A Few Good Cookbooks Vol. 2

This cookbook roundup features three cookbooks from Indian chefs that you need to get your paws on, whether to cook from or read in bed at night. There’s some bread mania, Executive Chef insights & wholesome, nutritional eating. You want the truth? You can handle the truth.

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Crumbs! Bread Stories and Recipes for the Indian Kitchen by Saee Koranne-Khandekar ticks all the boxes for me. It talks about one of my favourite foods, greens (kidding, I mean bread obviously), and elaborates how you can make it at home, keeping in mind Indian weather conditions, Indian yeast and other factors unique to Indian kitchens.

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I love that it includes recipes for traditional Indian breads like Laadi Pao, Brun, Naan, Fugiyas (definitely trying that), Sheermal, Poee and so many others. It also does justice to your Focaccia, Brioche and Croissant cravings.

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Crumbs! is also really well written, and covers all the bases for a novice bread maker. I intend to pass this book on to my husband so that I can finally have my dream – waking up to the smell of freshly baked croissants.

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Pooja Dhingra is famously known as the macaron queen, and her Le15 Patisserie in Mumbai is very popular (with three outlets now) along with her Studio Fifteen Culinary Centre. When I saw her new book The Wholesome Kitchen: Nourish. Energize. Indulge. that she’s co-authored with her nutritionist sister-in-law Viddhi Dhingra I was intrigued.

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I imagine that for a chef surrounded by incredible sweet treats, the balancing act of eating healthy must be vital, but that this healthy food must also be tasty. If the images in this book are anything to go by, my guess was right.

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The recipes sound really creative and yum, ranging from nutritious basics (nut butters, Nutella, sauces, jams) to breakfast parfaits, breakfast bars, pancakes, muffins, soups, salads and pastas. The last section ‘Indulge’ offers healthy indulgences like truffles and caramelised onion dip and sweet potato chips (definitely trying that).

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The philosophy behind The Wholesome Kitchen is that once you alter deeply ingrained dietary habits, you can transform the way you cook and eat – and that healthy, nutritious meals can be delicious. Who am I to disagree when a ‘Faux Frosting Dip’ (chickpeas + chocolate) is itching to be made?

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Romancing the Chicks: Stories, Recipes and Thoughts is a collection of food writing and recipes from Mandaar Sukhtankar, Executive Chef at the very chic The Park, Hyderabad. The whole vibe of this book is celebratory, right from the cover to the beautiful images, to the meticulously detailed recipes and lovely stories.

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Chef Sukhtankar’s writing is evocative and easy, and makes for a great read, whether it be reminiscing over milkmen and town markets to understanding crabs and summer holidays in Europe.

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His recipes are what one would imagine is served at parties at the home of an Executive Chef, hand tossed Pizza, Hyderabadi Gosht Biryani, Potato Rosti, Chicken 65, Sicilian Caponata, Pineapple Flan and Bonet Piemontese among other deliciousness. Romancing the Chicks is a book to be savoured, for cooks and eaters alike.

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