Category Archives: Cooking

Tiffin: 500 Authentic Recipes Celebrating India’s Regional Cuisine by Sonal Ved

TiffinTitle: Tiffin: 500 Authentic Recipes Celebrating India’s Regional Cuisine
Author: Sonal Ved
Publisher: Roli Books
ISBN: 978-8193704967
Genre: Food Writing, Recipes
Pages: 496
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 stars

Okay, I have to say this right at the onset: This is book that should be owned by everyone who loves food – eating, cooking, or talking about it. Tiffin is the kind of book that may not seem unique at first glance. Sure, you have seen this format several times. Dishes from every part of India, and so on and so forth. Tiffin encompasses all states and union territories. Sonal’s research is spot-on and every recipe isn’t just a recipe, but a footnote of sorts to the world she opens up for the reader/chef/cook.

Tiffin 1

I have always wondered how does one review a book about food. Does one cook the recipes and talk about it? Does one just read and imagine the taste? Does one get it cooked through someone else and then talk about it, after tasting it of course? It could be done anyhow I suppose but taste you must and that’s what I did. I also then came to the conclusion that the styling of food in those pictures in books is way better than what you or I could at our homes. That being said, the taste is what matters. Isn’t it?

Tiffin 2

Tiffin ensures flavour in every bite. Sonal has chosen the recipes carefully – after having interacted with local cooks, chefs, and people who cook at home day in and day out. Of course the most obvious thing which I loved about the book is the depth of research done. The book of course speaks of the most obvious dishes – the butter chicken, the dhansak, dum aloo, etc, but what it also does most beautifully is go beyond all of this to truly discover Indian food across regions.

Tiffin 3

The book is divided into 6 sections – North India, Central India, West India, South India, East India, and Northeast India. Furthermore, it is then divided into these for every section: Appetizers, Poultry and Eggs, Meat and Pork, Fish and Seafood, Vegetarian, Rice and Breads, and Desserts. So the arrangement is very easy to follow and refer. Moreover, if you even go by index at the end of the book, that has its own charm – almost feels like jumping from one region to another.

Tiffin 4

Tiffin is also the kind of book that while it may seem that it caters more to an audience out of the country, that is not the case. I personally think that it in fact lends more to the people living in India and what we can learn from it – right from basic recipes (a wonderful section at the beginning of the book) to the intense heavy-duty cooking. Might I also add that Sonal is an accomplished food writer and food editor at Vogue India (something which I got to know only after I read this book). All in all, Tiffin is the kind of book that you must own – even if you don’t cook, especially if you don’t cook, so it can inspire you to step into the kitchen and cook something entirely different – from any part of the country.

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Simply Sumptuous Sindhi Cooking by Anita Raheja

Simply Sumptuous Sindhi Cooking by Anita Raheja Title: Simply Sumptuous Sindhi Cooking
Author: Anita Raheja
Publisher: 17inchcanvas.com
ASIN: B00US74092
Genre: Cooking
Pages: 210
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

I am not much of a cook-book reading person. I always think that what’s there to a cook-book which I cannot get off the Internet and maybe I am also right in thinking that way, most of the time. There are times however you need experience and tips when it comes to cooking any authentic cuisine which the net cannot give you. This is where you need a cookbook and that is also why this review. I am a Sindhi. I love Sindhi food like most Sindhis do. No matter what, I am one-hundred percent sure that a Sindhi would prefer koki and sai-bhaji over any fancy international cuisine. The book I am referring to is, ‘Simply Sumptuous Sindhi Cooking” by Anita Raheja. This is an edition reprint.

Why do I like this book?

The book is divided into relevant sections: Nashto (Breakfast), Rasoi (lunch and dinner), Evening Snacks, Mithai (desserts) and Achars and Sherbets (pickles and cold drinks). It is easy to go through and not a hassle at all. I also think that this is the single-most comprehensive book there is on Sindhi food with tips and tricks and also some background about the dish, what is eaten with what, etc. I think more so because I have grown-up eating these dishes and this cuisine, it just somehow was so close to home that all memories came rushing by.

Teewarn - Mutton in Gravy.

Teewarn – Mutton in Gravy.

For instance, in almost every Sindhi household, Sindhi curry is what Sundays are made of and there is no two-way about what should be cooked on that day. Also the fact that things such as Thadri Jo Khano is so specific and so typical of Sindhis that no one else can cook up what we do. And not to forget the very famous Sindhi mutton.

Dal-Pakwaan

Dal-Pakwaan

For me, “Simply Sumptuous Sindhi Cooking” was a walk down memory lane and reliving everything I hold dear about being who I am. I love the snippets, the proverbs which are typical of any Sindhi household and the recipes which are easy to make and will not take all that time. For all food-lovers out there, you have to own this book and cook-up these traditional Sindhi recipes.

Pictures Courtesy: Vickky Idnaani.