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Masala Farm: Stories and Recipes from an Uncommon Life in the Country Hardcover – Nov 30 2011
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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 perspective. Alice Waters - Owner, Chez Panisse Restaurant "Suvir and Charlie have created a home in the countryside made of magic, an impeccable sense of fashion and an art collection from their travels to every corner of the world. Masala Farm is the perfect blend of The Selby and Green Acres, where their chickens roost in style and produce the most sublime eggs I've ever eaten. The experience of creating food together, with ingredients from the farm and local community had an intensity of flavor and sense of love I never thought could be recreated outside of that kitchen. But, the recipes from the Masala Farm cookbook bring all those flavors and the feeling of their bucolic farmhouse to my kitchen in the city." Zoe Francois - Author, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day "Two urban men, Charlie from West Virginia, Suvir from New Delhi, India, fall in love with country life on remote American Masala Farm and woo the neighbors with Grandma Mae's biscuits, Masala fried chicken and an Indian Auntie's sensuous fruit cake in the globally inspired cooking of this marvelously gifted chef. Reading their intimate tales as they leap into local folkways and acquire an expanding family of heritage animals is a rich pairing with Suvir's delicious dishes -- at once familiar and surprising." Gael Greene, Author, Insatiable: Tales From a Life of Delicious Excess and InsatiableCritic.com "Suvir and Charlie's Masala Farm represents everything I love about the food world. Globally inspired but growing where it is planted..... for them that means the deeply verdant hills of Upstate New York. Suvir and Charlie aren't out to save the world or obnoxiously climb on a soapbox and get too preachy. This is real food for real people, spun through the fabric of the lives of two men from opposite corners of the world who made their dream their home." Andrew Zimmern - Author, host and creator of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern U
About the Author
Suvir Saran is a New Delhiûborn cookbook author, cooking instructor, Indian food authority, and the executive chef/owner of Devi in New York. He divides his time between Manhattan and upstate New York.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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!
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.