50 Great Curries of India
By Camellia Panjabi
I was browsing the shelves of Books for Cooks in London recently and overheard a customer ask the staff, "What's your recommendation for a basic book on Indian cuisine?" The two sales assistants answered in unison, " 50 Great Curries of India." I immediately added the volume to the growing pile of books I was purchasing myself.
The recipes in this compact volume don't even start in earnest until page 68; before that, Camellia Panjabi gives the reader a briefing on what makes the cuisine of India so unique. She writes about the philosophy behind it (including the Ayurvedic influence), explains what exactly a curry is and how it's made, and gives explanations about thickening agents, souring agents and, impor-tantly, the huge variety of spices that go into the food. In addition to the curry recipes - each of which is attributed to a certain region - the book also contains chapters on Indian bread, side vegetables, lentils, chutneys, relishes and desserts. There are recipes for prawns with spring onion and fenugreek leaves, from Hyderabad; Goan fish curry; watermelon curry, from Rajasthan; aubergine curry (Kerala); creamy potato curry (Lucknow); chapatis; cauliflower with shredded ginger; stuffed baby aubergines; and kulfi.