660 Curries, by Raghavan Iyer is subtitled "The Gateway to Indian Cooking." A pretty accurate description. The recipes are easy to follow.
I really like Curries Without Worries by Sudha Koul.
Any of Julie Sahni's early books are excellent for beginners
I think some of the early Madhur Jaffrey books would be a good basic introduction.
I second maryvelasquez's suggestion, that book is fantastic. There are plenty of simple recipes and plenty of more elaborate ones with evey degree in between. It is a book you can grow with.
660 curries.. definitely!!. SOme of Madhur Jaffrey's early works have some glaring errors.. so you do not want to start out with that..
660 curries is one of the books on Indian cooking that spans dishes from all over India, not just the commercial North Indian crap that passes fro 'Indian' food. It is brilliantly written in a language designed for the layman cook, Its almost as if Raghavan Iyer speaks out to you as he guides you through the recipe
June is a trusted source on General Cooking.
Love 660 Curries. Raghavan Iyer is a wonderful teacher, and that really comes through in his recipes.
I had a series of classes with Julie Sahni back in the late 80's. Her recipes from her early books -- Classic Indian Cooking, and Classic Vegetarian Indian Cooking are full of wonderful recipes that are easy to follow.
My mother gave me my first Indian cook book in the mid 1960s. It is The Art of Indian Cooking by Monica Dutt. It is still around, mostly in used book stores. It was very straight forward and we had great fun cooking our way through it.
This might sound a little kooky at first glance, but Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking is quite good. It was written by Raghavan Iyer as well!
Julie Sahni's "Introduction to Indian Cooking" is excellent, and gives you a broad overview of curries, tandoori recipes, vegetables, sides (rices, etc.) and even breads. I use it a lot, even though I've moved past a lot of the basics. I also have Sahni's "Classic Indian Cooking" which is sort of like "Master the Art of French Cooking" for Indian cuisine. Very involved, but very detailed and I love it. "Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking" is another one I have, and cook from often. It's sort of in the middle between the two Sahni books...not advanced, but not total beginner either.
I learned to cook with Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. It never failed me once and i still look to it for inspiration. Many, though not all, of the recipes are Indian.
Beg to differ, that book is a classic example of a myopic set of dishes put forth as 'indian cooking'
Since we're already on the subject, what are some good Indian cookbooks for the more adventurous? I'd love to read more about how to make food from the central south -- Mangalore, Kerala, Karnataka, and the desert -- Rajasthan/Gujarat. I'm specifically interested in vegetarian food. Panfusine, do you have any other favorites?
Dakshin by CHandra Padmanabhan is good for a blend of south Indian food from the southern states,(although her recommendation of 6 + chilies tends to be a bit much), Grains greens & grated coconut by Ammini Ramachandran is wonderful for Kerala cuisine. For gujarati cuisine, I'd definitely say Tarla Dalal.. she was the first big name in cook books, from the 70s onward. Her book on Rajasthani food is great too!
Check out Vikas Khanna's "Flavors First", Hari Nayak's "Modern Indian Cooking," Vineet Bhatia "Rasaoi," Meeru Dhalwala "Vij's Indian Cuisine." They are not all vegetarian based but their recipes are amazing. Also check out veggiebelly.com for veg based recipes!
Thank you so much for these suggestions, they are extremely helpful! I am always very nervous to buy Indian cookbooks -- I fear the kind of dumbed-down creamy Punjabi influence that you write of, but I often dream of recreating things that can't be found in the US. As for chilies, I say: bring them on, six at a time!!
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