Sunday, February 07, 2010

Feasts of India!

Those of you who knew us in our Edinburgh period (1998 to 2001) will probably remember my friend Mridu Thanki, not only for her lovely personality, but also for her exquisite Indian cuisine, consumed round her kitchen table. Those were some of the best evenings I had in Edinburgh, not only food, but also fantastic company!

Since then, and perhaps before, Mridu had been talking about writing a cookery book to give us a chance to enjoy her sumptious food even when not in reach of her. And finally, just before Christmas, it came out! Available from Jaggnath Publishing, jaggnath.publishing (at) googlemail.com.

It is a fantastic book! Stunningly designed, with lovely illustrations, with our friend Sushil Mangoankar (then a budding artist) as the creative advisor, illustrations by Sandra de Matos, apart from that it is a family affair, with Mridu's son and daughter heavily involved in editing and proof-reading (and proof-cooking?).

The book is totally vegetarian (can be difficult for me in a country like Botswana with such beautiful beef), but gives enough recipes and menu recommendations for a balanced diet. For the last two weeks I have been eating almost entirely according to Mridu's recipes. This involves plenty of pulses (for some reason in recent years my body has been able to deal with pulses better), wonderful aubergine recipes, a pakora thing in a scrumptious yoghurt sauce (sorry, cannot remember the dish's name) .... the list goes on. Luckily here in Botswana I can get Indian spices easily enough, though they often come in packets of 100 or 200g, quite a lot, really. Unfortunately for me they are often labelled in the Indian name (I think), so it needs some sussing out to identify them. Mridu is also generous in her use of fresh coriander which is not available in every supermarket - so I bought a whole lot, chopped it, filled a muffin tin with it, adding a little water for each coriander 'muffin', and froze it. It's still better than the dried stuff which tastes of nothing. Have also made my own ghee... There's only one thing, Mridu - your estimate of the cooking time of black-eyed beans seems to be a little optimistic - mine take over an hour easily.

It's a great addition to my cookery world! Now and again I do also enjoy a steak, though!