Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Curry Cuisine by Vivek Singh, Corinne Trange, David Thompson, Das Sreedharan, Mahmood Akbar and Sri Owen
I adore curries. However, my knowledge of them is limited. I had no idea so many existed, nor did I know that they came from so many different parts of the world. This book opened my eyes to so many possibilities. This is a terrific book!!
The book is organized into regional cuisines. There are sections for North India, South India, Pakistan, Myanmar and Maritime South-East (SE) Asia, Thailand, Mainland SE Asia and Outposts. Each section starts off with an introduction, followed by a section with a photograph, list, and explanation of the ingredients used in that area. This section is definitely one of my favourite parts of the book. Some of the ingredients used are either foreign to me or a little exotic, so seeing what they looks like or learning what they are before having to find them in a store, is invaluable.
The first time through the book, I read the introductions and looked at the ingredients all the while noting a few recipes I wanted to try. Mostly things I was familiar with. I also learned a lot. The second time through, I found a bunch more recipes for things I had enjoyed in the past and added those to the list. It seemed that every time I picked up the book, I either learned something new or found another recipe to try.
For the purposes of this review, I picked Chicken Tikka Masla (page 330) to try. It's from one of the outposts, Britain. I figured I might as well as start with something I sort of know. The chicken is marinated overnight in yogurt, lime juice and variety of spice and other ingredients. The creamy, spicy, tomato sauce is made the next day and combined with the cooked chicken. The process was a little long, but I think it was worth it. It didn't turn out perfect or exactly how I pictured, but it was pretty good nevertheless. The smell from the freshly roasted and grinded cumin and coriander seeds was heavenly. However, the whole dish was a bit too acidic and the chicken had a slightly odd texture. I used chicken breasts instead of thighs. That may have done it as I don't think breasts need as much tenderizing or marinating. Anyway, next time (and there will be a next time) I'll either use thighs or cut down on the marinating time and perhaps use a little less lime juice.
Other recipes I want to try are: Doubles (Bara and Curried Chickpeas), page 316, from the Caribbean; Khamiri Roti, page 146, from Pakistan; Murgh makhami (Old Delhi-style Chicken Curry), page 42, from Delhi and Punjab; and lots of others. They all sound delicious.
The table of contents is very detailed and lists all of the recipes in the section. However, page numbers are only given for major sections or countries within areas. That's okay, though, because the index is quite extensive and should help the reader find items in the book. The glossary is very limited and only covers some basics. However, there's a lot of explanations within the book itself, so this is too bad. It's still well-worth the read.
The book also contains a list of suppliers. Most are websites, but a few have actual brick and mortar locations. Unfortunately, these are mostly in New York City or California. I'm sure I can find most of these ingredients here, but it's good to know that online suppliers are available to fill in any gaps.
Highly recommended for curry lovers like me!
For more information about this book, please visit DK's website.
I'd like to thank those nice people at DK Canada for this review copy.
Curry Cuisine by Vivek Singh, Corinne Trange, David Thompson, Das Sreedharan, Mahmood Akbar and Sri Owen, Dorling Kindersley (DK), ©2010. ISBN 9780756662073(Trade Paperback), 352p.