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COOKBOOKSS: 'Saint' to 'Sweet' >  The Spice is Right



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 The Spice is Right: Easy Indian Cooking For Today


by Monica Bhide                

It's about time! Being a resident of America and a bit of a world traveler, I have come to truly appreciate the culinary gifts from other countries and cultures. What a delight to find a compact cookbook that is stuffed to bursting with flavorful, manageable, contemporary Indian cuisine of a very high yet simple order. 
 Mrs. Bhide has captured my heart with her touching anecdotes, her devotion to Sameer and Jai (husband and son) and her passion about the food of her culture.

The one hundred forty-four pages are laced with so many wonderful Indian favorites that I find this book to be a contemporary reference for anyone that loves Indian cooking. It will prove to be a treasure to those whom have never tried it but desire a go at Indian dining. There may be a few Indian restaurants that will be a bit sad that people will learn that they can make, quite easily, their favorites right in their own homes.

Food Reference Website founder and CEO James Ehler really loved the juxtaposition of such wonderful, ancient recipes with things like Monica's mother serving a Cola and Ice Cream float as an after school treat. This absolutely confirms the fact that "The Spice is Right..." is indeed a valentine to both easy and traditionally accurate Indian culinary gems while being firmly placed in the twentieth/twenty-first century. With components easily available to American consumers, "The Spice Is Right: Easy Indian Cooking for Today" is exactly that.

Among the treats I discovered, I must say that the favorite Monica's Indian version of Thanksgiving. The menu features Tandoori (roasted) chicken and Tandoori turkey dishes, minted lamb patties---Indian green beans with grated coconut! For the traditionalist, Mrs. Bhide includes a very tasty cranberry chutney and crepes filled with creamed sweet pumpkin (halwa). The chapters feature complete menus including beverages, appetizers, desserts, nutritional information, tips---even what to create from the leftovers. She has even included information on web and snail-mail locations for mail order of Indian particulars.

Monica's is an interesting story. She is a multiple degree holder (Engineering and two Masters' in Information Systems technology). She emigrated to this country in 1991. One of her frustrations seemed to be the nonexistence of Indian food cookbooks that were culturally approachable in this country. Her mission, adroitly met, was to compile a selection of traditional and "Monica-ized" Indian and Middle Eastern foods. Mrs. Bhide has done it.

Update: A billion Kharma Credits for Bhide. She is donating a large portion of the proceeds (author proceeds) to a charity helping Indian babies with surgery, etc. Thanks Monica!
Recommendation: Buy it. Don't think about it. Just buy it.
Book Review by Marc for the Food Reference Website



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