Does anyone have a suggestion for a beginner's cookbook on Indian cuisine, preferably one that covers a variety of regions?
Very good Indian cook book Modern Cookery - For Teaching and the Trade (A Set of 2 Volumes) http://www.indiaclub.com/Shop/SearchResults.asp?ProdStock=12829
Little more about the author Padmasree Late Ms. Thangam Philip try her simple recipes one of my favorite I compare her with Julia Child http://www.melam.com/php/ThangamPhilip.php
Anything by Monisha Bharadwaj.
After looking at a number of books, I got Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking. There is a great range of recipes from many regions. It's an attractive book with tempting photos. A minor complaint is that since so I'm unfamiliar with so many of the foods, spices, and even tools, I wish there were photos of everything so I could figure out what to look for. However, she often has suggestions for substitutions. She has also writes with enthusiasm and encouragement.
I'm Indian through and through, and believe it or not I recommend Betty Crocker's Indian Cookbook written by Raghavan Iyer. He has also written the Tumeric Trail and 660 Curries. They are hard to get hold of though, you might need to try eBay.
"Classic Indian Cooking" by Julie Sahni. Madhur Jaffrey's "Indian Cooking" is another good one, but I think Sahni's is much more comprehensive, and gives you a much broader overview of the entire scope of Indian food. I cook from it constantly.
Madhur Jaffrey's recipes are very precisely written, which is great when you don't have experience with the techniques. I do find that the cookbook (not strictly Indian foods) I own from her is a strange mix of recipes that I definitely need to follow every step, and recipes that I wouldn't consider really needing to use (how to sautee mushrooms and reduce in soy sauce, or how to mix cumin and salt). When I do follow the recipes and can have all the ingredients she calls for, I have authentic-tasting results. I'm about to start a fermented dosa batter, actually!
My personal fav is Madhur Jaffrey's A Taste of India. Good recipes and organized by region. Very authentic stuff, this is Indian food as eaten in India, not London curry shops...
I like Madhur Jaffrey, too, but some of the (older especially) books have ingredients that might be daunting to find. Her Quick & Easy book has supermarket ingredients, or supermarket substitutes for the hard-to-find stuff. And the recipes come out beautifully.
I should think decent indian grocers would be easy to find in Toronto!
These are all such great suggestions. I have placed a ridiculously large order on Abebooks (a really good source for used cookbooks, BTW). Can't wait to get them--and then I'll be off to the local spice shop (and yes, innoabrd, we are very lucky to have some fabulous indian markets here, so my spice cabinet will soon be overflowing). Many thanks to all!
When you go shopping, do pick up some amchor, one of my favorite spices, but not often called for.