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Old 05-28-2004, 02:31 AM   #1
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Indian and/or Middle Eastern cookbooks?

Hi all,

I would describe myself as a little-bit-more-than-a-beginner cook with a lot of enthusiasm.

Can anyone recommend any Indian, Pakistani, Turkish, Middle Eastern cookbooks? Hopefully ones that produce authentic results without too much fuss.

Thanks.

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Old 05-28-2004, 10:56 AM   #2
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Well, I wish I could but I can't, sorry. You might just do a search on the Internet - if I were wanting to cook something Turkish, I would type Turkish Recipies into Google - http://www.google.com/search?sourcei...urkish+Recipes

This is what came up.
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Old 09-02-2004, 06:49 PM   #3
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cookbook suggestion

Here's a suggestion...Clifford Wright's A Mediterranean Feast. It's got over 500 recipes that span the Mediterranean rim, from Spain, Provence, Italy, Greece, Lebanon, Syria, and down the south coast of the sea.

Wright does tend to obsess a bit over "authenticity" in his recipes, so I've found myself amending recipes at times, but I've found a number of good foundations for my own recipes in there. Plus, Wright offers a boatload of scholarship and history on the recipes he gives.

Available through Amazon.com
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Old 09-02-2004, 08:32 PM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestion.

I'll check it out.
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Old 09-03-2004, 08:44 AM   #5
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Indian cookbooks

authentic: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Devi, 1987. Complexity of recipies varies but you'll find something to interest you. Good explanations. Includes instructions on making ghee, panir, masala, flatbreads,etc in case you can't get these locally.

Also cookbooks by Julie Sahni (somewhat Americanized but a good introduction)

Devi's book is out of print but still available on Amazon as are Sahni's cookbooks.
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Old 09-05-2004, 12:01 AM   #6
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:D Theres a small book called Curries without worries its a great Indian food cook book.Its very small but gets you going and the recipes are fantastic.
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Old 09-05-2004, 02:20 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the suggestions.

Since I posted the original message, I have bought a book called 'Simply Indian' by Tahera Rawji and Hamida Suleman. I like it. It has all the favourites like butter chicken, shami kebab, chicken biriyani, rasmalai, and a whole host of others.

I've tried several of the recipes and while some have turned out good, others needed a few attempts to get right, while others I have not yet mastered (such as the shami kebab). Well as long as I follow the golden rule in cooking I should be right ie. "don't serve a dish to your guests that you are attempting for the first time" lol.
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Old 09-06-2004, 08:16 AM   #8
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I love all of Madhar Jaffrey's cookbooks; she has a couple of Indian, and a middle eastern also, I believe. Very easy to read and understand, and she does a great job of 'westernizing' recipes and breaking them down to our 'Western' way of cooking.
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Old 09-14-2004, 06:38 AM   #9
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You can also try these if you can get hold of them:

Indian Cookery by E P Veerasawmy,
Arco Publications, London 1964 - my first
Indian cookbook, a good introduction, but perhaps a bit basic now - may not be in
print now but check for alternative publishers

Indian Cookery by Dharamjit Singh,
Penguin Books, 1984 - excellent, wide
coverage, may not be in print again

The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmain Soloman,
Grubb Street, London 2002,
ISBN 1904010180 covers all Asia, but with sections on India and Pakistan, and Sri
Lanka (Ceylon) IN PRINT

A Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden,
Penguin Books, 1973 - the best
all around book on Arab and North African cooking ever - still in print but perhaps
not with Penquin
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Old 09-14-2004, 07:53 PM   #10
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I have a question. Are you trying to recreate your favorite dishes from your favorite restaurants?
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Old 09-16-2004, 03:10 PM   #11
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Positively Charmaine Solomon's book is the best I have yet to find. It's not cheap but I am amazed how authentic the recipes are.

Also Madhur Jaffrey which also someone else mentioned. The thing about Madhur is that she substitutes ingredients that don't compromise the dish yet are available easily in the West.

I also like online sites - One of the better ones is Daawat.com
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Old 09-30-2004, 11:04 PM   #12
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I only have three Middle Eastern Cookbooks.

1. A Book of Middle Eastern Food, Claudia Roden, 1972, Alfred A. Knoff, Inc., 453 pages

2. The Art of Syrian Cookery, Helen Corey, 1962, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 186 pages

3. The Best of Baghdad Cooking, Daisy Iny, 1976, Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited, 187 pages
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Old 09-30-2004, 11:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yakuta
Positively Charmaine Solomon's book is the best I have yet to find. It's not cheap but I am amazed how authentic the recipes are.

Also Madhur Jaffrey which also someone else mentioned. The thing about Madhur is that she substitutes ingredients that don't compromise the dish yet are available easily in the West.

I also like online sites - One of the better ones is Daawat.com
Substituting for authentic ingredients in Indian recipes is completely unnecessary for two reasons:

1. The United States has a very large population of recent Indian immigrants who import all of their food from India and Pakistan. If you live near a large city like Chicago, you can buy all of this at grocery stores in Indian neighborhoods. (In Chicago, this is in the vicinity of 2500 W. Devon Ave.)

2. You can buy it online (Indians are computer literate).

Substituting for authentic ingredients is bad because, for many items, there are no proper substitutes. For example, I defy anyone to name a substitute for the popular Indian flavoring, Kewra.

Or, maybe all those recent Indian immigrants should just buy Madhur Jaffrey's book so they can use American substitutes and stop foolishly importing food ingredients from India?
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Old 10-01-2004, 12:09 AM   #14
 
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Darkstream wrote
Quote:
The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmain Soloman,
Grubb Street, London 2002,
ISBN 1904010180 covers all Asia, but with sections on India and Pakistan, and Sri
Lanka (Ceylon) IN PRINT
This my absolute favourite cookbook. Many years ago (about 35) when home cooking of Chinese recipes in Australia was only for Chinese people I used to work in the Chinatown area of Sydney. I was determined that I was going to perfect authentic tasting Chinese food at home. So I bought all the gear, a good wok (not stainless steel) and an iron meat cleaver. I still have both to this day and I think a day hardly goes by that I do not use my chopper. I use it for just about all my chopping and slicing.
Well I here I am with all the authentic gear but my experiments into the world of Chinese cooking were not successful.
One day I stumbled upon a rather small Chinese cookbook, by Charmain Solomon. I started at the front of the book and worked my way through. Friends and relatives were invited for Chinese banquets as tasters and I can honestly say, it was absolute success after success. I was only thinking recently that I believe the one main ingredient that was hampering my success was Sesame seed oil.
I had the priveledge to talk to Charmain on Talk Back radio recently and thank her personally for the inspiration I recieved from her original book which has led to my greater interest in cooking to this day.

With recipes from India and Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia & Laos, Viet Nam, The Phillippines, China, Korea and Japan, "The complete Asian Cookbook" is thoroughly recommended by me.

(No, Charmain is not my Mum!!)



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Old 10-01-2004, 12:30 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WayneT
...
I was only thinking recently that I believe the one main ingredient that was hampering my success was Sesame seed oil.
...
Please, elaborate.
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Old 10-01-2004, 01:56 AM   #16
 
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aruzinsky wrote:

Quote:
Please, elaborate
Well you see, it is like this, whilst I was having a measure of success with my Chinese cooking at the end of the day, there just seemed to be something missing when compared to the flavours I was accustomed to in the restaurants. Take for example simple old steamed Dim Sims Yeah, I made several dozen of these little critters but after the last little morsel left the tastebuds, one had the feeling there was something missing. It was of course the Sesame seed oil. Remember I was talking about 35 years ago or so, these days there are more recipes and books than you can poke a stick at. As one reads through the recipes these days, Sesame oil is common place. So what I am saying is, When cooking Chinese recipes and you wish to cut corners etc. the one ingredient NOT to leave out is Sesame seed oil.
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Old 10-01-2004, 11:38 AM   #17
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Arunzinsky not sure where you are from but from your strong opinions you may be Indian is my guess.

Anyway there are ingredients within Indian cooking that can be extremely overwhelming for a Westerner ( I was overwhelmed when I started to learn how to cook and I was born to Indian parents ) anyway the misconception is that every spice listed in a recipe has to be used else the flavor is not authentic and that is not the case. Curry powder is a reasonable substitute for a whole range of spices that I normally use. It may not be as authentic for those who cook this food all the time but it works.

Also there are substitutions for eg Khoya (that is widely available in India and not as easily here especially with the same texture) can be easily made at home and with ingredients that are readily available. I know because someone told me or I read at a website. I cannot imagine someone new to this would.

Anyway that is why substitutions of ingredients that are widely available are sometimes a good thing - whether necessary or not.

I call this a difference of opinion and not something to debate. Peace
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Old 10-01-2004, 12:29 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yakuta
Arunzinsky not sure where you are from but from your strong opinions you may be Indian is my guess.

Anyway there are ingredients within Indian cooking that can be extremely overwhelming for a Westerner ( I was overwhelmed when I started to learn how to cook and I was born to Indian parents ) anyway the misconception is that every spice listed in a recipe has to be used else the flavor is not authentic and that is not the case. Curry powder is a reasonable substitute for a whole range of spices that I normally use. It may not be as authentic for those who cook this food all the time but it works.

Also there are substitutions for eg Khoya (that is widely available in India and not as easily here especially with the same texture) can be easily made at home and with ingredients that are readily available. I know because someone told me or I read at a website. I cannot imagine someone new to this would.

Anyway that is why substitutions of ingredients that are widely available are sometimes a good thing - whether necessary or not.

I call this a difference of opinion and not something to debate. Peace
I am Bohemian on my father's side and German on my mother's.

Of course there are good substitutes for Khoya because it is condensed milk, which is not to say that American "condensed milk" is condensed milk (you have to read the ingredient label). If you are told what it is, then you and NOT some book author should decide which substitutions are acceptable. What I object to is when the author of a book makes substitutions without notifying the reader and calls the recipe "authentic." That is fraud. It is a moral issue. And, whereas I am not an expert on Indian cooking, I have seen this kind of fraud committed over and over again by authors of books in areas of cooking that I do have some expertice.

In authoring an ethnic cook book, the original authentic recipe should first be given and, only then, advice given with regard to substitutions and other modifications.

Incidentally, I gravitate to cookbooks with ingredients that I never heard of before. I use that as a criterion for selecting books. For example, one of the three books that I listed above calls for "manna." I still haven't found out what that is.
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Old 10-01-2004, 01:46 PM   #19
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I like Madhur Jaffrey as an actress and an on air personality but her recipes leave much to be desired.

Julie Sahni is very informative and covers ingredients well, but, again, her recipes fall flat with me.

One of the few Indian Cookbooks that I have enjoyed is Sameen Rushdie's (Salman's sister). It's out of print and hard to find but the recipes are good. It doesn't have chicken tikka masala though.
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Old 10-03-2004, 01:19 AM   #20
 
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I have deleted the original message here as I replied to something that wasn't even referring to me.
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