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Thursday, 28 May 2015

Made in India - Book Review

I have a thing for cook books since childhood. I simply love reading them and fancying to eat the mouthwatering recipes which they contain. I even try my hand at a few of them. Needless to say that I possess many cook books.

But Kunal Vijaykar's Made in India is very different from the cook books which I have read till date. What I liked about the book is its simplicity. The recipes which the book contains are easy to prepare and less time consuming. The cover page of the book says that it contains 60 mouthwatering recipes from desi kitchens and bylanes. No wonders even the humble leftover Phodnichi Poli finds a mention in the book. Kunal must be credited for giving glamour to our age-old recipes. He presents panchamrit (yes the very same used in puja and given away as tirth in teaspoons) in an avatar of beverage which is quite tempting.

Every recipe is accompanied by a tidbit relating to the same. So we get interesting and never heard information like the south Indian Sambar is named after the King Sambhaji and Macaroni was christened by Marco Polo. He also writes about Goan Hindu vegetarian cuisine. For most of us Goan food means only sea food and the intoxicating feni. It is for these interesting narrations that I loved the book.

The book covers vegetarian, egg, chicken, fish, mutton, beef, dessert, chutney recipes. I am a pucca vegetarian. But still the way Kunal has described Goan egg drop curry compelled me to ponder over as to how I could make its vegetarian variation.

Though the book claims to contain the recipes from India, it is actually a book about coastal recipes with an exception of few recipes. Kunal is highly biased toward the recipes of the East Indian communities. Even he hails from the Pathare Prabhu clan who were the original residents of the islands of Mumbai.

Most of the recipes are accompanied by pictures. However some pictures have nothing to do with the recipes. For example next to Phodnichi Chapati comes picture of Kunal dining at a restaurant in Gujarat. Recipes at page no. 31 and 52 abruptly break into paragraphs for no reason. Also on page 105 yogurt is written as yoghurt at more than one place. This is totally unacceptable when the blurb says that Kunal is a seasoned food writer. The book needed a good proof reading job. Also the binding of the book is poor. The pages started coming out as I progressed with the reading of the book.

Inspite of all the flaws this book is highly recommended as it has indeed documented many native recipes which may have been lost in our transition to the modern world. 

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