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Book Review: ‘Easy Indian Cooking’ by Suneeta Vaswani

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Indian food is an exciting cuisine, and now it’s even easier to make thanks to Suneeta Vaswani’s Easy Indian Cooking.

This new edition of Suneeta’s first release features additional photos and 30 new recipes. All of the dishes are richly flavored, many are vegetarian, and none are too complicated to create at home.

This cookbook promises easy recipes, and most are well-suited for beginners to make, while also appealing to experienced home cooks and even those already familiar with Indian cuisine. If you are a fan of authentic flavors, you’ll be delighted by these easy-to-prepare recipes.

East Indian Cooking has 150 recipes including classic recipes from northern and southern India, as well as her personal favorites. As an added perk, all of the recipes and their innovative flavors have been adapted for North American kitchens and will give you the sense of India in your own home.

The approach is simple when you have delicious recipes and some aromatic Indian spices, you can prepare everything from snacks and appetizers to poultry, fish and vegetarian meals. There are also chapters dedicated to accompaniments, such as chutneys, sweets and beverages, so you can create a truly authentic Indian dining experience.

Hena’s Finger Potatoes page 185

These delicious potatoes, which make a marvelous marriage with any kind of barbecued meat or fried chicken, are just as wonderful by themselves. An old friend who is renowned for her cuisine gave
me this recipe when visiting from India.

TIPS: I like to serve these to accompany beer.
To toast sesame seeds: Spread in a dry skillet and toast on medium heat until starting to color, 3 to 4 minutes. Shake pan periodically to toast evenly. Seeds will turn slightly darker as they cool.

4 tsp    oil, divided    20 mL
1⁄4 cup    raw cashews, broken into large pieces    60 mL
1⁄4 cup    raisins    60 mL
2 lbs    all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch (1 cm) thick fries    1 kg
2 tsp    hot pepper flakes or to taste    10 mL
1 tsp    cumin powder    5 mL
2 tsp    salt or to taste    10 mL
1 tsp    mango powder (amchur) (optional)    5 mL
2 tbsp    sesame seeds, toasted (see Tips)    30 mL

1.    In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tsp (10 mL) of the oil over medium heat. Sauté cashews and raisins until cashews are golden and raisins are plump, about 2 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.
2.    In the same skillet, heat remaining oil. Stir-fry potatoes to coat with oil. Spread in a single layer and cover. Cook over medium heat, without stirring, for 5 to
7 minutes. Stir and spread into single layer again. Cover and continue to cook, adjusting heat to brown potatoes without burning, for 6 to 8 minutes longer. There should be a golden crust on most potatoes when done.
3.    Sprinkle with hot pepper flakes, cumin, salt and mango powder, if using. Add reserved cashews and raisins and sesame seeds. Toss well and adjust seasonings. Serve as a side dish or as finger food.

Serves 8

Excerpted from Easy Indian Cooking, 2nd Ed. by Suneeta Vaswani © 2013 Robert Rose Inc.  May not be reprinted without publisher permission.

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About Kathleen Riley-Daniels

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