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Vij's Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine [Paperback]

Vikram Vij , Meeru Dhalwala
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 22 2006

At Vij's, one of North America's most innovative Indian restaurants, owner Vikram Vij and his wife, Meeru Dhalwalla, use the freshest local ingredients and original ideas to create exciting new takes on the cuisines of India. Though far from traditional, the dishes remain true to one glorious hallmark of Indian cooking: fabulous spicing. Among the luscious offerings included here are yogurt and tamarind marinated grilled chicken, seared venison medallions with fig and roasted pomegranate khoa, and marinated lamb popsicles in fenugreek curry. Vegetarian selections abound, with dishes like portobello mushrooms in porcini cream curry, coconut curried vegetables, and jackfruit with cayenne and black cardamom. Recipes for naan, chapattis, raiti, and other sides, staples, vegetables, and desserts allow readers to prepare an Indian feast from beginning to end. As beautiful and sumptuous as the recipes it contains, Vij's is a delicious manifesto for a new style of Indian cooking.

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Vij's Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine + Vijs At Home: Relax, Honey: The Warmth and Ease of Indian Cooking + Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London's Ottolenghi
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"Filled with incredible recipes, creative, thoughtful technique, and delightful stories, Vij's invites the home cook into the bustling kitchen of what has been called one of the finest Indian restaurants in the world." (Cookbook Digest 2007-02-01)

"Admit it. You get cravings for Indian food. But it's time to look beyond takeout standards like butter chicken. These days, Indian-inspired menus mix and match cultures and tastes. Invite friends for a buffet full of flavour and spicy aromas, and rent a Bollywood movie. Go Indian -- it's a memorable way to entertain." (Style at Home Magazine 2007-03-01)

"From the twin kitchens of their wildly successful restaurants, Vij's and Rangoli, and now in the pages of their cookbook Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine, Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala have changed the way we experience Indian food." (Eat Magazine 2007-05-30)

"[The recipes are] made all the easier by clear instructions and an excellent introductory section called 'In the Indian Kitchen' that elucidates both technique and ingredients." (Focus Magazine 2007-07-01)

About the Author

Vikram Vij was born in India and grew up in Amritsar and Mumbai. He studied hotel management in Salzburg, Austria, before moving to Canada to work at the Banff Springs Hotel. He opened the original 14-seat Vij's Restaurant in Vancouver in 1994.

Meeru Dhalwala was born in India but moved to Washington, D.C., at a young age. Prior to moving to Canada, she worked on human rights and international development projects. She and Vikram live in Vancouver.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious! Oct. 30 2006
Owners of Vij's in Vancouver; Vikram Vij and his wife, Meeru Dhalwala, have put together a fantastic reference for Indian Cuisine.

The book starts with a detailed explanation of, and some colloquial terms for, the Indian spices and ingredients used within the text that the average North American might not be familiar with. The step by step recipes are simple, and often complimented by narrative explaining differences in methods and results, esp. between the Vij and Dhalwala families.

The tone of the work is very personal and casual; encouraging the reader to experiment with the basic palette of ingredients & spices presented, to create the flavour and texture best suited to their family's taste.

An absolute joy to have added to my kitchen reference shelf!
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
I am a pretty confident cook with a fair bit of experience with Indian cuisine, and I had been looking forward to getting this book for some time.

I just prepared an Indian dinner and prepared a number of recipes from the cookbook. Some were definitely home-runs, particularly the beef short ribs. A few were total failures, and others would have been if I had not made adjustments. Examples:

1) The spiced roasted nuts called for 1 TABLEspoon of salt for one pound of nuts, which made them essentially inedible (and I am fond of salty snacks, and I don't have any particular concern about the health effects of salt).

2) The spiced candied walnuts were also too salty, to my palate at least.

3) Vij family's chicken curry also called for a TABLEspoon of salt for a sauce that was only about 3 cups liquid--learning from my nut experiences [and common sense] I cut this down to 1 tsp, which was more reasonable. The sauce broke down and ended up very oily, so I used an immersion blender on it and it came out great.

4) The sturgeon and mussels in the tomato cream curry also called for a TABLEspoon of salt in about 6 cups of broth--I put in about half that and still found it a bit too salty. This whole dish left me wanting for something: The extra salt notwithstanding, it seemed mainly sour--I can think of a bunch of different ways I would rather have mussels, anyway.

5) The long green beans and potatoes were good with about half the recommended salt (again, a TABLEspoon in about 7 cups of liquid). This dish pointed out another oddity in the recipes: Sometimes, the ratio of the ingredients didn't make sense: Do we really want 9 oz of potatoes and 9 oz of green beans in 7 cups of liquid? I mean, that is soupy even for soup.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book for the more experienced March 22 2010
This is a good reference for Indian food for the more experienced - I've picked up some excellent ideas for flavour combinations etc from here. I wouldn't recommend buying this if you're new to Indian food, because as someone else already pointed out, a lot of the recipes are wrong (i.e. they don't match the food that's prepared in the restaurant with the same names). Watch out for anything that calls for a certain quantity of water, as these are usually about 2-3 times greater than what's needed. I found this with several of the curries, including the Black Chickpea curry.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have! April 10 2007
After an incredible experience at the restaurant in Vancouver, I was somewhat hesitant to test out the recipes themself - what if they didn't live up to the real deal? Fortunately this was far from the case. While the book may seem a little daunting, the recipes are surprisingly straightforward. After making the goat or lamb (I used lamb) in a cinnamon scented curry I was ready to proclaim it my new favorite cookbook. What a spectacular dish and, amazingly enough, concocted in my small kitchen! I would recommend finding good quality spices though; I was lucky enough to have a friend give me a tin of them from Vij's store next to the restaurant and I believe that they make a difference. It's a beautiful book and highly recommended, especially when you don't live close enough to the restaurant!
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5.0 out of 5 stars After years of waiting it has finally arrived! Feb. 11 2007
Being a fan of Vij's restaurant for some years, I was always anticipating the day when they would finally come out with a cookbook. I had a newspaper clipping of one of Vij's recipes from years ago that is tattered and splattered from years of experimenting with just one of their curries! I was clinging to the hope that my repertoire would expand. It finally has thanks to the lovely owners of Vij's, Vikram Vij & Meeru Dhalwala.

Vij & Dhalwala encourage the reader to experiment, and this book will give you the impetus to do so. The pictures and descriptions are superb and will leave your mouth-watering as you decide which recipe to try first. They leave nothing to chance as they carefully guide you through these sometimes complex recipes.

Vij's food is like nothing you've ever tasted before (unless you've had the good fortune of eating there!) Clean, yet complex, flavours dominate. Some might say highly experimental- combining regional foods with an array of Indian flavours.

Downsides? I wish this book was printed in hardcover! Softcover cookbooks do not hold up to the wear & tear that a serious cook will havoc on such a beautiful book!

Also, you will need to find a purveyor of some serious spices. You probably won't be able to accomplish many of these recipes if you are relying on your local grocery store's spice aisle. Find an international or ethnic market. Okay, this experimentation with spices is not really a downside, just a warning.

Asafoetida? Ajwain?
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Highly recommended cookbook. Great restaurant!
Published 25 days ago by Lisa Chee
4.0 out of 5 stars love Vij's but not sure the recipes don't leave out ...
love Vij's but not sure the recipes don't leave out a few tricks...

i think most celebrity recipes do leave out certain flavour enhancers or thickeners that they might... Read more
Published 1 month ago by S. chant
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Dont use much but will
Published 1 month ago by LCS
1.0 out of 5 stars Vij's Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine
I really love the book, I recommend it to my friends. I now like East Indian cooking. A great book.
Published 4 months ago by Marie Kellett
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome recipes !
Love this cookbook !Looking forward to eating at his restaurant. cooked almost all the dishes from this book. Guests loved the food aswell
Published 15 months ago by Anjita
5.0 out of 5 stars Vij's Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine
Indian cuisine is great and Vij and his wife are superior in this compilation of recipes. Would recommmend to all who enjoy ethnic cuisine. Excellent
Published 19 months ago by John Todd
5.0 out of 5 stars Indian cooking made easy
first time using Amazon, thanks for the help...
I could not find this book locally. The book explains the ingredients and their substitutes and makes Indian cooking easy,... Read more
Published 21 months ago by MaryLou
5.0 out of 5 stars Book
This is an excellent book on both Indian Cooking and the Vij family. The book I ordered came on time and in excellent shape and since then I have ordered 2 others for 2 of my East... Read more
Published on Nov. 10 2009 by Doug W. Murray
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Delicious!!
I use this book whenever Im need a meal that is full of rich flavors. Every recipie has worked out lovely. Read more
Published on June 2 2009 by Babs
5.0 out of 5 stars Vij's Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine
I would highly recommend this recipe book. It has great authentic recipes and also provides lots of knowledge on Indian cooking.
Published on May 24 2009 by Linda
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