Smorgasbord of Indian Recipes: A Collection of Indian Dishes Most Popular in India and All Over the World
Outskirts Press (2011)
Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views (7/11)
Of all ethnic foods Indian is my favorite so I was super pleased to have the opportunity to review “Smorgasbord of Indian Recipes” by Achala Kshirsagar. For the purpose of the review we are asked to test three recipes. My first, and most favorite of Indian cuisine, was “Butter Chicken (Chicken Makhani).” When first looking at the long list of ingredients for the dish I just about changed my mind until I realized much of it was spices. As well, because of time needed to marinate the chicken, preparation was a little longer than most chicken dishes. However, that said, the end result was delicious! A little on the spicy side but once put on rice it was toned down. The sauce was smooth, creamy and most pleasing to the palate.
The second recipe I tested was “Naan (Oven baked flat bread).” Not having a tandoor oven and wondering if I could simulate the naan found in restaurants, I wanted to give the oven baked method a try. The combination of flour, salt, baking powder, egg, sugar, yogurt, milk and oil was easy enough to start with. Resting, rolling, and baking were simple too. The result? Better than I expected! Not quite the same as baked in a tandoor oven but certainly palatable enough to make at home to complement any sauce type Indian dish. In fact, the naan was a very good with “Butter Chicken.”
The third recipe I tested was “Rice and Spinach Koftas.” This is another dish that requires additional time to make, but so worth it. The combination of spices and garlic is pleasing to the palate. The recipe asks for khoya with a substitution of ricotta cheese. I used ricotta cheese and I believe it worked well, but I really don’t know the difference it would make. This recipe is large, serving 8 people, but certainly great as leftovers. I specifically liked the rice dish served with the koftas. The combination of bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, and caraway seeds made the rice in itself very tasty.
There are so many more recipes I want to make from “Smorgasbord of Indian Recipes.” It’s doubtful that most ingredients can be found in the pantry or kitchen but they certainly can be found in an Indian or high-end grocery store. It’s worth the trip!
If you are looking for a good Indian cookbook I have no hesitation in recommending this one. The layout is easy to follow, the addition of cooking techniques is a plus, and recipes for specialty combinations of spices are included. The only drawback I find with this cookbook is the lack of photographs of some of the dishes. But, don’t let that hold you back because I truly feel “Smorgasbord of Indian Recipes” is one of the best cookbooks for Indian cuisine on the market.