Five Morsels of Love is about Andhra recipes. Photo: Facebook
Regional cookbooks have always been a source of inspiration in the Indian kitchen. Add these bunch of new cookbooks to your collection pronto!
Five Morsels of Love – Based on G. Nirmala Reddy’s Andhra Cook Book by Archana Pidathala
The collection of 100 heirloom recipes from Andhra Pradesh is a tribute from Archana Pidathala to her grandmother G. Nirmaal Reddy, who published the famous Andhra cookbook, Vanita Vantakalu in 1974. Bangalore-based Pidathala got together with food blogger, Chinmayie Bhat to recreate her ammama’s (grandmother) recipes and translated them in English for a wider audience.
For Pidathala, who found terminology such as “dry roast” and “salt to taste” baffling, working on Five Morsels of Love has been a huge learning process. The book includes a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes including simple dal and curries to spicy meat dishes. There are essays that introduce readers to the traditional Andhra flavours and cooking techniques.
Smita Deo’s book is a collection of memoirs, travelogues and recipes from Karwar, a region in Karnataka where she hails from, and Kolhapur in Maharashtra where she was married. While Karwar and Kolhapur are just 6 hours away from each other, their cuisines are vastly different. The Karwar dishes are more subtle and use coconut in abundance, Kolhapuri food on the other hand has heavy lashings of spices.
The book has over 100 recipes from both the regions including some influences from Mumbai. The Karwar recipes are the ones handed down from generation to generation in Deo’s family and the Kolhapuri influence comes from her husband’s family where she learnt the traditional dishes from her mother-in-law. There are recipes like valval – Karwar’s version of avial, dali toi – a lentil dish and fish curry from Karwar and pandhrarassa – coconut milk flavoured mutton curry, kothimbir wadi and the quintessential Kolhapuri missal from Kolhapur. The recipes are peppered with Deo’s anecdotes and learnings in the kitchen.
Karwar to Kolhapur via Mumbai is available on Amazon for Rs 1000.
Happiness is a Stomach Full - Honest-to-Goodness Kerala Cooking by Sreeja Jayaram
What started off as a journal filled with recipes of home-cooked food, is now a cookbook celebrating simple Kerala cooking. Sreeja Jayaram wrote Happiness is a Stomach Full with an intention to share traditional, heirloom recipes from her home state. "This is food that I love and have grown up on...simple, healthy, delicious and completely satisfying," says Sreeja, who grew up in Mumbai and took to cooking for friends and family during her stint in Bangalore.
If you thought the focus is on seafood, you are wrong. Sreeja takes the opportunity to feature some of her favourite and forgotten vegetarian dishes such as Murungapoovu thoran (drumstick flower thoran) and Pachha parangaandi thoran (tender cashewnut thoran) alongwith the ubiquitous appam (type of rice pancake) and puttu (breakfast dish made of rice and coconut). Find recipes for desserts, snacks, pickles, chutneys and spice powders too.
Pick up Happiness is a Stomach Full to recreate some of the most popular recipes from God's Own Country in your kitchen.
Happiness is a Stomach Full - Honest-to-Goodness Kerala Cooking is available on Amazon for Rs. 372.
The Indecisive Chicken by Prajna Desai
Known for its leather industry and slum, Dharavi houses people from varied ethnicities. It is here that author Tokyo-based Prajna Desai found her inspiration for her book, The Indecisive Chicken. The cookbook is the result of the Dharavi Food Project, which saw eight local women from diverse backgrounds come together to cook up regional specialties as part of a workshop last year.
The book has a chapter each dedicated to eight women and their relationship with food. It documents everyday recipes unique to communities and also that is prepared on special occasions. Peppered with little anecdotes that span regional food cultures and myths, The Indecisive Chicken is a wonderful revelation.
The Indecisive Chicken is available on Amazon for Rs 1,350.