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660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer

May 24, 2009

What a wonderful gift this book is! I first heard of it while listening to The Splendid Table on NPR during a long trip. I immediately ordered it from and was thrilled when it arrived.

I first want to say that I grew up eating the curries from the Punjab, as my father was born and raised there. One of the reasons I’m excited about this book is that I will finally get to sample the entire country’s cuisine. 

The book is lovely. At the front, there is a photographic essay and some information on the different areas of the country and their foods. Following this, there is a section on making your own spice blends for Indian cooking. This is worth the cost of the book.

One disappointment I have with this cookbook is that there are no pictures of the completed dishes. I always find those helpful in terms of providing inspiration for garnishing and presenting the dish in an authentic manner. On the other hand, if there were pictures this already hefty book would be so heavy, you couldn’t lift it. Maybe the lack of pictures is for the best.

To offset that disappointment, there are plenty of cooking tips in this book that will help you out even if you aren’t cooking curry. In addition, most dishes are refreshingly allergen-free, meaning that you won’t have to do much, if any, futzing around with substitutions.

For my first recipe, I made a lovely chicken dish that hails from the south of India, which used vinegar and coconut milk as the flavor base. It was very different from the curries I grew up with, easy to make and absolutely delicious. For my second curry, I made a goan-style spicy sausage dish that I whipped up in less than 45 minutes from start to finish. It was fabulous.

If you enjoy ethnic foods, this book deserves a prominent place in your kitchen.

One Comment leave one →
  1. delightsgal permalink
    June 16, 2009 7:58 pm

    Ohhh, this looks wonderful. Thanks for the review. Can’t wait to try it out. I seriously crave curries and spice mixtures from all over the world, like harrissa, now that I try to avoid sugar. It’s a happy addiction. So nice to hear a bit about your heritage, thanks for sharing. 🙂 take care, trina (delights gal)

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