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Masala Farm: Stories and Recipes from an Uncommon Life in the Country [Hardcover]

Suvir Saran , Raquel Pelzel , Charlie Burd
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Nov. 30 2011
What happens when an Indian chef and consummate city dweller buys a farm in the country and endeavors to raise farm animals and grow vegetables? Delicious food, of course! From acclaimed chef and author Suvir Saran, Masala Farm offers a fresh twist on a farm-to-table approach to cooking and welcomes readers into the kitchen. A steady stream of houseguests, the challenges of animal ownership, and the joys of being a part of a small-town community supply the stories woven throughout this volume. Sixty recipes are organized by season. Exquisite photography captures the lusciousness of Saran's food and the beauty of the countryside.

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Masala Farm is as fresh as a carrot just pulled from the earth. The wholesome and appealing recipes spring directly from a passionate way of living and celebrating the rhythms, diversity and surprises of life. Readers will be inspired by the food and just may be inspired to flee their jobs and find an idyllic green haven for themselves. Suvir Saran writes enchantingly about friends around the table, goose-raiding ravens, food and community, the richness of goat milk, and his inclusive concept of family. A brilliant masala! Frances Mayes - Author, Under the Tuscan Sun and Every Day in Tuscany To find work that is fulfilling and rewarding, that's luck. But to build not just a career but a life around your passion, in this case, for food, as Suvir and Charlie have done with American Masala Farm, is good fortune almost too breathtaking to imagine. To deepen their understanding of our sustenance all the way back to the land, and to the animals and plants that also sustain and are sustained by it, to reorganize complex modern lives around the seasons, as nature intended-what could feel more organic, more real, more right? Yet what really seems to motivate them in this ongoing project is not just to enjoy this idyll on their own, but a deep desire to give and share, with their guests, their students, their friends-and now, with you, holding this beautiful book, Masala Farm. When I first saw photos of the farmhouse, I said to Suvir, "I can't believe you painted it turmeric!" When he told me that it came that way, it was clear that American Masala Farm was meant to be. How lucky, indeed, that we all are welcome there. Ted Allen, host, Food Network's "Chopped," author, "The Food You Want to Eat" How rare it is to have the ability to synchronize your life on a farm with life in a restaurant! With just-picked ingredients tied to each of upstate New York's four seasons, Suvir and Charlie's recipes come to life, and guide the reader to explore gastronomy from a horticultural pers

About the Author

Suvir Saran is a New Delhi-born cookbook author, cooking instructor, Indian food authority, and the executive chef/owner of Dévi in New York. He divides his time between Manhattan and upstate New York.

Ben Fink is an award-winning New York based photographer.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Fusion - Good Enough to Eat! March 1 2013
By Grandma TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
I live in Vermont, not too terribly far from the farm that author Suvir Saran shares with his partner, Charlie Bard. Life here is much like life on the other side of the border, revolving around the seasons, so I found much that was both familiar and entertaining in Saran's tales of Life On The Farm. (I can see the look on his face as the poultry flies the coop now!)

I also happen to have a life-long passion for the foods of India and Asia, something that is hard to indulge here unless I make a trip to Boston or produce it myself in my own kitchen, so to that end I have a pantry that, if not as generously stocked as Suvir's, contains most of the ingredients to produce nearly any recipe in the book and make no mistake, many of these recipes are extremely enticing. Some are recipes that are brand new to me, many others old favorites or American favorites with a unique spin, like the Upstate Apple Butter that is spiced with cardamom, fennel and anise seeds along with the traditional cinnamon and cloves. I'm looking forward to whipping up a batch or two of that come fall. Do let me mention, BTW, that unlike several cookbooks I've reviewed lately, Suvir's canning instructions are right on the money. You can follow any of his jam & chutney recipes with perfect confidence that you are doing things the right way.

Recipes are given in both US Standard and metric units and temperatures in Fahrenheit, Celsius and Gas Mark. You'll easily be able to follow these recipes no matter where you are in the world. The book is beautifully laid out, even in the Kindle version and the photos are gorgeous. Suvir has included both an interactive Table of Contents listing every recipe and an Index. He has also included links to other recipes where appropriate in the text.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great recipes, great read!!! Dec 2 2011
By S. Longo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having cooked extensively from Suvir Saran's two previous books, American Masala and Indian Home Cooking, I was anxious to get my hands on Masala Farm. While I think finding only one great recipe in a cookbook makes the purchase worthwhile, Suvir's cookbooks have become my most used books with dozens of go-to recipes. Suvir's palate is unique in that what pleases him seems to please most people. I'm a caterer and have added many of his dishes to my catering menu and they've been received with rave reviews. He has a unique way of adding Indian flavor to classic American dishes (don't miss the meatloaf in American Masala!)and he will definitely teach you a new way to think about spices and building flavor in dishes. I am especially enjoying the many photographs in Masala Farm and love the natural way the food is portrayed. You can tell by reading this book that the recipes are what Charlie and Suvir actually eat at the farm and serve to their guests. The Farm Tales at the beginning of each chapter are delightful to read and offer charming insight into small town farm living. Love the resources at the end of the book, too. I've made the fruit cobbler which is fantastic and so easy to make. Also loved the veal chops, omg. The recipe directions are concise while giving you enough information to get the promised results. Whether you just read cookbooks or actually use them, Masala Farm is one you must have!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cookbook to read and cook from! Dec 28 2011
By S.P.A. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Honestly, I rarely buy cookbooks, and even more rarely cook from them. This should tell you how much faith I have in these recipes and in the authors.When I first received the book, I merely looked through it, thinking about what to make first. I saw many things that piqued my interest, but did not get to really read through the book. Then, I took the book on the bus with me. Now imagine me, sitting ...on the #12 bus traveling through Westside Chicago. I am guessing most of the other riders weren't reading cookbooks on their way to their destination. This is what struck me. I was captivated by not just the recipes, or the pictures (all of which are fabulous). But no, it was more about the text, the subtle pictures, the tapestry-like pages that separated the seasons in the book. All of it was perfectly arranged, not by appetizer, entrée and dessert, but by seasons and information about local produce, along with true, honest pictures that did not look airbrushed or perfected to the last pixel. I read the text and I felt like I was there. Very few cookbooks can transform a bus ride in this way. So buy it for the stories, the prose, the warmth, and then, for the recipes.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book!!! Dec 3 2011
By TNeal/Ellen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've been cooking from Suvir Saran's first two cookbooks, Indian Home Cooking and American Masala, for some time now, and when I found out that he was releasing another one, I waited anxiously, hoping it would have the same wonderfully user-friendly recipes that the first two did. I wasn't disappointed! Masala Farm carries on the traditions that make cooking from Suvir's books so delightful.

The recipes are a-MA-zing! Crispy-creamy potatoes (made with the lyrical sage, rosemary, and thyme!) that crunch and then are pillowy soft on the inside, roast chicken that is incredibly easy yet packed with moisture and masala flavor, a delicious crock-pot apple-cider recipe that will warm you through and through this winter, and biscuits that are melt-in-your-mouth crispy and so light, they'll change the way you think about biscuits. There's also a Banana-Caramel Pudding recipe that I'm dying to try!

The great thing about all of Suvir's recipes is that they are so do-able. I'm a normal person, with a normal kitchen. I don't have fancy equipment; I don't have access to exotic ingredients. And yet, with a couple of very affordable trips to the store, I stocked my spice rack and pantry with what I need to make most of the recipes in the book. All that's left is just an occasional trip to pick up a cut of meat or fish.

I don't have a culinary degree. I don't have "knife skills." I got a C in Home Ec 40 years ago. I didn't have a grandmother who taught me her secret way of making anything. But Suvir's directions don't assume that I do--he explains the "why" of what I'm doing, without condescension, without making me feel stupid. He comes alongside me to explain, instead of from above me, assuming I should know what I don't. He bridged the gap that existed between me and the food that I thought I could never have--that I thought was too difficult or too expensive to make.

But Masala Farm is more than a cookbook--it's also an honest and often humorous look at the transition from Manhattan to North Country. In "Goose Number 1,263," Suvir is transparent and brave enough to let us witness his change of heart from city-romance to country-reality in matters of life and death. And I laughed out loud at the "loss" of nine hundred dollars worth of birds in "Ebay for Eggs."

There are also inspiring accounts of a community that works together to educate, equip, and train their young people and entrepreneurs; of small businesses that make commitments to quality and the future; of programs that use resources in mindful and responsible ways.

Masala Farm is a captivating and enchanting book, chock-full of mouth-watering recipes, heart-warming stories, and eye-catching pictures. I'm delighted with it!

Ellen
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will CHANGE YOUR LIFE! Dec 2 2011
By Laura Thibeault - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Upon receiving my copy of Masla Farm, I dove into it immediately, feverishly trying to take it all in. The book is glorious! Suvir and Charlie have perfectly depicted the magical life, experiences, and flavors of their enchanting home in Hebron. The photographs, stories, graphic design, and attention to detail make this so much more than your standard cookbook. Masala Farm is a true work of art, crafted with love and care, with Suvir and Charlie's generosity oozing off every page. They've even included their friends' recipes and given plugs to the small local farms and businesses they patronize.This book will teach you how to live and eat anew! So much flavor for not only your palate but your soul! The genius, care and artistry put into the book is second to none! Do not even hesitate to click buy now! Hit it a few times and share it with your friends! This book will CHANGE YOUR LIFE! You will thank me for doing so!

-Tom Thibeault
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sprinkled with a bit of masala.. Jan. 20 2012
By Bonnie Deahl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Life on a farm in upstate New York's Washington County collides with sprinkles of toasted cumin and garam masala. For those not familiar with indian terms, "masala" means or refers to a mixture of spices. The book's title is the actual name of the farm. How appropriate for Suvir and his partner Charlie Burd to have literally stumbled upon a turmeric colored farm house in a small place called Hebron. The book is laid out in the seasons beginning with spring. Little vignettes called "farm yarns" share real time stories about their life on the farm and the community they have wholly embraced.

This is a cookbook but more than just that. I bought my book as a pre order last spring. My book arrived in November and I promptly skimmed the chapters and decided to start appropriately with the fall and winter sections. This is where I have cooked. Starting with a warming cup of Farmhouse chai using whole spices, black tea and fresh farm milk, I moved on to the Mushroom and Farro burgers. These non-meat burgers use an ancient grain that is coming back into vogue. You do not need any exotic ingredients for most recipes in this book but take some time to stock up on some whole spices like cardamom, whole cumin, coriander, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Friends and neighbors from this little community have shared their favorite recipes that are recreated here, sometimes with an indian twist..or not. Sally's veggie pot stickers with ginger-soy dipping sauce are a must make recipe. Make a batch or two on a Saturday and put them in the freezer (which is the recommendation since they cook better from the freezer).

I appreciate a cookbook that is not just another cookbook with recipes, but tells stories that take you on a journey. This is a journey and story about a place I would love to visit or a life I would love to live myself. I own Suvir's other two books and recommend them all for different reasons. They are the most used books in my large cookbook library. I have only begun to cook from Masala Farm and cannot wait to get to next summer's chapter so I can make the summer tomato pie. There are simple recipes like thin crust margherita pizza and butternut squash chaat and even a New Year's day curry using black eyed peas that is delightfully full of flavor and full of nutrition.

Take a journey into farm life in real time where a hint of India meets west. You will enjoy Masala Farm for its simplicity, stories, and easy to follow recipes. There is an excellent resource section in the back and a chapter on Basic recipes like garam masala, tamarind chutney, green chutney, ghee, and creme fraiche. Having a few of these ready made things available will make you fly through many of the recipes.
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