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An Invitation to Indian Cooking by Madhur…
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An Invitation to Indian Cooking (1973)

by Madhur Jaffrey

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The most engrossing cookbook I've read in recent memory. Jaffrey has a gift for prose as well as completely delicious recipes. I loved reading her stories of growing up in India which are often incorporated in the introduction to a recipe. An added plus is her creation of a mini-drama to imagine the origin of Curry Powder. While this cookbook has no photographs of completed dishes (which seems to be de rigueur), her descriptions are so excellent that photographs are unnecessary. Dotted throughout, Jaffrey has included charming decorative drawings. I just made the Chicken with Tomato Sauce and Butter and it is one of the best Indian dishes I've ever made. I've also made the Lentils and Basmati rice with spices and saffron, which were also very good. ( )
  allriledup | Aug 11, 2018 |
An Invitation to Indian Cooking might have been a more accurate title had it included the subtitle Getting to Know Indian Cuisines and Ingredients because Jaffrey not only invites you into the world of Indian cuisine she also includes history lessons and ingredient explanations in addition to recipes. While her tone is conversational I found it to be a little didactic at times. Her claims that Americans, on the whole, don't know what well-prepared rice tastes like is one such example. Another drawback to An Invitation to Indian Cooking is its out-of-date information. Basmati rice, Jaffrey recommends, is readily available at specialty stores. That may have been true in 1973 when her first cookbook was published, but I expected the reprint to have some updated information. I also find it hard to believe that out of 50 states only 12 have stores that carry authentic Indian ingredients.
But, having said all that, I love the recipes Jaffrey includes in her first cookbook. I like her attention to detail and her comparisons between American and Indian products. For example, Jaffrey points out that American chicken is more tender than chicken purchased in India, therefore traditional Indian cooking techniques would not work well on an American-raised bird.

"The chicken available in American markets is so tender that it begins to fall apart well before it can go through the several stages required in most Indian recipes" (p 86).

If you are ambitious enough to make several Indian recipes at the same time Jaffrey includes a series of different menus to try. ( )
3 vote SeriousGrace | Nov 4, 2009 |
Good basic introduction to Indian cooking... not scary to read or to use. ( )
  ShawnMarie | Dec 25, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394711912, Paperback)

Written especially for Americans, this book demonstrates how varied, exciting, and inexpensive Indian cooking can be, and how easily you can produce authentic dishes at home. Over 200 recipes.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:09 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"This seminal book, originally published in 1973, introduced the richly fascinating cuisine of India to America--and changed the face of American cooking. Now, as Indian food enjoys an upsurge of popularity in the United States, a whole new generation of readers and cooks will find all they need to know about Indian cooking in Madhur Jaffrey's wonderful book. Jaffrey was prompted to become a cook by her nostalgia for the tastes of her Delhi childhood, but she learned to cook on her own, in a Western kitchen. So she is particularly skillful at conveying the techniques of Indian cooking, at describing the exact taste and texture of a dish. The many readers who have discovered her inspiring book over the years have found it deeply rewarding, with recipes for appetizers, soups, vegetables, meats, poultry, fish, chutneys, breads, desserts, even leftovers, all carefully worked out in American measurements and ingredients for American kitchens. This landmark of cookery makes clear just how extraordinarily subtle, varied, and exciting Indian food can be, and how you can produce authentic dishes in your own kitchen. From formal recipes for parties to the leisurely projects of making dals, pickles, and relishes, this "invitation" to Indian cooking has proved completely irresistible. In 2006, the James Beard Foundation ushered this book into its Cookbook Hall of Fame."--Publisher's website.… (more)

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