***This is a sponsored post. I received a copy of Easy Indian Cooking, 2nd Edition, by Suneeta Vaswani, for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own and no other compensation has been received. Now that we’ve got that out of the way…***
If you’ve been hanging around here for a while, you’ve probably figured out that Todd and I love Indian food in general, and that I love to try out authentic recipes when time allows (like participating in the Indian Cooking Challenge). So it’s no surprise that I jumped at the chance to check out Suneeta Vaswani’s updated Easy Indian Cooking.
The book opens with a brief information section that would have come in super-handy back when I first started trying those ICC recipes and I was having to Google every other ingredient to figure out what I was looking for or what I could substitute. If you’re just delving into Indian cuisine and are wanting to recreate some of the delicacies you’ve enjoyed in restaurants, this section will help you get started in ways that a single recipe might leave you wondering. Not that Vaswani doesn’t give you plenty of tips throughout the book, most recipes have a tip in the margins along with a little note describing the recipe, it’s history, or a memory associated with the food.
Of course we tried out some of the recipes, too!
This Yellow Lentil Soup was soup-er simple to prepare and so filling but without being very heavy. The flashes of color from the carrots, tomatoes, and green beans make this a very sunny soup and perfect for a rainy spring or summer day.
These Coriander Chicken thighs (page 92) were quite flavorful without being over-powering. While I used the Potatoes in Tomato Gravy (page 167) as a side dish, it actually cam from the Vegetarian Entrees chapter and is meant to be served with rice. Vaswani points out that Indians consider potato a vegetable (as opposed to a starch, the way most nutritionists would/do) and therefore thinking nothing of pairing it with a grain. As vegetarian entrees are quite popular among many of the Indian regions and rice is plentiful, this makes perfect sense. Still, I chose not to double up on the starches for this particular meal.
For many years I limited tomatoes in my diet due to a health condition that now seems to be under better control. I admit, we’ve been reveling in my new-found tolerance for this fruit/vegetable and the Sindhi Chicken Curry (page 102) was a wonderful way to reacquaint ourselves with a rich, well-spiced tomato sauce. This dish is a homey one that the author considers a “quintessential north Indian-style chicken curry.” I think it’s a perfect antidote to the idea that all curries are a) the same and b) all yellow with the ubiquitous curry powder as the main ingredient.
While it always sounds like a teacher taking attendance, Rogan Josh or Curried Lamb (page 126) is also one of the favorites when we head out to our local Indian restaurant. It’s not named for a person, though, as rogan can either mean oil or red color (like rouge or rojo) and josh mean heat or passion. So Rogan Josh is a dish cooked by high heat in oil, and in this case it’s lamb, as is perferred in the region of Kashmir, where it’s from. And it was just as good made at home as it was in any restaurant we’ve ordered it in!
Todd opted to try this Indian Scrambled Egg dish (page 160) on one of the frequent evenings we enjoy breakfast for dinner and I really wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s a Parsi dish that the author states is very popular in Mumbai (modern-day Bombay) and it makes a great stuffing for wraps or pitas. We enjoyed the cumin and tomato studded eggs more than we expected to! It’s nice to have this as an option, now, when the usual eggs over easy just aren’t sounding as appealing.
Indian Scrambled Eggs (aka Akoori)
from Easy Indian Cooking, 2nd Edition by Suneeta Vaswani
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 cup chopped onion
2 tsp finely chopped green chili
1 cup chopped tomato
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Tomato wedges and cilantro sprigs for garnish
- In a bowl, gently whisk eggs, salt and pepper. Do not beat.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and add cumin seeds. Stir in onion and green chile and saute until golden, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add tomato and saute, stirring continuously, for 1 minute. Stir in cayenne, turmeric and cilantro. Cook for 1 minute longer. Reduce heat to medium-low and slowly add egg mixture. Cook, stirring gently, until eggs are soft and creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Do not overcook.
- Serve garnished with tomato wedges and cilantro sprigs.
Overall we enjoyed the recipes we tried from Easy Indian Cooking, 2nd Edition, and I especially loved the extra information included at the front of the book as well as with each recipe. This, I think, makes this book invaluable for a home cook looking to expand their culinary world with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of flavor.