The Curry Guy

Curry. I can't live without it. And thus it was only natural that I used some of my Santa Claus money to buy myself a copy of Dan Toombs's clever cookbook, The Curry Guy: Recreate Over 100 of the Best British Indian Restaurant Recipes at Home (2017). The cooking found in British Indian Restaurants. Or BIRs.…

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Madhur Jaffrey’s “Vegetarian India”: My Review on the”Modern Salt” Site

I love food from India, I mean, I really, really do. And  so when I had a chance to review Madhur Jaffrey's latest, well, what could I say??? Heck, YES! Here's my review, of a marvelous book, on that wonderful new magazine from the U.K. - Modern Salt: MADHUR JAFFREY’S “VEGETARIAN INDIA: A JOURNEY THROUGH…

The Poetry of Curry, or, a Traveler’s Tale

For numerous reasons, lately I've been indulging in one of my passions - cooking the food of the Indian sub-continent. I just ran across again William Makepeace Thackeray's "A Poem to Curry," quoted by nearly everyone who takes a stab at writing about the mystery of curry, and how it traveled to the nooks and crannies…

Julie Sahni -Talk About Great Indian Food!

Like most of you (I hope), I have been cooking from Julie Sahni's cookbooks for years.  I learned to feel utterly confident that Ms. Sahni's recipes really work and come close to what people from India know about good food. One weekend my husband's office held a pot-luck at a colleague's house. Feeling assured that…

To India, via Paris’s Le Passage Brady

In spite of French presence in India for a couple of centuries, trying to find Indian curry in France tends to be a bit of a chore. The first Indian restaurant didn't open in Paris until 1975. Those in the know (mostly British expatriates pining for curry in London) lament the lack of good Indian food,…

East is East and West is West: Pondicherry and French Curry

In Pondicherry, Pondichéry, or Puducherry as it is now called again (since 2006), you still see streets sparkling with old colonial buildings, dating back to a time when passersby heard French spoken daily. Yet, those buildings, policemen's hats, and a fully functioning French lycée or school, are among the few overt signs that you'll notice…

The British Melting Pot

I recently ran across these books, mentioned on an interesting British Web site providing glimpses and glances at cookbooks published in Britain, cookbooks that we here in the US of A rarely see. Maybe it's my imagination, but it seems that the British cookbook market features more books concerned with other cultures and not so…

To Balance, Strength, Love, Faith, and Hope:* Jehangir Mehta’s Mantra

Reflecting the ayurvedic principle of balance, chef Jehangir Mehta’s cookbook, Mantra: The Rules of Indulgence (2008), carries the imaginative use of flavorings to nirvanaic levels. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Indian-born Mehta draws on the centuries-old practices found in Indian cuisine and combines them in startling ways with many traditional Western, and…

“Curry & Rice” on Forty Plates: The British Raj Encore

In 1859, George Francklin Atkinson, a captain of the Bengal Engineers and a writer of some imagination as well as artistic skill, published "Curry & Rice" on Forty Plates: or the Ingredients of Social Life at "Our Station" in India. Illustrated with forty drawings, or the "plates" in question, Atkinson's fictitious account of life in…

Summer Fare, or, Steamroller Chicken

Today, when the throbbing heat of a summer day might mean grabbing a salad at the local deli, it is hard to realize that in the past people conjured up other solutions for food on the days when sweat poured off of brows like tiny streams rushing to meet a river. Everyone knows that the…

Eggplant: Passage from India

Considering that people over the centuries have blamed eggplant for "causing insanity, acting as an aphrodisiac, and serving as a dental cosmetic,"* it's no wonder eggplant tended not to "take" in certain cultures. United States, yes. India, no. Some experts say India gave birth to eggplant, called brinjal or baingun, originally called vartaka or vrntaka.…

MOVE OVER, MAJOR GREY

In keeping with the whole British colonial heritage story [See HERE and HERE for more], here's a change of continents. From Africa to the Indian subcontinent. Chutney. Etymologically, the word entered English via Urdu ( چٹنی ), Hindi ( चटनी --- caṭnī ), and  Bengali (চাটনী) . Chutney is chutney is Major Grey's mango chutney.…

UPDATED: BREAKING: Indian Food Critic / Journalist Sabina Sehgal Saikia Dead in Mumbai Terrorist Attacks

Sadly, I've just learned that Sabina Sehgal Saikia's death has been confirmed by her friends and family: A massive fire has gutted major portions of the floor she was in. Till late Friday night, her husband Shantanu Saikia, who is also a journalist, was "hoping against hope" that she would be found alive. But that…

A PASSAGE TO INDIA, REVISITED … SORT OF (AND BOOKSTORES)

For those lucky souls living in one of the larger cities of the eastern United States, bookshops purveying only cookbooks exist just around the corner. In Portland (Maine), Philadelphia, and New York City, to be exact. Who knows? You might find a copy of one of Elizabeth David's favorite books, a rather pompous Anglo-Indian cookbook…