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The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles

WINNER of 2013 GOURMAND COOKBOOK AWARD for "Best Indian Cuisine Cookbook" in the USA!Bengalis have been compared to the French in terms of food-obsessed peoples, as dining and entertaining are such an integral part of the culture. The book begins with a thorough introduction to Bengali culture and cooking, including sections on spices, ingredients, and equipment. Following are recipe chapters (incorporating a balance of traditional and contemporary recipes) on Rice & Breads, Lentils, Fried Vegetables and Fritters, Vegetarian First Courses, Vegetarian Entrees, Eggs, Fish, Chicken & Poultry, Meat Dishes, Chutneys & Relishes, Drinks & Snacks, and Desserts. Includes 180 easy-to-follow recipes, plus sections on spice pastes, spice blends, and essential tools, and sidebars with family anecdotes and historical and cultural information.

Paperback: 287 pages

Publisher: Hippocrene Books; English edition (November 15, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0781813050

ISBN-13: 978-0781813051

Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.9 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)

Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Best Sellers Rank: #995,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #337 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Asian Cooking > Indian #9360 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International

I have fond memories of dal (lentil) soup from a time when my family lived in Bangladesh so I was most anxious to try some of the dal soup recipes. I wasn't disappointed. I made the The Orange Split Lentils with Tomatoes and Cilantro, along with Mashed Smoked Eggplant, and Shrimp in a Spicy Caramelized Onion and Tomato Sauce for a meal and all the dishes worked together beautifully, with varying tastes and textures. Overall I found the dishes to be milder than typical Indian fare, with subtle, complex flavors. My husband, who has never had Bengali food before, loved all the dishes. Later I made Yellow Split Lentils and we both enjoyed the vibrant spices in this soup.I appreciated the extensive prose that preceded every chapter and the descriptive paragraph accompanying every recipe. Bengali cuisine will not be familiar to many home cooks and the author's descriptions of life in India, anecdotes and comments about how she has adapted dishes to U.S. ingredients and current cooking trends are a nice bridge between cultures. She also delivers a concise history of the region and her background in the Introduction and Preface.There are 25 color photographs clustered together in the middle of the book and it would have been nice to have more, but it was probably cost-prohibitive. Especially when cooking dishes that are likely to be unfamiliar it's nice to have a photograph as a guide to what the end product should look like.The Bengali Five Spices, Panch Phoron, that are profiled in the beginning actually do not appear together in many of the recipes.

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