Monday, August 11, 2014

Book Review: The New Indian Slow Cooker Cookbook

Chef Neela Paniz grew up in an elegant Indian home, where her mother's cook prepared wonderful delicacies on a daily basis--the same marvelous regional dishes that she recreates for those lucky enough to dine in her Los Angeles-area Bombay Cafe. Now Neela has compiled a collection of recipes for her best dishes--focusing on the light, the healthy, the fresh, and the easy-to-prepare. Two-color throughout.
The rich and complex flavors of classic Indian dishes like Lamb Biryani, Palak Paneer, and chicken in a creamy tomato-butter sauce can take hours to develop through such techniques as extended braising and low simmering. In The New Indian Slow Cooker, veteran cooking teacher and chef Neela Paniz revolutionizes the long, slow approach to making Indian cuisine by rethinking its traditional recipes for the slow cooker.

She showcases the best regional curries, dals made with lentils and beans, vegetable and rice sides, as well as key accompaniments like chutneys, flatbreads, raita, and fresh Indian cheese. Using this fix-it-and-forget-it approach, you can produce complete and authentic Indian meals that taste like they came from Mumbai, New Delhi, and Bangalore, or your favorite Indian restaurant.

Featuring both classic and innovative recipes such as Pork Vindaloo, Kashmiri Potato Curry, Date and Tamarind Chutney, and Curried Chickpeas, these full-flavor, no-fuss dishes are perfect for busy cooks any day of the week.

My Review:
"No one in India uses a slow cooker."

At least, not yet. This book piqued my interest because, growing up in an Indian home, I thought "Slow cooker? That'd be nice!" Usually my husband and I can only cook Indian on Sundays, when we have the time to devote to it. But to have dinner cooking while we work was something I had to try.

It's not like I've never used a crock pot before. I already know that chicken curry freezes and reheats really well in a slow cooker. But I didn't have any idea how to make it fresh in a slow cooker without it becoming a complete disaster. And that's curry--never mind Dal or Chutney.

I was so pleased to find recipes for childhood favorites like Tikka Masala, which my dad and I actually "cheated" at and bought premade packs to make it. I had previously thought that if my father couldn't make it, it was ridiculously complicated--this is fortunately not the case.

What I admire most about this book is the educational aspect. Along with each recipe is a little piece of history behind its origin, so we get a better idea of how the English and Portuguese influenced Indian cooking.

I was excited to share some recipes with my father, and definitely have some people in mind that I'll recommend this book to.

Star rating: Five of five with a complimentary burp.

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