on July 9, 2004
The author has provided a book for my generation. Many second generation Indians know what they like to eat, but don't know exactly how to make it. By supplying us with a nearly inexhaustible list of recipes she is allowing my wife and I to eat food that we grew up with and enjoy. In this book, we find a way to make it just like our mothers did. I hope you enjoy this food as much as I do.
on December 1, 2003
I am a white American twenty-something who married a man from India. As a new bride, I was faced with the concern of what to cook for our meals. I wanted the dishes to be what we both liked, but more importantly, I wanted my husband to feel at home. Several times I heard my husband comment on how he likes his food. "No spice. No life," he would always joke. Knowing that Indian food was spicy, I had my answer.
However, I wanted the food to tast authentic. I wanted the combinations of the dishes to mix well. You wouldn't serve friends and family Steak and pizza with a side of cream cheese, would you? Nah, I didn't think so. I was unsure of what books to purchase, and who the 'good' Indian cooks were, but I thought, "How could you go wrong with 1,000 Indian recipes?"
Every meal that I have cooked from this book has been splendid. My first attempt at Indian cooking was the Basic Chicken Curry recipe. As my husband took his first bite, I eagerly awaited his reaction. "How is it?" He replied with, "This is exactly how an Indian would make it!" Relief fell upon my heart and I knew this book was a winner.
This book is not for a beginner. However, an expert would consider the recipes child's play. They take anywhere from 30 minutes and much longer for the one's that need to marinate in special sauces for at least 8 hours. To be able to cook all of the recipes, you should live near an Indian/Arabic/or Ethnic food store, or at least be willing to purchase hard to find ingredients online. Required utensils would be your basic cooking ones, a blender, a coffee grinder, and a food processor. They will definitely make time go by quickly with this book. You will find your most basic recipes, some originals of Ms. Neelam Batra, regional foods, and how to make your own spices, such as Garam Masala.
Since then, I have bought several Indian cookbooks but I use this one the most often for both weekly family meals and as a reference when using the other books. There is a dictionary in the back, meal ideas, and as promised, 1,000 recipes. I give this book my highest rating.
on January 21, 2009
This recipe book is jam packed with more recipes than you could possibly ever need. I admit the index is not very good and it can be hard to find the recipe that you're looking for out of the 1000 included in the book but the sheer amount of quality recipes makes up for it. The recipes cover every food taste (Vegetarian, Seafood, Chicken, Lamb, Beef) and the author provides options for ingredient substitutions. I would highly recommend this book and the price is not bad either!
on September 20, 2003
this is a very, very good cookbook. i have more indian cookbooks than i will admit to, and this one is among the very best. it is not a coffee table book, there are no photos, it is a cookbook for the serious cook who wants great recipes. it is also a great bargain compared to many other indian cookbooks, most of which do not come close to having this number of recipes.
there is an abundance of masala recipes that will simplify cooking for those of us who cook indian frequently. there are many of batra's own recipes, such as the savory apple recipes, that are wonderful. there is a remarkable list of ingredients it the beginning, which maybe the best list i have in all my many, many indian cookbooks, including those by jaffrey and sahni. there is a glossary of indian cooking terms in the back that is very convenient and extensive. the recipes in each section are nicely organized by type of main ingredient (all the cauliflower recipes are together, all the chickpea dals are together, etc.). i also like the color of the ink--as in her first book, it is a very pleasant and easy to read mid-magenta.
the recipes are wonderful. along with a good number of familar recipes, there are recipes unlike any others in my other cookbooks, such as the hyderabadi chicken and cracked wheat and several recipes from goa that are not vindaloo. the instructions are quite good.
criticisms: i have her first cookbook, the vegetarian one, and a brief comparison showed that many of the vegetable recipes in this book are only slightly changed from that one. this is not a bad thing, since batra's recipes are good, but it is a bit disappointing. there are also, in this book, too many okra and eggplant recipes for my taste--i'd rather have had more recipes for cauliflower and cabbage (cauliflower is supposed to be very popular in india, but that popularity isn't reflected in any of my cookbooks). the index is annoying--it lists items generically (for example, chicken) by pages without recipe titles, then, with no apparent logic, lists a few of the generic recipes seperately by title (chicken curry). this leads to a lot of flipping back and forth until you find what you're looking for.
those are minor points. the proof of a cookbook is in the eating, and this one wins easily. this is a necessary addition to a collection of indian cookbooks and an excellent first cookbook for those just beginning to explore.
on January 17, 2003
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. After a trip to India two years ago, I realized that Indian restaurant food throughout the U.S. doesn't come close to the fabulous flavors of this cuisine. The first books I used after my return were the two by Maya Kamal, which are excellent. This work, however, is so much more comprehensive and extensive that it is a MUST for those of us who are interested in dishes beyond curries (although the curry recipes are great). In addition, Ms. Batra's suggestions for American adaptations of Indian ingredients (e.g., using flour tortillas for samosa wrappers) are very helpful. I just finished making three of her chutneys -- spicy apple, cilantro, and cocount-tamarind -- and each was outstanding.
on March 16, 2010
As an Indian food fanatic, I was unhappy with the results from other Indian food recipes I found online. This book has changed the way I cook and, not kidding, changed my life for the better. The chicken curries and lamb curries I have made from Neelam's cookbook have knocked my husbands socks off. Thank you Neelam, I hope you are reading this review. You are my surrogate Indian mother!
on December 12, 2002
Some time ago I reviewed "Feast of India" by Rani and said that book would be the book I would have if I could only own one. That is no longer true. Neelam Batra's "1,000 Indian Recipes" is now at the top of the heap. Comprehensive, does a good job covering the various areas of India, recipes are well laid out, and the index is much more sensible than Rani's book's. It doesn't have as much about technique as some of the other Indian cookbooks, but it's adequate in that regard. Of course, a major strength of this book is that it has lots and lots of recipes ranging from simple to complex. The things I've cooked from it so far have been excellent. Well done, Neelam Batra!
on April 25, 2003
This book is the best Indian cookbook I've seen; it's even better than "Lord Krishna's Cuisine" which I previously had as a favorite.
Beyond the many recipes, Batra gives the reader real understanding of the fundementals of the cuisine including its many regional variations. The chapters on different spice mixtures, masalas, and on vegetable dishes alone would have been a great book. The addition of meat, poultry, and fish recipes makes it even more worthwhile.
Now I have another good excuse to explore the Indian markets nearby and buy more exotic spices. I'm happy.
on February 27, 2004
Although the recipes in this cookbook that I have tried from this cookbook were good, it is difficult to find them because of the poor index. In a cookbook with 1000 recipes, this is a fatal flaw.
on December 9, 2002
This is a great book. I recommend this to everyone who loves Indian food. This book has recipes that your mom made as a kid and you loved but never learned how to make. It also has a lot of variations of the usual. The recipes also try to use ingredients that are easily available in the US. I can't recommend it enough.