Anyone who has been following my cooking space will know how much I adore Raghavan Iyer's cookbooks. Sadly, I have not had an opportunity to enjoy his creations first hand, but thanks to his hard work and books, I can at least try to recreate his ideas in my own kitchen and he has never failed me. 660 Curries is one of those desert island books that I could not part with. If I do end up on a desert island, I can only hope the makings of a good Indian meal are present … otherwise, I can dream.
This recipe is adapted from his latest release, Indian Cooking Unfolded, and a gem it is. Especially suited to those who are new to Indian cooking, or just starting to learn the fundamentals of cooking, this is a must-have for your shelves. Now, I am a vegetarian, and this book is not strictly so, but there are plenty of vegetarian friendly recipes to try and many others that can be adapted. The book is about using staples from your fridge and pantry, including leftovers. That's welcome for a cook such as myself as at any given time I have vegetables that I don't want to go to waste, various spice blends and sauces calling out for attention, and more often than not I don't want to be bothered running out to the store when I really need a fairly quick and satisfying meal solution.
Another unique aspect of the book is the unfolded sections that start off each chapter, and each recipe uses only 10 ingredients or less. In addition, lots of helpful hints are included throughout. Essentially, you get not only wonderful recipes but it's a master cooking class too. After teaching himself to cook after leaving his native land, he started teaching others. If you are experienced with Indian cooking, you'll find some tempting inspiration, and if Indian cooking is new to you, then this is one fine introduction.
This simple and easy-to-make dish of tart and spicy chickpeas makes for an impressive entrée, especially served with a rich and creamy tamarind dressing over mixed salad greens. Mr. Iyer has always impressed me with his modern approach to Indian cooking, while maintaining traditional cooking methods and pairings with flair.
My one complaint about the new release? It's too short for my liking. 100 recipes just can't curb my hunger for more. Oh, make that two complaints — Mr. Iyer is not nearby to cook alongside me in the kitchen. He has such a gentle and enthusiastic approach to cooking nourishing and spicy meals that is refreshing and never fails to inspire.
Note: I received a complimentary copy for possible review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
|Chana Chaat (Tangy and Tart Chickpea Salad)|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Adapted from Indian Cooking Unfolded: A Master Class in Indian Cooking, with 100 Easy Recipes Using 10 Ingredients or Less
Published on October 1, 2013
Tart, tangy and spicy chickpeas served with mixed greens and a rich and creamy tamarind dressing
More spicy chickpea dishes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Chickpeas with Paneer Cheese
Chickpeas, Kidney Beans and Lentils with a Spicy Tomato Sauce
On the top of the reading stack: various cookbooks
Audio Accompaniment: Paul Kalkbrenner