Most of my cookbooks are instant purchases. I just flip through and purchase. At least buying that way has given me decent cookbooks compared to some of my online purchases that have literally made me cry once the books have landed in my hand. 😀 I guess I better not talk about them and move on with the book chosen for this month’s book review… 🙂
“Chilli Notes” by Thomassina Miers happens to be the author’s fifth cookbook. And she is no mean one – she is a Masterchef winner. I really didn’t know that when I picked up the book. 🙂 I picked it up from the Borders store at Mirdif City Center, along with the “Low Fat Baking Book” that I reviewed the first in the series. I don’t know what exactly pulled me to buy it but there were surely these factors:
- Hardcover – I love books that are hard bound. They stay well for a long time. And see how pretty the colors look!
- Well priced
- Well arranged book – a flip through will give you a nice idea of the recipe and will want to make you buy the book, even if you don’t read through it!
I guess that’s what you need to a good cook book – the pulling power, and this one had that with me. 🙂
The book is published by Hachette UK and has around 225 pages. Just as the name suggests, the book concentrates on how to use chillies “to warm your heart, not burn your tongue“. Chilli is something that we use so much in our cooking, though it is mostly limited to two types of green chillies, the milder thick one and the thin strong one, dried red chillies – the round one and the long Kashmiri ones and then the “Thalassery Gold” called black pepper. I started off never liking chillies, but have now slowly fallen in love with the flavors that it can impart to your final dish. Maybe, it was that feeling inside that made me buy the book.
The book introduced various types of chillies, how the author’s love relationship with chillies started plus some very interesting facts and figures about chillies. Then it goes on to introduce around 100 recipes from starters to soups to comfort eating to even puddings. Some recipes that attracted my attention were the Pitas stuffed with potato, peas and ginger curry, Grilled Malaysian-style Chicken, Lamb meatballs with tomato and tamarind sauce and Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Toast, which is really simple but a very intriguing recipe. Photography by Tara Fisher is very contemporary and classic. Initially, I thought of it as a hasty purchase, but as I kept exploring the book, I ended up loving the book more and more and am hoping to try a few more recipes, of course by replacing chillies that I have readily available with me in my pantry! 😀
I chose to make this delicious salad from the book for so many reasons. First of all, this chickpea salad that we make at home all the time is my absolute favorite, so I was sure I would love this one too. Also, that day, I needed just a light lunch and I had a mango staring at me from the fridge which I didn’t want to share with anyone. 😉 So I got to making it. I did make some changes to the original recipe – used green chillies instead of bird’s eye chilli, replaced sumac with chaat masala, omitted sugar which was used in the original recipe, and also used red chilli flakes for some extra kick. I better not tell you how good this salad was. It was amazing! It was so good, that I ate up the whole salad all by myself! I can’t wait for the mango season to come again to make this again. The salad is slightly high on spice due to generous chillies, so do adjust it according to your spice buds. I don’t like my food spicy, but the sweet mango fizzled out a little off the strength of the chillies and I was able to handle it. 😀
Hope you enjoyed the review and the recipe… Do let me know your feedback as to what more I can add and improve in this segment… 🙂
- ½ cup chickpeas, soaked overnight, cooked and drained
- 1 mango, chopped
- 1 large cucumber, chopped
- 1 small onion, minced
- 100 gm cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 tbsp mint leaves, minced
- 4 green chillies, minced
- ½ tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp chaat masala
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- A squeeze of lime
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a large salad bowl.
- Toss well to combine.
- Leave aside in the refrigerator for 15 minutes for the flavors to mingle.