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The Spice is Right: Easy Indian Cooking for Today

Easy Indian Cooking for Today, by Monica Bhide

(Callawind Publications Inc, 2001)

This great beginner’s guide to Indian cuisine is easy to read and nicely designed. Monica takes the reader by the hand to explore some of her family’s favourite recipes. There are foureen dinner menus, ranging from ‘Hearty Sunday Brunch’ to ‘The Boss is Coming’, and ‘No-Meat Fridays’ for vegetarians. There are also some nice introductory sections describing individual spices, breads and general cooking techniques.

Indian cuisine is not as prevalent in the US as it is in the UK. Over here, chicken tikka masala is the most frequently eaten meal in the country. In the USA, it’s the hamburger. As such, many UK readers may find The Spice is Right a little basic, as it does not assume any experience of eating Indian food. Recipes like hummus and coleslaw might also raise a few eyebrows over here — they simply aren’t authentically Indian, even with a pinch of garam masala. However, there are some nice concepts explored, particularly the references to colonial influence on the many cookery styles of the Indian sub-continent. And the spice reference section is a good guide to commonly used spices throughout India and the Middle East.

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