50 Great Curries of India: Cook Book Review and A Recipe

Madras Style Lamb Curry: Recipe adapted from 50 Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi

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Camellia Panjabi, cook book author of 50 Great Curries of India needs little introduction and is most certainly without a doubt one of my favourite Indian cookbooks.Fondly also know as the “Queen of Indian Cuisine”,her book is a delightful revelation of some traditional and authentic Indian recipes from various regions of India.

Now I had acquired her book probably a couple of decades ago,being a newly wed and on the look out for good Indian curry recipes,all to please the dear husband then. Winning his heart through his stomach was a huge priority then as much it is now,as we both are passionate about our food and specifically a good curry.Having lived internationally for many years,looking for specific  ingredients and getting the base for the curry right may have required a bit of scouting for ingredients.All though using substitutes have always worked well for most recipes.We have recently relocated to Mumbai and have no dearth of spices,fresh meats and vegetables and it’s something I look forward buying.

I refer to this book often and would perhaps christen it my “Curry Bible”, if I had to.The book starts of with the philosophy of

Indian Cuisine and goes onto the essentials of  a Curry,  touching upon the basis of a good curry along with various key ingredients that make it up.As the book unfolds,the author delves into the use of various spices,which of course quintessential  are  the essence of Indian Cuisine.Many curries contain herbs, either ground and used in the curry or sometimes used as a garnish too.Traditionally all curries have four key components mainly,Onions,Ginger,Garlic and Tomatoes.Further more Fresh Coriander,Green chilies,Fenugreek leaves,dried Red Chilies and Fresh Mint are added according to what each recipe calls for, to enhance the flavour.Each chapter has been written out well with a thorough explanation of every ingredient. A treasure trove of information as you browse through each page.

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The book as it suggests is a wonderful repertoire of Curries from India. It further  gets divided into recipes from each region in India,with easy classifications under Lamb,Chicken and Fish ,moving on to Vegetarian cuisine,Lentils,Rice, Chutney’s and Desserts too.All recipes have a thorough introduction and accurate measurements.A culinary journey into the  Indian kitchen with a wonderful explanation of the principles that form the basis of Indian Cuisine.All the recipes call for cooking from scratch with fresh spices and condiments,no quick fixes.

Let’s say the author’s expertise guides you  really well through the basics,as each recipe is well-tested and written simply and accompanied with tantalising photographs.This book is indeed a great collection of some of the best recipes and a celebration of the diverse cuisine in India.

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I  have certainly acquired many a cookbooks over the years,however the 50 Great Indian Curries has  a coveted spot on my book shelf.I’ve cooked for family and entertained friends using these recipes which turn out as good as restaurant quality food  albeit cooked at home.I could quite easily owe my Culinary prowess,all thanks to many of the recipes I’ve used from this book.You may order your copy from Amazon if you wish to start your quest for some Curry making in your own kitchen.

Do you have a favourite cookbook that you absolutely love cooking from? Do share a recipe or two.Would love to hear from you.

Recipe For Madras Style Lamb Curry:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 120 grams Fresh grated coconut or 1 can thick coconut Milk
  • 8 whole red chilies,dried
  • 3 teaspoons paprika
  •  1 x 1/2 inch piece ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 4 pepper cons
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 3 tablespoons Oil
  • 2 large Onions
  • 1 kg stewing lamb
  • 3 Tomatoes chopped
  • Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut half the fresh coconut into small pieces and keep aside to grind with the spices.
  2. Cut the other half into small pieces and put into a blender with 2 cups of warm water .Blend till smooth and strain and reserve this coconut milk.( Alternatively you could use coconut milk)
  3. Grind the chopped coconut with chilies,ginger,garlic,and all other spices to make a smooth paste with some water.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan and add the chopped onions and fry till brown.
  5. Add the spice paste and fry for about 15 minutes over slow heat and add about 3 tablespoons water to this mix
  6. Add the meat and salute for 5 minutes.
  7. Add tomatoes and salute further for 5-8 minutes.
  8. Add salt and about 4 cups of water and cover and cook for about an hour or till the meat is tender.
  9. Lastly add the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes.
  10. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander and thinly Julienned ginger.

DISCLAIMER: This blog post has been written as an ode to my favourite cookbook author.The Curry images at the top and bottom of this post  have been photographed personally from my I Phone Camera.Some of the images have been used from the original cookbook 50 Great Indian Curries portraying excerpts from the book ,and as by no means being used  for any other purpose other than for this blog.

31 thoughts on “50 Great Curries of India: Cook Book Review and A Recipe

  1. It sounds like a terrific book. I’m surprised that I have all the ingredients to make your curry dish except the poppy seeds which are not a problem to get.

    • Yes Karen it is really is a prized possesion of some great recipes..I do hope you will make this curry…good to know that you have most of ingredients …the poppy seeds will give a great texture..but no worries if you can’t get hold of them…Thanks for stopping by:))

  2. This dish looks wonderful. I’ve also discovered that I frequently use a few of my cookbooks – and that recipes in them generally turn out wonderfully; whereas other cookbooks tend to languish on my bookshelves.

  3. This cookbook looks amazing, I’m going to have to see if I can find a copy!

    Also check out my blog too – kalpanaskhana.wordpress.com x

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