It’s the last Saturday of the month and time for the book review! This is one segment I am trying to ensure that I continue with it, so that I get a chance to touch all my cookbooks. 😉 I hope you are all enjoying the book reviews, since I do get a lot of questions about the cookbooks I own and my opinions about them. I guess this answers a lot of those queries. 🙂
This month, I thought I will come back to a book that is one of the early cookbooks I bought. “50 Great Curries of India” by Camelia Punjabi doesn’t need much introduction. Like the name suggests, the book includes fifty recipes from various parts of India. The book is published by Motivate Publishing, which is based in UAE. I bought this book during the Sharjah Book Fair way back in 2012. It is a beautiful book with all color pictures and printed on glossy paper. The book starts with in-depth details about history of curry, spices, herbs and a basic curry recipe, all of these details are around 65 pages! Then the recipes for the curries start. Each recipe has a short description regarding the recipe and its origin, the ingredients and method is mentioned with a lot of detail. Almost all the curries come with a beautiful click, to show how your final result would look like. The book has a good mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian curries. Once the curry recipes are done, the book ends with recipes of some accompaniments like rice and phulkas, some chutney recipes and some dessert recipes. What more, there is even a section recommending what food would match with each curry. All in all, it is a good book to have in your collection, if you love to make a variety of curries and experimenting.
I would only suggest to make sure to read each recipe completely before trying, as is with every other cookbook. I found the quantity of water written for each recipe more than what I would regularly use – I had mentioned about it while I posted the Egg Omelette Curry, which was from the same book. Also, in some recipes there is a mismatch between the ingredients and the method. The issue I have is a 2010 edition, which happens to be the tenth anniversary edition “revised and updated with 10 new recipes and new photography”, so I am not sure if the coming issues have been updated of this shortcoming. Also, taking into account the book is targeting non-Indians, it uses paprika and cayenne instead of red chilli powder, maybe to adjust the spiciness of the dish. Apart from these small glitches, I found the book to be really exciting as far as recipes are concerned.
Even though I am not a fan of cauliflower, once in a while I make them since B loves it. The reason why I chose to make this curry is that it sounded so close to our “varutharacha” (roasted coconut paste) type curry. Gashi is a Konkan-Mangalorean style dish with a coconut paste as base. The best part about this gravy, I feel is that you can use the same base and change the main ingredient being added to it. The fresh coconut milk and the roasted coconut and spice paste gives a lovely dimension to the gravy. I had prepared it for dinner and served it with chapathis, but I feel that it would go really well with some steamed rice. Once the roasting and extraction of coconut milk is done, you don’t need to pay much attention to the gravy. I better not talk about the aroma that emaciates out of the kitchen as this gravy gets cooked – seriously amazing! The actual recipe uses a couple of potatoes which I skipped. I feared the girls would scoop out only the potatoes and eat them! 😉 You may add the potatoes after sauteing the masalas and cook it half in some water before adding the cauliflower. All in all, the curry is a winner. I am surely going to try this with chicken next, InShaAllah… off to the recipe…
- 1½ cup fresh coconut
- 4 tbsp oil
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 4 dried red chilies
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- ⅛ tsp mustard seeds
- ⅛ tsp fenugreek seeds
- ¼ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 5-6 peppercorns
- 2 cloves
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp red chili powder
- 1 small pc tamarind
- 1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 large cauliflower, florets separated
- Curry leaves for garnish
- Soak one cup of coconut in a cup of warm water and set aside for 15 minutes. Blend well and extract the coconut milk. Set aside.
- Heat a tsp of oil in a saucepan and put in the remaining coconut. Fry till it turns brownish - ensure not to burn. Set aside.
- In the same sauce, heat another tsp of oil and saute half the onion just till wilted. Set aside with the fried coconut.
- Heat another tsp of oil and briefly fry ingredients from red chillies to cloves. Remove from the flame.
- Put the coconut, onion and the spices and grind to a smooth paste by adding a little water.
- Add the turmeric, paprika and tamarind and give a good blend. Set aside.
- Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan and fry the ginger and garlic till a nice aroma comes.
- Add the remaining onion and saute till witled.Add the spice paste and saute for a couple of minutes.
- Add in the cauliflower and the coconut milk, along with more water as required for gravy and cook till well done.
- Serve warm garnished with curry leaves.