Reading – yes, reading, that’s how intriguing and exciting it is – Rinku Bhattacharya’s cookbook is to me the next best thing to a stroll through, say, Machane Yehuda, the legendary open-air market at the heart of Jerusalem. It positively vibrates with the smells and sounds of the kitchen, and makes the exotic familiar and inviting. Her love of cooking is amply expressed through her stories, and her evocative style is irresistible. Why Cumin? Why Coriander? Why Cardamom? Why Fennel? What goes with what? What dish will best showcase any given spice selection? It’s all there! The story behind chutney, the story behind tea, the story behind family weddings, and so on, and the family lore linked to each ingredient: every bit as delightful as it is informative! Imagine explaining how she met her husband: It seems in her charming paragraph “Fishing For Love” the first step in their attraction was a tremendous love for fish dishes: “… It took us practically no time to realize that we both loved food and that, in particular, he was passionate about fish and seafood along with fresh vegetables”. Girls, try that time-honored trick sometimes when you want a meaningful relationship: Not for nothing do we say you can go to a man’s heart through his stomach!
Ms Bhattacharya is quite generous and thorough with her recipes: Each has its own introduction, and all ingredients are sourced. Just reading the recipes alone is the promise of a delicious meal, like a virtual visit to her house.
Better yet than including many pictures (of which there are just 19 total), the author offers … herself, her love for her country and its cooking: She pours her heart out so touchingly and so expertly, I guarantee your confidence in cooking all things Indian, and of cooking period, will go through the roof. Ciao, I’m off to make her Red Snapper in Coconut Tamarind Sauce, and Milk Cake: Yum!