Cookbook Club: At Home with Madhur Jaffrey

To those who know me, it should come as no shock that I'm not really into reading books.  You will probably never see me on the beach reading the latest release from Emily Giffin (who happened to work at my firm before leaving to become a writer).  My Amazon wishlist rarely, if ever, contains a non-food-related book.  For the most part, the no-book policy works out pretty well for me - except for one thing: book clubs.  The thing about book clubs is that there's generally some "reading of books" involved.  I wanted to enjoy the camaraderie of my friends (and lots of wine), but without having to actually read a book.  The solution?  Cookbook Club.

Cookbook Club is pretty simple - every month a few friends and I choose a cookbook to review; we meet at someone's apartment, make or bring a dish or two from the cookbook, along with a bottle of wine; we eat the food, drink the wine, chat for a bit about the cookbook (what did you like? dislike? did you modify your recipe?), then drink more wine and relax.

For the June meeting of the Cookbook Club, we chose:


Overall Rating: 2 stars

Chicken Curry with Cardamom

The book is a great intro to Indian cuisine, as most of the recipes do not use "weird" spices.  A lot of the recipes can be made with cumin, coriander, and paprika, with only a few requiring the less-frequently-used garam masala or asafetida.

Seasoned Radishes

We ended up making way too much food, but what was leftover was still delicious the next day.  Dishes included: seasoned radishes, eggplants in a north-south peanut sauce, coconut rice, chicken curry w/ cardamom, Kerala lamb stew, Sri Lankan rice with cilantro and lemongrass, and cilantro chutney.  Everything was pretty simple to make - despite varying levels of culinary ability, all of the dishes had excellently layered flavors.  This book makes Indian cuisine accessible to the busy American home cook, without breaking the bank by shelling out for specialty ingredients.

Eggplants in North-South Peanut Sauce
Our only complaint (mainly from the girls cooking the lamb and chicken) is that the recipes state "reduce until thickened" but leave no estimated time for this to occur.  The lamb and chicken sauces were each reduced for over an hour, with minimal thickening.  Some indication that a recipe is going to take, say, 4 hours, rather than 1 hour, would have been appreciated.  That said, even without the full thickening time, the flavors were spot-on.

Sri Lankan Rice
Overall, the book is a great addition to your cookbook collection, and would be an excellent gift for any home cook.  It's available in hardcover or Kindle edition for about $20.

Coconut Rice

*Cookbook Club Rating System:
-3 stars: This cookbook is essential, buy it now
-2 stars: Good overall, a nice addition, but not an urgent buy
-1 star: Meh; one or two good ideas, but not worth the money
-0 stars: Would work better as kindling than a cookbook

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What was cooking this time last year?


Anonymous said...

Great idea and love the pic of X with the book.

Anonymous said...

love the pic of x and salty

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