What is the Easy Indian Cookbook?
Easy Indian Cookbook is basically what it says on the tin. It’s a spiral bound book of simple to follow recipes each one with a picture. It is a book for those who have never dabbled in Indian cuisine but have wanted to try out and experiment. I have really had to go back to basics with the recipes because the book is also for the American and the Australian market. In addition, it is also being sold in India where, I have been told, they are in desperate need of further culinary knowledge. It also has a free music CD attached to it in order to make
cooking a much more pleasurable experience.
Can anybody really cook Indian?
Yes they can. There is this myth that making Indian food is difficult. My approach is that if you have five basic spices to cook with – cumin, coriander, garam masala, turmeric and chilli
powder, you can prepare most Indian dishes. Many of the recipes are one pot wonders which do not need any fiddly techniques to create them. Less is more in Indian cooking so I advise to start off with adding only small quantities of spices when cooking and then increasing the amounts according to your taste. This also applies to broadening your repertoire of spices. Stick with the five basic spices initially and then experiment with the others such as mustard
seeds, cassia bark and cardamoms.
There’s a music CD that accompanies the book. What’s the aim of the CD?
The CD contains traditional classical Indian music. It’s music for the love of food. I love to cook with the radio on or listen to some chillin’ music. The CD hopes to encourage people to get back in the kitchen and make cooking a much more stress free event.
What are your favourite recipes from the book?
My personal favourites are the Cumin and Coriander Potato Patties, Chicken Jalfrezi, Tarka Dal and the coconut treats or laddoos. I like these recipes because they are quick and fun to make.
Who inspired you to cook?
Like most of us, mothers play a large part in our lives and my mum was a heavy influence on my culinary ambitions. I would watch her cook lots of lovely treats in the kitchen after school. It was also a time when my friends would all pile into our living room where they would wait for pakoras with ketchup and orange squash. They would say to my mum that her ‘teas’ were better than theirs at home. Above all, my mother taught me how to respect food and cuisines from other cultures. I have just come back from Delhi after filming a forty part TV series for a major channel making British cuisine for over 80 million Indians and they loved it, especially the Irish stew with chapatis!
Easy Indian Cookbook by Manju Malhi is published by Duncan Baird Publishers priced £16.99 – for more recipes, pictures and information log onto www.manjumalhi.co.uk