“Foolproof” might be a bit of a stretch – there’s still lots you can mess up on here. But Madhur seems kind and pretty, and she walks the Indian cooking novice through these recipes with clear instructions and helpful step-by-step photos.
Bottom Line – A solid recommend for your bookshelf
Culinary Voice: Kind and patient. Madhur seems to sense my confusion, and simplifies matters with her functional prefaces and succinct notes. She also makes practical serving suggestions and offers several complete menu ideas.
Aesthetic Appeal: Reasonable. This book is pretty matter-of-fact in its layout and design — there are no strokes of artistic genius here. The pictures and text get the point across – and that’s about it.
Ease of Use: Excellent. Madhur points out in the Introduction that she taught herself to cook Indian food using letters from her mother – a romantic notion in the age of epicurious.com . But it is perhaps because of these culinary correspondence lessons that she guides the reader so well – her explanations are clear despite the terrain of unfamiliar spices.
The Bhuna Fish Steaks made for a simple weeknight meal, and the Indian Style Scrambled Eggs were a delicious cinch. Hard-boiled Eggs in Moghlai Sauce were a little more involved but completely worth the effort. As described in Winndian Cooking, the Beef Madras went OK, thanks. I always have a little trouble with eating Dal – tastes a bit dusty to me usually – but her version was easy to follow and produced a reasonable dish at the end. Stir-Fried Cauliflower with Green Chiles has become a staple – once you get used to using roasted rice grains as a seasoning you’ll wonder why you never thought of it before. Mushroom and Pea Curry was a solid OK.