Review by Kylie Thompson
Rating: 4 stars
Publisher: Murdoch Books/ Allen & Unwin
Year of Publication: 2016
Indian cooking, while a beloved take-out staple, isn’t always a cuisine we’re confident trying to cook at home. Partly, it’s because the really good dishes seem to take an eternity to prepare, or look more complicated that we’re confident in trying. Partly, it’s because we see the unfamiliar ingredients and assume it’s going to be prohibitively expensive to try and learn. Either way, far too many home cooks back slowly away from the idea of learning to create the amazing dishes we’ve come to know, love, and often over-pay for at the local restaurant or take away.
For Amandip Uppal, the idea that Indian cuisine is too expensive, or too hard to prepare, is laughable. After all, there are plenty of hints, tips, and timesavers that can give you the great, fresh flavours without the extended kitchen stay. In ‘Indian Made Easy’, Uppal shows readers just how simple it is to pare the processes down to less intimidating levels. Having said that, even scaled back these aren’t your quick-fix meals for the most part. If you’re looking for some 5 minute wonders to add to your meal rotation, this isn’t the cookbook you’re looking for. But if you’re happy to put a little more effort in, it’s hard not to love these dishes.
This is the sort of cookbook where it’s likely you’ll want to get in and try something almost immediately. There’s a range of sweet and savoury foods, plus instructions on how to make the simple breads and cheeses that form a popular part of the cuisine. In fact, Uppal has managed to take an often intimidating style of cuisine and make it look fun.
That’s pretty impressive, truth be told.
It’s got to be said: unless you’re already used to cooking Indian cuisine, trying these dishes will likely require some additions to your pantry- and some of the ingredients might be a tad confusing if you’re new to the regional flavours being discussed. Uppal tries to give detailed information, but there were a few points where I needed a quick Google search to understand exactly what she was talking about. But given I have a fairly poor understanding of the foodstuffs in question, learning a little more really wasn’t a problem for me. The upside: a lot of the ingredients you may not have to hand won’t be overly difficult to source, and they’ll usually store well for use later on. For all that it sounds complicated, and the ingredients may sound hard to find, it’s surprisingly easy to source and use them.
If you want to try Indian cooking that doesn’t rely on a pre-packaged jar, but don’t feel overly confident in your chances of success, ‘Indian Made Easy’ is a fantastic starting point. ‘Indian Made Easy’ is published through Murdoch Books/ Allen and Unwin, and is available through the leading online retailers.