. We’ve learned to combine this with dal and naan to make a complete easy weekday meal. Plus, we get the added bonus of having our home smell like vindaloo for days afterward (David thinks we should sell this smell to Yankee Candle, I disagree). We are also big seafood eaters in our home. There is a whole chapter of this cookbook dedicated to seafood recipes. Honestly, we were a bit anxious when we first saw this. All my experiences with fish curry have been… less than desirable. But our salmon tikka masala was simple and incredibly delicious.


Chicken Vindaloo

We also got to try a number of shrimp dishes which are super easy to make.

The thing I appreciate the most about this cookbook is that it really did vanquish the fear. Last night, I made up a dal recipe and it was a hit at dinner! I feel like I understand the ingredients and the cooking techniques belonging to this cuisine now. It’s incredibly empowering.

If you are remotely interested in Indian cooking, seek this cookbook out immediately. Unlike other cookbooks, everything is laid out simply. The last chapter of this cookbook contains information about the ingredients and special techniques used in Indian cooking, but you don’t have to read them to cook these recipes. This is a wonderful cookbook.

Oh, and if you’re trying a recipe or two, PLEASE invite me over! I volunteer as tribute for your taste testing. 🙂

6 Stars

What do you think?

  • Do you enjoy Indian food? What is your favorite dish?
  • Would you be interested in trying this cookbook?
  • Have you ever reviewed a cookbook? What do you think about cookbook reviews?


  • Books, Vertigo and Tea December 8, 2016 at 10:53 am

    I love this! I think I must review some cooking books! Was that salmon? And I think aside from lamb, mist of these sound incredible! How creative and inspiring. You not only put thought into reading the recipes, but jumped in and went to work ❤ where is my food?

    • Jackie B December 8, 2016 at 2:14 pm

      Thanks, Danielle! It was a delicious enterprise, and I’m glad I embarked on it. Expect to see more of these in the future just to have an excuse to make delicious things. 🙂
      The salmon tikka masala was surprisingly delicious. It’s not the same sort of sauce you find with Chicken Tikka Masala from a restaurant, but it’s still delicious. If you lived closer, I’d totally invite you over for a meal. I don’t think salmon will ship well. O_o

  • Laila@BigReadingLife December 8, 2016 at 11:42 am

    I love Indian food! You’ve inspired me to try this cookbook – I ordered a copy from another library branch! My favorite dish is anything with spinach – saag paneer, etc. But I enjoy a lot of things! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Jackie B December 8, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      That’s how I started it as well! I find that getting cookbooks from the library is a great way to cheaply find some good recipes. I accidentally stumbled upon this book as a proper gem. I’ve gone though a number of cookbooks this way and it’s the first Indian cookbook I was sad to part with.
      We didn’t make any spinach recipes since David doesn’t like cooked spinach that much, but there certainly are some! Let me know how those recipes go for you– perhaps I can convince him to let us try one or two. 🙂

  • drcupcake45 December 8, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    I’m so flattered that you were inspired by Dr. Cupcake. I loved this review! I’m dying to try this! But I’m loving most of all that you went outside of your comfort zone, kicked butt, and loved it! Kudos to you!!

    • Jackie B December 11, 2016 at 10:09 pm

      Thank you! Keep posting your recipes, and I’ll keep being inspired. 🙂 After learning a thing or two about chicken soup (I am less scared now), I am definitely branching out in my cooking. I hope there will be more cookbooks on here in the future. Bring on the adventure!

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