Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Whitecap Books Ltd.; 1 edition (January 1, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.7 x 10 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #154,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #53 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Asian Cooking > Indian #1888 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International #2605 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Special Diet
I have only had the opportunity to make a half-dozen of the dishes. But every one of these has been delicious.Some real favorites in there: My Mother's Chickpeas, Cherry Tomato & Paneer Salad, Tandoori Quesadillas, Bal's No-Butter Chicken.Several things stand out.1) Beautiful photography of the dishes.2) Entertaining narrative for each dish. I felt like I know the author after just reading a couple of recipes. Very, very warm and personal.3) Focuses on fast - fresh - and healthy... just as the subtitle says. She got me on the grapeseed & flaxseed oil kick when I cook.One note. You should take the time to prepare her masalas and various spice blends as it will help prepare some of the dishes.One small criticism. Give me a list of all of the recipes that use a given masala.Still give it a 5 star. Please note the 3 star of another reviewer was a criticism that the book was not cut correctly. Not really a reflection on the content of this book and hardly the author's fault.
If we are thinking about healthy food with lots of flavor, we gravitate to the cuisines of China and Japan. They use meat, but chopped and sliced and diced so a little goes a long way. They make vegetables interesting. They have integrity --- their recipes don't call for Westernized industrial products. As for preparation, they're generally quick.But why stop there? Why not go right on to Indian food?Ignorance, mostly. We believe that Indian recipes call for enough spices to fill a walk-in closet. And we suspect that Indian recipes are complicated, requiring hours of preparation and constant attention.Gandhi liberated India once. Now it's Bal Arneson's turn. And in "Everyday Indian", she really does present "100 fast, fresh and healthy recipes."Fast? She was raised in a small village in Punjab, where a woman's day was filled with chores. There were no "modern conveniences" --- all chores were done by hand. Water had to be fetched from the pump. Cooking was done over an open pit, with cow dung patties for fuel. Better believe those women were swift.Ingredient-heavy recipes? "Garam masala (a mixture of dried spices that can be found in most specialty stores) and turmeric powder were the only two spices I used to cook with on a daily basis."When she was 20, an arranged marriage brought her to Canada. Now remarried and living in Vancouver, she was not challenged by the demands of raising two children and running a house. She went back to school, then started to teach cooking classes as a way of paying off her student loans.Her culture has stayed with her, which is a fine thing for people who like interesting food without courting heart disease. Her recipes cut out butter, oil and cream; the depth in her food comes from the spicing. And she's still fast --- most of her dishes take less than 25 minutes.
Overall, I really like this book. It has a lot of low-fat, vegetarian recipes, and it uses a lot of great spices. I have tried several recipes, and while they are good, I have learned to adjust the amount of cumin seed in the recipes. Several of the recipes are very long on cumin seeds (I've seen as many as two tablespoons), and I find this makes the recipes somewhat bitter. (I am planning to try another brand of cumin seed, though, to see if maybe I bought a bad batch.) But the other ingredients are great, and I really appreciate the use of lots of vegetables, beans, etc. You will find that a lot of recipes are a North American (and healthy) twist on traditional Indian food.The biggest problem I have had with this book is the spices. The book says that several spices (like fenugreek seeds, for example) are "available in any supermarket." She also provides recipes for making your own chana masala and other spice mixes, but says that these spice mixes are also readily available in any supermarkets. I have not found this to be the case; I had to go to an Indian grocer to get the fenugreek seeds, chana masala, pomegranate powder, mango powder, etc. I happen to live somewhat close to an Indian grocer, but if you don't, you may find it difficult to get some of these spices (especially if you don't especially want to make the spice mixes yourself). However, if you do go to an Indian grocer, the spices are pretty cheap. (The chana masala, pomegranate powder, etc, were found in boxes at the store I went to. The proprietor of the store had to help me locate the mango powder because it goes by another name.)Overall, though, I do highly recommend this book. The spice issue is really not a big deal at all if you are close to an Indian grocer.
I am an Italian who married an Indian and my mother-in-law spent most of her life in the kitchen cooking Indian food as she learned growing up. I have learned a lot about Indian spices from her and love making her recipes. I decided to introduce my husband's family to healthier and faster Indian food so I prepared Bal's No-Butter Chicken with brown rice and my brothers-in-law and girlfriends, husband, and father-in-law went on so much about how great it was that I felt embarrassed in front of my mother-in-law. All she said was, "well it definitely doesn't have butter in it." I take this as a success and now this is the number one requested recipe whenever they come to visit! This cookbook has many other favorites and I recommend it to all of my friends and family. Thanks so much Bal for bringing a healthier and faster option for Indian food!
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