Wednesday, November 4, 2009
favorite cookbook: madhur jaffrey's ultimate curry bible
a few years ago in mumbai on a very quick shopping trip that brought new meaning to the term power shop with the most fantastic bargainer i've ever had the privilege to witness, i acquired an authentic indian spice tin. at the moment, it contains coriander seeds, golden mustard seeds, black mustard seeds, dried ginger, mixed peppercorns and cumin seeds. the fragrance when i lift the lid to transfer small spoonfuls (spoonsful?) of spices to my mortar & pestle transports me to exotic lands - not only india, but mexico, thailand, singapore and london. yes, london, because london is the ultimate place to eat a curry isn't it?
and when it's time to make a curry, i call both on notes that i made years ago in arizona during the only real cooking lessons i've ever had (with a wonderful indian friend) and on madhur jaffrey's ultimate curry bible. curries are warming and comforting and transcendent. yes, transcendent - with the heavenly, exotic smell of a curry filling my kitchen, i feel lifted above the mundane everyday.
if you've got staples in your cupboard - rice, chick peas or lentils, coconut milk, onions, and the spices in my spice tin, plus turmeric and a head of cauliflower and a tomato or two in your crisper, you can have a curry in the same time it takes you to make a boring old everyday meatloaf. and you don't even need meat, tho' of course you can use it if you want to. but i find myself turning to curries when i want to eat less meat, they seem to me to make vegetarian food more exciting.
madhur jaffrey, who was a brit TV cook before it became trendy to be one, presents curries from the entire spectrum - traditional curry places like india, singapore, malaysia, indonesia, thailand, but also south africa, kenya, great britain, trinidad, guyana, japan and the US and lots of places in between. there are some that will take your head off and ones that will soothe your soul. but they will all wake up your palate and and a put a bit more excitement in your everyday. if you love curries, or even just reading about curries and their evolution and history, this is the one cookbook you need.