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Book by Iyer Raghavan

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x99229d80) étoiles sur 5 209 commentaires
164 internautes sur 169 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x992120d8) étoiles sur 5 Curry and spice and 660 things nice! 22 mai 2008
Par Heather Fenyk - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I've had lots of fun with Raghavan Iyer's near-encyclopedic tome of Indian curries since receiving it as a gift two months ago. The recipes are relatively easy, and most of the ingredients are stocked in our local Whole Foods and Stop-and-Shop. Approximately 2/3 of the recipes are suitable for vegetarians. My biggest quibble is the lack of preparation and cooking time estimates -- something I've come to expect in recent cookbook publications. The final chapter "Curry Cohorts" (flatbread, pancake and rice accompaniments) is also rather thin. But these drawbacks are relatively insignificant in the face of so many wonderful recipes.

While I'm not new to Indian cooking (I've worked through cookbooks like Padmanabhan's exquisite Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from Southern India), this book has certainly added to my repertoire. I'm especially pleased with the scope of the recipes. Not only are the cuisines of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka represented, but also included are recipes for several of the more "common" everyday dishes you might find at roadside food stands (e.g. a simple and delicious recipe for spiced mustard and fenugreek greens).

NOTE: The first chapter, "The Curry Quest," is perhaps the most important and should not be skipped -- especially by someone new to Indian cooking. In it Iyer describes what he calls the different "elements" of a curry (bitter, sour, salty, sweet, umami, pungent, astringent and aromatic). He then uses his background as a chemist to describe the processes of "building" the recipes using those elements. Perhaps it is Iyer's ability to simplify the "how" of the chemistry of Indian cooking that make the recipes work so well at home!
93 internautes sur 95 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9920ce58) étoiles sur 5 My new favorite cookbook 12 septembre 2008
Par Hitchner Gitalong - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I love Indian food, and when I began to crave nothing else earlier this year, I decided it was time to learn how to cook it myself. After all, eating out several times a week is expensive, and the nearest decent Indian restaurant is an hour's drive from where I live. My copy of Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian came to the rescue and served me well, but soon I wanted - needed! - more recipes.

Then along comes this huge book of curries. Not only do the recipes sound mouthwatering, but the whole thing is written in a friendly, often downright impish manner, AND it includes a list of resources to help me find all the ingredients. Sold!

That was about four months ago. Since then, I have cooked exclusively from this book with excellent results. Rice with Yogurt and Mustard Seeds has become a staple, along with Chowli Nu Dal, Garlicky Gourd and several others. A friend who knows from Indian food gave high marks to the Adrak Lasson Waale Chana Masala I made for her. I have found an Indian grocery store and learned my way around it.

Some of the ingredient lists may be long and contain unfamiliar items, but don't let that scare you. The techniques are explained carefully and easy to learn. Sometimes I scale back a little on the amounts of oil and salt called for - that's just my personal preference. There is really no great trick to much of this stuff - heck, they cook it every day in India, right? Do follow Iyer's advice to have all the ingredients prepped before you start cooking, as some of the steps take only seconds to complete, and you won't have time for grinding and chopping while you cook. When you've got everything ready beforehand, the cooking is a happy experience.

Because I don't cook meat, I can't vouch for any of the meat dishes, but I don't doubt that they are just as good as the vegetable/paneer/legume recipes I've tried. Which leads me to the economic bonus that comes with this book: dried legumes (and just about everything else at the Indian store I shop at) are inexpensive. If you can find spices in bulk, that saves a lot of cash, too, as long as you're not using saffron. Since I got this book, I have been eating better than I ever have - and for less money. The vegetarians are nodding their heads in agreement; you omnivores who are looking to expand your gastronomic horizons without breaking the bank may want to take note.

Every week I choose another recipe or two to try, and each time I get excited about it. When you can have this kind of food whenever you want, it's like Christmas every day. Seriously, if you love Indian food you need this book.

One last word: You MUST make the Pineapple Chutney and have it warm, over vanilla ice cream. It is heaven.
82 internautes sur 84 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9920c99c) étoiles sur 5 Simply Fantastic! 5 juillet 2008
Par J. Nammar - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
I just got this book about a week ago. I've already tried several recipes and spice blends. I couldn't wait to write a review and tell everyone who loves Indian food that this is a "must-have" Indian cookbook. If you're only going to get one Indian cookbook, get this one! The recipes are pretty easy and just plain wonderful.
I lower the heat in most of the recipes by reducing the amount of chili peppers.
I just made the Spicy Potatoes and Spinach with Blackened Chilis and Coconut Milk. Superb! My husband loved it! I served it along side crispy fried chicken(it's the 4th of July weekend so I needed something with lots of deep fried goodness.) Indian food goes very well with fried chicken or roasted chicken. Try it, you'll be hooked.
This potato recipe called for a special spice blend called Panch Phoron. The dish(including the spice blend) was extremely easy to make.
I get all my spices and dried chilies from Penzey Spices. I buy the tiny fresh Thai peppers from a local Asian market. They are sold in a small bag by the produce section(tiny red and green ones in the same bag.) When I don't have any fresh chili peppers on hand, I just use some cayenne pepper.
What I love so much about this book is that no two curries taste the same. It's all about the use of spices and herbs. Once you get the hang of grinding and blending the whole spices, the curries come together in a flash. You will be so happy with the results! Penzey's makes it easy to make these flavorful spice blends. They even have hard-to-find spices like Nigella seeds and white poppy seeds.
I must say that have blended and grinded my own spices for years, using recipes from other Indian cookbooks. But, Raghavan is "spot-on" with all his spice blends. He instructs you to use these specific blends for each curry. The results are complex and delicious.
As a person who has spent about 5 years(in her own kitchen) learning how to cook Indian food, I consider this cookbook to be the best one so far. I have lots of Indian cookbooks ranging from classics like Madhur Jaffery's "Indian Cooking" to the gigantic "The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking." Already, I can tell that 660 Curries is the one book I will be reaching for again and again. I'm so excited to try many more recipes.
Thank you, Raghavan, for your hard efforts in searching for and testing each one of your wonderful recipes. You've created a truly amazing cookbook!
Oh..vegetarians will love this book too(tons of flavorful veggie and bean curries.) Raghaven also does wonderful things with the humble potato, which he is very fond of. He will have you re-thinking boring mashed potatoes.
I can go on and on about this cookbook! I feel certain that if you buy it, you'll love it!
29 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9920c408) étoiles sur 5 My favorite go-to cookbook 12 octobre 2010
Par Statgamer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I grew up in India and cooked Indian food for years. Recently started up again and Raghavan Iyer's book is phenomenal. My husband--who had never cooked Indian food before--and I have made at least 35 dishes from this book, and only found two of them to be not to our liking (and I suspect I messed up on one of the recipes, not his fault). Everything else has been exquisite.

Why I would suggest you buy this book rather than all the others out there:
1. He starts with fresh ingredients, including spices that are freshly ground and the difference in taste as a result of the extra 5 minutes to grind them is well worth it when you taste the food.
2. He covers a variety of cuisines. Unlike a lot of other books that tend to focus on one region of India vs the other, Ragahavan covers a wide swath of India and gives you everything from Cochin to Kashmir, from Bengal to Bombay. Wonderful way to sample a diverse range of cuisines.
3. The recipes are quite different from each other. I can't tell you how many cookbooks--and how many dishes I have made--all start with frying onions, garlic and ginger, adding tomato, blah blah blah. That's a fairly standard base for many Indian dishes and I could do it with my eyes closed. His recipes are different.
4. The taste! oh the taste! Authentic Indian food, freshly made, and richly flavored. #1 reason to get this book and start practicing.
5. The range of curries is amazing. 660 indeed, and there's a lot of choice in what you make. Perhaps too much for the uninitiated, but if you are familiar with Indian food or looking to expand your horizons a bit, well, worth it.
6. His sidebar comments are short but to the point and often contain tips that are quite helpful. No long-drawn story telling, but enough to intrigue and educate.

Reasons you might not get as much out of this book as I do:
1. If you prefer convenience cooking, and enjoy using canned goods, this book is not for you. I do use canned beans and he recommends them with no reservations, he sometimes recommends frozen veg, but that's it. Everything else is "from scratch" and fresh.
2. It takes time to cook the food. But then again, welcome to cooking Indian food. Our "fast food" takes a while to prepare so real food is..time consuming. For an experienced chef, this could mean 1.5 hours to cook dahl or meat curry, veggies, rice and/or bread which would be standard fare at home for a meal.
3. If you're looking for one-pot meals, slow cooker meals, etc. this is not the book for them. Pressure cookers are recommended for beans and such, but the rest of it is stove-top, some oven or grill, and it's not unusual to cook things for a while on the stove.
4. If you've never cooked or eaten much Indian food before, I recommend starting with his Betty Crocker guide to Indian cooking (I know, that messes with my mind as well, but those recipes are simpler yet authentic.)
5. This is not a 5-ingredient cookbook. The list of ingredients is befitting the dish, but due to the complex combinations of spices that he walks you through, the list can get long. It's WELL WORTH IT though, so do not scrimp.
6. It doesn't cover deserts really at all. Not authentic ones anyway (Mango cheesecake may be yummy but it's not traditional Indian food). Also not covered are a variety of chutneys and raitas or other raw salads which are typically easy and healthy. I am ready for his next book to cover those (I hope he reads these reviews and sees this! :))

I have 10 more Indian cookbooks but ever since this arrived, I haven't used any of them. I love this book so much I'm seriously considering buying 2 more just in case I lose mine and it goes out of print or something catastrophic :)

In short, great recipes, authentic flavors, great variety, requires a bit of time, shows you how to do things well but not for novice chefs. Enjoy!
14 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9920c63c) étoiles sur 5 An excellent investment in delicious home cooking 6 juillet 2009
Par J. Ramirez - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I bought Iyer's 660 Curries about 6 months ago, and have been enjoying it ever since. I own quite a few other good Indian cookbooks, including the classics such as Julie Sahni's, but this book enjoys a special spot on my shelf. If you are new to Indian cooking and searching for just one book, this is one I'd definitely recommend. Why? For one thing, there's something for everyone in this tome. My boyfriend has an obsession with chicken and must have it with almost every meal, and even though this book seems to have more vegetarian than meat-based recipes, both of us have been very pleased with the number and variety of recipes in the poultry, game and egg curries chapter. Although I'm an omnivore I prefer vegetarian dishes more often than not, and there are a plethora of delicious vegetarian recipes too. I find myself reaching for the book time and time again, and usually prepare a recipe from it once a week.

Anther reason to buy the book is that the directions are very concise and easy to follow. Iyer's style is warm and conversational, making the entries interesting while not too verbose. If you follow the directions you'll produce consistent results, which is something I value in cooking. Although there aren't pictures of most of the dishes, the descriptions of what the ingredients are supposed to smell and look like at various stages of preparation are invaluable. This is what many cookbooks lack, as a picture of the final result will not often tell you how to get there.

I consider myself to be a self-taught Indian cook. I have been cooking since I was small and come from an American and Mexican culinary background. I prefer my food extremely spicy and moderately salty, with strong, complex flavors. I would classify many of Iyer's recipes as very mild to moderate heat levels with the perfect amount of salt for my taste, but many American palates will find some recipes too spicy or salty. My advice is to prepare the first few recipes with half of the chile and salt he recommends, and taste before serving. That way you can add more spice or salt as you desire. Another reviewer mentioned they thought he uses too much oil. I disagree, and find he actually uses less oil (and healthier canola oil) than most traditional dishes Indian, Mexican, American, or otherwise. Two tablespoons for an entire chicken curry is not a lot of oil, and this is typical for all the recipes I've tried from the book. One feature of the book I find amusing is that he seems to constantly apologize for his liberal use of fresh cilantro in many of the recipes. I would guess his experience teaching Indian cooking to Americans is behind this, and that apparently many of his students disliked cilantro. I can't imagine this, as it seems to me as strange as disliking rice, beans, or watermelon. However, I digress. This is a wonderful book with a huge variety of delicious recipes that one can consistently prepare by following simple directions, and I recommend it as a great value for your dollar.
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