Monday, 9 February 2015

Book review: Made in India

By: Mrs Robot

I mentioned in a post last year that for me part of the reason I've tried to learn to cook Asian food is to connect with the unknown parts of my ancestry. For Christmas Mr Robot bought me a copy of Meera Sodha's book Made in India, because as her family came to Britain via Uganda, he thought I'd enjoy her stories of family movements and the Indian diaspora.


And he was right; I loved reading the stories of Sodha's relatives, and also seeing how the cuisine of Africa and later the raw ingredients available in England had an impact on their family recipes. Also, it puts an end to all Mr Robot's objections when I put something creative in a curry and he complains that it's not traditional. (Well, it should. I think he's always going to object to swede curry.)

Meera Sodha's daily dal, plus a lamb curry recipe by Anjum Anand
Meera Sodha's daily dal, plus a lamb curry recipe by Anjum Anand

Since getting the book I've made plenty of recipes out of it. There's been Mum's Chicken Curry and Kachumbar, Daily Dal, and Pistachio and Yoghurt Chicken Curry plus Cinnamon and Clove Pilau with Cashew Nuts. At the start of the book Sodha has a joky bit 'Eat like an Indian, think like an Indian', which includes the advice "Feed the dog chapattis. Dogs love chapattis." I can confirm that Robocat does not like chapattis, but wouldn't stop scrounging tonight's tea, Wild Pheasant Curry, which I served with Sodha's cumin-roasted cauliflower and some pilau rice.

Fresh ginger and pistachios
Fresh ginger and pistachios

The recipes that I've tried from the book result in dishes that are more aromatic than spicy. I don't know if that's because the recipes I've tried use a lot more nuts than the ones I've done from other Indian cookbooks. The pistachio curry was especially lovely, rich in ground cardamom. We put the leftovers of that into toasted sandwiches! I'm not sure if I cooked the onion long enough for that one - that's a skill I'm still trying to develop.

Pistachio and yoghurt chicken curry with pilau rice
Pistachio and yoghurt chicken curry with pilau rice

I have also very much enjoyed the vegetable side dishes. I'm not sure exactly what makes them so much more appealing than the ones in other Indian cookbooks that we own, but we'll definitely be making the cauliflower again, and the kachumbar will be good to have over the summer. It'll go nicely with Mexican or Spanish dishes as well as Indian ones.

Wild pheasant curry, cumin-roasted cauliflower, pilau rice
Wild pheasant curry, cumin-roasted cauliflower, pilau rice

All in all, there's only one thing I'd change about this book, and that's the cover, which I'd make a wipe-clean one! I suspect my copy is going to end up plastered in tomato all too quickly...

All photos copyright Mr Robot, and the presentation is mine - I have been told it needs work! Trust me, though, this all tasted absolutely delicious.

4 comments:

  1. Phor! Every single thing you mention in this post sounds really delicious! My mouth is watering and my belly is rumbling... This book is now top of my wishlist for when my self-imposed "no buying more cookbooks" ban is over... Have you read Yasmin Alibhai-Brown’s “The Settler’s Cookbook”? I loved that... Jenny from Silver Screen Suppers xx

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    1. I have not! We've had to put in a cookbook buying ban after inheriting loads from my mother-in-law - on the plus side, I've got plenty of Retro Recipe inspiration now.

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  2. Cauliflower + cumin = YUM!
    That looks like a great cookbook. They don't seem to make cookbooks with practical covers any longer. I was looking for a printer to self publish my own recipes but nearly all printers are doing these impractical photo books with no room for actual recipes.

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    1. The thing I like about the book is that it's so personal. She makes no claim for doing a definitive recipe for Indian classics, and cheerfully acknowledges the part her family's history plays in their cooking. It really feels warm and welcoming. (And it's all extremely tasty!)

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