Hari Nayak's 'My Indian Kitchen' - A Review

Thursday, August 18, 2011

When Cheryl from Cheryl Duncan & co. asked me if I would like to review Hari Nayak's latest cookbook,  I readily agreed. And, Stephanie from TUTTLE PUBLISHING was gracious enough to send me  a complimentary copy of Hari Nayak's latest 'My Indian Kitchen', I was thrilled for I heart cookbooks. As a food blogger, I have more than one reason to fall in love with cookbooks.

Those of you, who do not know, Hari Nayak is an Indian celebrity chef who lives in New Jersey. He is also an author who has several books to his credit. Nayak hails from Udipi, a small town close to Mangalore. So all those who love South Indian food, you can look forward to some lovely South Indian recipes here.

My Indian Kitchen

The book arrived on rainy afternoon here, I immediately sat down with a cuppa Masala Chai, & as I flipped through the pages, I was already in love with this book. The pictures are by Jack Turkel are such a visual treat. Along with a few of his popular dishes, this book includes some of his family recipes as & a few tips & tricks which makes cooking easier.

The book starts with an introduction to Indian Cuisine & what I loved was a note on Pairing Wines with Indian food. Now we all know, which wine to pick with that spicy curry.

The book then gets divided into 9 delicious chapters beginning with recipes for Indian Spice mixes, the quitessential Indian Chutneys, Appetizers, Soups & dal, Vegetable & cheese dishes. There is a separate section for sea food & another one for meat & poultry. There is another chapter dedicated to Indian faltbreads & Rice varieties, in which he also teaches how to cook the perfect Basmati Rice. There is a Desserts & drinks section at the end, which features some delectable desserts. I personally loved the Pistachio & Mango Ice Cream.

A few other unique recipes that caught my fancy were the Avocado & roasted cumin Raita, Potato & Onion Fritters, & Zucchini with lentils & roasted garlic. These recipes are a perfect way of giving western vegbetables an Indian touch.

If you are a vegetarian who hates buying cookbooks because of the Non Vegetarian recipes in them, you need not worry, for this book has ample Vegetraian recipes. I am a vegetarian myself & I was not dissappointed with the veggie collection here.

However, if you are trying your hand at Indian cooking for the first time, this book is perfect to make a beginning & it lives up to its tagline, 'Preparing delicious Indian meals without fear or fuss'. For a novice, the pictures are such boon because you will know what the end result should look like. Most of the recipes are very easy & with simple narration, anybody can get a hang of what Indian cusine is all about.

In case you already own this gorgeous book, some of my favorite recipes in this book that you may want to try are
  • Pomegranate & mint potato salad
  • Carrot Yogurt Slaw
  • Hyderabadi mixed vegetables
  • Pureed spinach with cheese balls
  • Mint Rice with potatoes & toasted cumin
  • Baked garlic naan
  • Chai Creme Brulee
  • Mumbai fruit punch

There are a lot more other fabuluous recipes from this book, which I will be doing in my upcoming posts .. Do watch out


Nayak's effort is sincere which reflects in his recipes. The narration is simple, precise & well written. Nayak clearly suceeds in his motive to make Indian cooking less intimidating.

It is a solid cookbook which covers a wide array of the vast Indian cuisine. As the author rightly puts, 'It is for all who love the value of a home cooked family meal' .. Those who love collecting cookbooks,this book definitely deserves a place in your book shelf. It also makes for a great gift to cooking enthusiasts .. Go for it ..

If you wish to know more about Hari Nayak, visit his website at http://www.harinayak.com/.
Also, log on to http://www.myindiankitchen.com/ , to have a look at the recipe gallery.

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