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. She 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.
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.
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. 🙂
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?