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50 Great Curries of India: 10th Anniverary Edition    by Camellia Panjabi order for
50 Great Curries of India
by Camellia Panjabi
Order:  USA  Can
Kyle Books, 2006 (1996)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This 10th Anniverary Edition of 50 Great Curries of India has been updated with 10 new recipes and new photos (the cover picture had me salivating, while the pictures inside propelled me into the kitchen to start cooking). Camellia Panjabi applies her extensive experience in the hotel and restaurant business, and in Indian regional cuisine to offer us an informative, mouthwatering curry cookbook.

An overview of 'Culinary India' is followed by a discussion of the cuisine's philosophy (influenced by the ancient Ayurveda treatises on health), and the benefits of eating Indian meals. Panjabi tells us how to make a daag curry base (with onions, tomatoes and spices that include fresh ginger and chillies) that can be stored in fridge or freezer, and added to, to make quick curries on busy days. She explains what a curry is, telling us these dishes 'have always lent themselves to improvization', and explains the basics of tools, process and ingredients (a very handy set of tips includes how to recover from mishaps).

From the recipe collection, I especially like the look of Lamb with Spinach (also yoghurt, garlic and ginger), Lamb with Plums, Chicken Pistachio Korma, Chicken Dopiaza (lots of onions), Prawn with Spring Onions and Fenugreek, Goa Fish Curry, Mango and Yoghurt Curry (not sure about Watermelon Curry), Egg Curry, and (yumm) Aubergine Curry. Towards the back of the book is a discussion of types of rice and Indian breads (like my favorite Parathas), and how to cook them - my taste buds are eager for Dill Rice. There are also recipes for vegetable sides like Palak Paneer, potato and lentil (Dal) dishes, papadams, chutneys, and relishes.

Desserts (yes there are delicious Indian desserts) range from Mango Mousse (which I plan to include in a holiday menu this year) to traditional syrupy Gulab Jamuns. The author concludes her enticing cookbook with menu suggestions. I love curries and look forward to indulging in the wonderful selection offered in 50 Great Curries of India, and to try, as the author suggests, some improvization of my own.

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