Aug 25

Madhur Jaffrey's Indian CookeryI was a teenager when I first had Indian food. I had had Caribbean curries but not food from India. My father was visiting New York from the Bahamas and had a meeting at the UN with members of the delegation from India. My father invited me to join him and his friends for lunch. All I can remember about the restaurant is that it was close to the UN and my father’s friends said it was one of the few Indian restaurants that they went to, as the food was close to what they would get at home.

The table was laden with dishes I had never had. Fragrant bowls of lamb, chicken, pulses, vegetables and rice. Spices combined in ways I had never tasted. It was an epiphany. I was a teenager in the pre-internet era, before there was an abundance of cookery shows on the television, and before Indian food was practically a staple in every household. Therefore, I filed this day in my memory bank and knew that I would leap on the opportunity to try this cuisine again, when I had the chance.

Fast forward to when I was in my 20’s and living in the Bahamas. My dear friend Sue invited me over for dinner and much to my delight and surprise it was Indian food and immediately brought back my memories. This was not a Caribbean curry but a delicious dish of fragrant spices, like that wonderful meal in New York.

I was so enthralled with the dinner at Sue’s that she kindly gave me a copy of Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery and said to me that I could not go wrong with the recipes in this book. I have had my copy since 1989 and I have cooked practically every recipe in it and have been cooking them for over 25 years. The recipes in this book are still exciting but at the same time comforting to me. The recipes are well written and very easy to follow.

There are 4 chapters in the book that are very useful if you have never cooked Indian food from scratch: spices, seasonings and flavourings; techniques; menus and how to eat Indian food; and equipment. These chapters cover things like how to get a better result by buying fresh spices or buying them whole and grinding them yourself. This is followed by meat, chicken, fish, vegetables, pulses, breads, rice, relishes, chutneys and pickles and finally soups, snacks and sweets.

Lemony Chicken with Fresh Coriander (Hare Masale Wali Murghi).

Lemony Chicken with Fresh Coriander (Hare Masale Wali Murghi)

The author talks about the regions the recipes comes from, gives suggestions on what to serve with a dish, suggests substitutions for ingredients that may be difficult to find, and gives helpful little tips.

Some of my favourite recipes are beef or lamb baked with yoghurt and black pepper, Kashmiri Rogan josh, Mughlai lamb with turnips, Goan style mussels, sweet and sour okra, black eyed beans with mushrooms and spiced basmati rice.

A lovely fragrant dish that I like to make which the author says is “a great favourite with our family” is the Lemony Chicken with Fresh Coriander (Hare Masale Wali Murghi). I bought a lovely chicken from Martin Player Family Butcher and had them cut into 8 pieces. After browning the chicken in a pan with a little oil, which I then removed from the pan, I then added a paste I made in my mini food processor of ginger and garlic. After frying for about a minute, I added lots of fresh coriander, ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper, salt, lemon juice and a small green chilli finely chopped. The chicken was then placed back in the pot, covered tightly and then allowed to simmer gently until cooked, which took about 30 minutes.

I have quite a few Indian cookery books but really love this one for what I consider to be home style, easy and delicious Indian food. Madhur Jaffrey is considered by many to be the leading world authority on Indian food. I am no expert on Indian food but I have enjoyed cooking the recipes from this book for over 25 years and I hope to enjoy cooking them for many more.

My edition of this book (shown above) is no longer available but you can get the updated edition at good book stores and at Amazon by clinking on this image.

*If you want to know more about Carol’s adventure with food or even join her on one then check out Food Adventure Ltd.

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