Cooking the Indian Way

Although Indian Food is loved by practically everyone, it can be intimidating to try to actually make it in your own kitchen. Well, here is the secret that every Indian mom, mother-in-law, and chef have been keeping from you – Indian food is really easy to make. With all the shortcuts out there and premade spice mixes, anyone, and I mean ANYONE can become an expert!

Take little old me, for example. I did not know how to boil rice or pasta before I got married. I had never even cooked an egg before in my life, boiled or otherwise. Now I can proudly say that I am able to make Indian food for a dinner party of 50 with minimal stress. Most of my recipes are from my mother but I have refined them a little so they do not take as much time as her dishes and taste almost exactly the same. However, a number of favorite recipes have come from Indian cookbooks that I have come across at the library! This fact surprises many who know that my family is from India and I have eaten Indian food all my life--growing up, even our pizza had Indian spices mixed in.

The Bollywood Cookbook: The Glamorous World of the Actors and 75 of Their Favorite Recipes by Bulbul Mankani
One of the best cookbooks ties together two of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE things – Indian food and Indian movies. The book is called The Bollywood Cookbook: The Glamorous World of the Actors and 75 of Their Favorite Recipes by Bulbul Mankani. The images of Bollywood royalty in the book are mesmerizing and the pictures of their favorite dishes are just mouth-watering. There is a brief description of each actor or actress, some of the movies that they have worked in, and recipes. The recipes are easy to follow and have traditional ingredients that bring different regions of India right into your home. Vegetarian dishes such as Qabooli (a yummy lentil and rice dish) are a little complicated but so worth the extra work while the numerous other recipes are quick and fairly easy to make. The book contains numerous recipes that come from famous restaurant chefs and the stars' personal chefs as well.

Made in India: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen by Meera Sodha
Made in India: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen by Meera Sodha is a treasure trove for beginner cooks. It is beautifully organized for the busy chef. Not only are the chapters by types of foods such as Snacks, Meat, Fish, Bread, etc. but they are also categorized as Vegan, First-timers, Gluten-Free and more. The pictures are enticing and the recipes are very easy to follow. The author gives little stories about her home life and memories associated with some of the dishes. Her story is especially interesting given the fact that, although her father is Indian, Meera has never lived in India! Her recipes are very traditional from Gujarat, India but she was born and raised in England. Her personal family photos, sprinkled throughout the book, add a homey touch that brings you insight into her life growing up in the midst of multiple cultures.

Finally, we have the queen of Indian cooking, Madhur Jaffrey. She is an author, actress, television personality, business woman, and world renowned chef. She has received multiple awards for her acting and promoting Indian food and culture throughout the world. I like to think of her as the Martha Stewart equivalent for Indian Cuisine. She has cookbooks by the dozen that range from simple and delicious to extravagant and decadent. One of her many cookbooks that has become one of my favorites is called Vegetarian India: A Journey Through the Best of Indian Home Cooking. Once again, the pictures are simply scrumptious and enticing! Simple vegetarian dishes that take only minutes to prepare have never been so easy and simple to make. Many of the recipes are versatile and can be included in your menu as a main dish or a side dish. Madhur Jaffrey adds her comments detailing complementary foods which go well with each recipe. Luscious drink and dessert recipes are also included in this book. From crepes stuffed with apples, coconuts and walnuts to a delectable pomegranate and mint drink, putting together an entire meal becomes as easy as pie!

-Kaneeze H.


  1. Great post, Kaneeze. I will check out these books! Thank you.

  2. Awesome post! Talk about handing it to us on a silver platter! Will definitely have to check these books out.

  3. This is an excellent and inspiring post. I hope more people check out these books and learn to cook Indian food the easy way.


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