The introduction proclaims this as a book “about discovering a casual attitude towards Indian cookery”, and that some of the recipes have been “distilled and pared back for busy modern cooks.” I would say that this is a book for a fairly experienced cook – that is, someone who won’t be put off by making their own simmer sauce or following a few steps – but who has never cooked much Indian food. Which pretty much means me.
Paneer: yes, ok, I made paneer. I had a litre of milk nearing its use-by and I didn’t want to waste it, so I thought I’d experiment, ok? I don’t imagine I’ll be doing this every time I want paneer but it’s nice to know I COULD. It was easy, and the instructions (except for that confusing ‘do I turn off the heat when it’s 80C or after I’ve added the acid??’ question) were easy to follow.
Charred Broccoli with Chilli and Fennel: the fennel is fennel seeds, and the garnish is what really makes this – toasted coconut, pomegranate seed and coriander! Broccoli and coconut is amazing! Also the mustard and fennel seeds were nice with it too. Chicken Korma: a fair bit more work than I had expected, but very tasty. I used black poppy seeds because I couldn’t find white, but I don’t think it changed the taste; I liked the cardamom. Would make again but it would have to be for something a bit special.
Classic Lamb Curry: delicious. Making the paste is a bit of effort, of course (I get annoyed having to clean the blender but it’s a whole easier than having to do it with a mortar and pestle!), but lamb + onion, chilli, ginger, garlic, garam masala, cumin, coriander and turmeric is magnificent.
Lamb kofta: which we actually made with beef because she said you could. Also very nice, although trick for new players: DON’T squeeze out the grated onion using a tea towel you ever wish to use again. Kofta are simmered in a tomato and onion and spice sauce. Would make again.
Beef and potato curry: also very nice, although probably the most similar to other curry recipes you’re likely to find in generic cookbooks.
Roti and naan: very easy and straightforward recipes for these. We wondered which we would prefer and, it turns out, the answer is naan. We don’t have a grill (I KNOW), but I googled and found that cooking them on a pizza stone would be entirely fine. Which it was. Will definitely for sure be making these again. I’m especially keen to try the different variations the book includes – especially the different sorts of parantha, which use roti or naan dough and various fillings.
Almond and saffron cake: I’ve never actually boiled the oranges before making an orange cake before, but I did it for this one and… it might have been a good idea. Anyway, this cake is excellent, and the saffron adds an intriguing and delightful almost savoury note. It was very moist and wonderful.
There are many other recipes I am looking forward to cooking from this book, so I am pleased to have it on the shelf.
Available from Fishpond.