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!