KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: The Dance of Spices
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
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Wednesday, May 18, 2005
The Dance of Spices

If you have ever tried cooking Indian food then the "dance of spices" might be familiar. Many Indian recipes call for cooking whole mustard seeds in oil and within a few seconds the seeds begin to pop, or perform a dance in the pan.

If you love Indian food, making it for yourself can be a real delight for the senses. But if cooking Indian-style is a mystery to you, a great cookbook is more than a pleasure, it's a necessity. Local food writer and cooking teacher Laxmi Hiremath has written a wonderful book on Indian cooking that is peppered with memories of food from her childhood, The Dance of Spices: Classic Indian Cooking for Today's Home Kitchen.

Hiremath begins her book by explaining the seven steps to make curry. She patiently describes the various ingredients needed for an Indian pantry, and teaches you how to cook through her detailed recipes. She seasons the book with a good dose of hints which American cooks may not be as familiar with such as "ground spices are less likely to stick to the pan when cooked quickly".

The book includes over 238 recipes, many of them vegetarian, for cooking Indian food in your own home whether you are an accomplished cook or a novice. A weighty compendium you will find plenty of variety between the covers; for example she has no fewer than thirteen recipes for chutneys and that doesn't include several variations and a couple of chutney powders.

If you have a favorite dish from an Indian restaurant you will probably find the recipe for it, but you will also find many dishes never served in restaurants, what Hiremath calls "homestyle dishes". If you are fond of the snack style Indian food called "chaat" you will be pleased to find many of those dishes as well. Unlike many other Indian cookbooks this one also includes recommendations for wines and desserts that compliment these dishes. If you want to immerse yourself and learn the techniques, as well as all about the essential ingredients, this is an excellent place to start.
 
 

1 Comments:

Blogger Fatemeh Khatibloo-McClure said...

Amy, this sounds wonderful. I'd heard of Dance of Spices, but now methinks it's time to place a Powell's order!

5/18/2005 10:11 AM

 

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