Easy Indian Cookbook

An integral component of our heritage, Britain’s devotion to Indian food shows no sign of cooling down. Whether enjoying a sociable evening at a favourite restaurant or an attentively chosen take away, we just can’t get enough of it. And so my task was set. An insatiable desire for this cuisine together with ever increasing forays into the kitchen, dusting down pots and pans as cookery books are scrutinised, I announce a search for a consummate kitchen compendium; one from which our nation’s favourite fare may be created authentically and effortlessly.

With several Indian cookery books already to her credit Manju Malhi’s Easy Indian Cookbook, the step-by-step guide to deliciously easy Indian food at home is quite simply superb. Fresh and modern, Manju’s recipes are easy to prepare and call for readily available ingredients. No long, complicated demands for the exotic. Saving a requirement for fresh chillies and root ginger (which I bought at my local supermarket) I cook with gusto from Easy Indian using store cupboard supplies and spices.

Manju Malhi’s parents moved to England in the late 1960’s, where she was raised in North West London. Though surrounded at home by Indian traditions and lifestyle, Manju has also spent time in India where she could enjoy and experiment with the vast, varied dishes of her homeland. Combining this rich experience with life in contemporary Britain and learning how her mother adapted her own home cooking has provided Manju with an edge. Developing her own unique “Brit-Indie” fusion designed specifically for the western home cook, this is certainly food and cooking for today.

Skillfully divided into 3 sections, Easy Indian has instant appeal with every recipe illustrated by a clean, modern photograph.

Part 1 introduces the basics – ingredients, techniques and recipes for chutneys and spice mixtures, breads and rice. Marvel at the freshness of quickly prepared Mango Chutney and stand amazed at how easily Spiced (Pulao) Rice is prepared. Manju explains the importance of drawing out and balancing flavours and aromas. Though chillies appear frequently, it is a misconception to believe all Indian food is hot, the quantity of chilli easily adapted to individual preference.

Part 2 is an indulgence of favourites – snacks, starters, vegetarian, poultry, meat, fish and shellfish main dishes; side dishes; and desserts. Seekh Kebabs (minced lamb kebabs), prawn pooris, paneer with peas, biryani, jalfrezi, rogan josh, roast leg of lamb with warming spices…and heaps, heaps more.

Selected from dishes throughout the book, Part 3 offers a cross-referenced collection of twelve menu suggestions for seasonal
lunches, dinners and feasts. Indian meals differ from western by presenting several dishes at once rather than individual courses, so it is conveniently reassuring to be guided in the art of combining these rich aromas, flavours and textures; not forgetting the included CD of atmospheric music for a truly memorable banquet.

As always, the proof of any cookery book is in the actual cooking and serving of its dishes and you will be delighted by the food from Easy Indian Cookbook. Courtesy of Duncan Baird Publishers and Deborah McKenna Ltd. I have selected and tested a range of popular dishes from this fabulous book which are guaranteed to tantalise and tempt.

published by duncan baird publishers. price GBP 16.99
photography by William Lingwood