"500 Indian Recipes" Cookbook Review

by sockii

Intimidated by the idea of trying to cook Indian food at home? Don't be! This cookbook provides an excellent introduction to techniques and traditional Indian recipes.

I love to cook and to explore preparing different ethnic cuisines in my kitchen. However, for a long time I've been intimidated about trying to prepare Indian food at home. I thought it would be too difficult to do it properly: too complicated with lots of hard-to-find spices, too time-consuming, too tricky to prepare without lots of specialized equipment.

Well, I soon learned my hesitations were unwarranted when I discovered the wonderful cookbook "500 Indian Recipes: Deliciously authentic step-by-step recipes from India and South-East Asia". I couldn't resist buying it when I saw page after page of colorful , delicious-looking food, with nearly every recipe photographed in full-color and most with no more than 5 or 6 steps in their preparation. Maybe cooking Indian food at home wouldn't be as hard as I thought after all! Once I got home and started trying out some of the recipes, I soon learned that was indeed the case.

This cookbook has all of the classic Indian recipes you're surely familiar with, such as Beef Vindaloo, Chicken Tikka Masala, Vegetable Korma and several versions of Biryani rice dishes. But there are also plenty of recipes I'd never heard of before but certainly became eager to try once I read their description: Venison with Lentils & Tomatoes, Balti Chicken in Thick Creamy Coconut Sauce, Sweet Pumpkin & Peanut Curry, Curried Lamb Samosas, and Pork Belly with Five Spices, just to name a few. Every time I look through this cookbook, I find something new I want to try to prepare - and so far, everything I have tried has come out delicious!

As far as needing any specialized cookware, that was not the case. Most recipes can easily be prepared using a standard wok, skillet, or cast-iron pan. The breads can be prepared in an oven, deep fried in oil or on a standard stove-top skillet.

I did need to put a little effort into tracking down certain ingredients. My local Wegmans supermarket had many of the things I needed, like different varieties of lentils and chapati flour for making breads. A few spices were harder to find in person, but I was able to order them quickly and easily from Amazon. So far some of my favorite recipes I've tried and successfully prepared have been the Courgettes with Split Lentils & Tomatoes, Sweet & Sour Balti Chicken and the Tandoori Rotis. Want to see how they came out? Check out my photos below...

Some recipes I've prepared from this cookbook

Courgettes with split lentils & tomatoes, served with Basmati rice.
Courgettes with split lentils & tomatoes, served with Basmati rice.
Masala Chana ... a sweet-and-spicy chick pea stew with tomatoes and tamarind.
Masala Chana ... a sweet-and-spicy chick pea stew with tomatoes and tamarind.
Chicken Dopiaza, or "Two Onion" Chicken, a tasty dish you'll learn to prepare in "500 Indian Recipes".
Chicken Dopiaza, or "Two Onion" Chicken, a tasty dish you'll learn to prepare in "500 Indian Recipes".
"Red Hot" Chicken Curry. It actually wasn't that spicy, but it was very delicious.
"Red Hot" Chicken Curry. It actually wasn't that spicy, but it was very delicious.
Sweet & Sour Balti Chicken...another recipe I've prepared from this cookbook.
Sweet & Sour Balti Chicken...another recipe I've prepared from this cookbook.
Balti chicken with red and green chiles, served with fried roti bread.
Balti chicken with red and green chiles, served with fried roti bread.
"Spicy Cabbage" is a tasty and easy side-dish from this cookbook.
"Spicy Cabbage" is a tasty and easy side-dish from this cookbook.
A simple tomato relish to enjoy with curries, rice dishes and breads.
A simple tomato relish to enjoy with curries, rice dishes and breads.
My first attempt at making Tandoori Roti...not bad for a beginner!
My first attempt at making Tandoori Roti...not bad for a beginner!

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Updated: 04/17/2015, sockii
 
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