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Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook



Centering on the food that sisters, Sereena, Alexa and Priya craved from their childhood, the cookbook features many traditional and authentic Indian dishes.
The Kaul family left Kashmir in the 1970s and grew up in Derbyshire with their mother’s cooking being the heart of the home. When they grew up and and had families of their own, they longed to make these same recipes and this book is the result of gleaning their mother’s and grandmother’s culinary creations.

This is the sort of book I can appreciate and respect. Knowing that its recipes have come from the kitchens of real Indian families, I can be sure what I make and eat is authentic and has every bit of love and care put into its creation.
All too often recipes become altered by overly experimental, and dare I say it, competitive chefs, so that the results are unrecognisable from the original, but this is the real thing as eaten in many Indian homes.
Obviously it has the appeal for curry enthusiasts, such as myself, but it could and should have a rightful place on the bookshelf of young Indian families wanting to recreate the taste of home.

The detailed introduction gives a comprehensive guide to all the spices used throughout the book, in fact the sisters have created a spice box (masala dabba) which can be bought online from their store (www.flavoursandspices.co.uk) which has everything you need and keeps the spices fresh.
There is also a section giving advice on planning, preparation, storage and even how to make your own paneer cheese, which is so easy, you’ll never need to buy it again.

Divided into chapters covering Snacks and Starters, Chicken, Lamb, Fish and Prawns, Vegetable Dishes, Rice, Beans and Lentils, Bread and Chutneys and Desserts and Drinks, meal planning is a breeze, only the sheer choice of delicious looking dishes, makes it difficult to decide what to make. Every recipe has an accompanying photograph, which is inspiration in itself.

Dhansak, Jalfrezi, Rogan Josh, all the familiar names are there, plus there are some irresistible looking fish dishes too. I may even be tempted to try okra again – it’s not always been that popular with me, as I don’t normally like slimy textures – but the Crispy Okra Chips (p. 28) have more appeal. Other tasty bites are Tikki (p.29) and Pakora (p.22) which are straightforward to make.

Murgh Tikka (Chicken Tikka)

I decided to make Chicken Tikka (p.44), this is something I’m very familiar with in terms of the ready-made variety, but I wanted to see for myself what they really should be like. I loved the result. After the long marination process in the yogurt and spice mix, the chicken became meltingly soft and rich in flavour. Mine looked greener in colour than the book’s picture (probably something to do with the juicy fresh coriander) but the taste was just heaven, so much better than the shop bought pretenders.

Tamatar Kuchumber (Tomato Salad)

I also put together the Tomato Salad (p.37) which was really refreshing with lime juice, mint and coriander complementing the tingle of chilli.

At first glance some of the ingredients lists can look a little daunting, but the methods are easy to follow and the recipes can be made with the minimum of fuss, providing you have everything to hand before you start.

The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook has made me want to eat curry everyday and I could happily eat my way through the book from start
to finish.

The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook by Sereena, Alexa & Priya Kaul is published by Simon & Schuster.
Paperback RRP £16.99

Food photos: ©childsdesign 2010

Book kindly supplied by Simon & Schuster

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