Books have the ability to open up an entire universe to us. And this is not specific to any genre. It's fascinating to watch the world from another point of view, to read about memories or understand another person's thought process. It's undeniably a unique experience. Whoever said time machines don't exist, clearly hasn't read a book. For cookbooks, specifically, the beauty lies in the fact that you can keep going back to them. You keep it in your kitchen for easy access and colour it with condiments, pastes, compotes and whatnot. It is someone else's work, but you manage to make it your own somehow.
Since March 3rd is celebrated as World Book Day, we put together this list of cookbooks that will transport you to different worlds—from a nondescript village in India with a million secrets to their food to the comfort of a home kitchen, cookbooks span the whole gamut. I am not sure if you are an avid reader, but I know by the time you finish this article, you'll decide to read at least one of these books.
Instantly Indian Cookbook: Modern and Classic Recipes for the Instant Pot by Madhur Jaffrey
Madhur Jaffrey is an internationally acclaimed television personality and food and travel writer. She is applauded for introducing the western world to Indian cuisine. And this, by the way, was all the way back in 1973 with her book An Invitation to Indian Cooking, a great read. Her most recent book, launched in 2019, Instantly Indian Cookbook: Modern and Classic Recipes for the Instant Pot, and it covers a delightful combination of classic and modern recipes, like butter chicken, Goan-style clams and Kashmiri style kale. The best part? As the name suggest, they're all one-pot wonders.
Parsi Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family by Anahita Dhondy
Anahita Dhondy was raised in a Parsi family, so her book, Parsi Kitchen: A memoir of Food and Family is not just a collection of amazing Parsi recipes, it is also an essay on own experiences and interactions with food. Filled with quirky tales attached to each recipe, this book is refreshing, heartwarming and nostalgic.
Sonal Ved, a senior food writer, editor, host and author, penned Tiffin, an NYT-accredited cookbook that spans over 500 authentic regional recipes from across India. It is a go-to repository and handbook of sorts for anyone wanting to deep-dive into the richness and diversity of Indian cuisine. The award-winning cookbook is bifurcated as per each region and is the perfect manual for a home cook looking to learn more about India's vast culinary repertoire.
Bene Appetit: The Cuisine of Indian Jews by Esther David
Esther David is an Indian-Jewish author, artist and sculptor. Her new book, Bene Appetit: The Cuisine of Indian Jews is an exceptional journey into the community's food and culture. In it, David traverses through the five predominant Jewish communities in India and pens down not only the recipes but also their evolution.
Asma's Indian Kitchen: Homecooked Food brought to you by Darjeeling Express by Asma Khan
Even without an educational background in food, Asma Khan went on to open a restaurant in London with sheer determination. The food at The Darjeeling Express, her Covent Garden diner, serves Indian food and more specifically, cuisine from her Awadhi ancestry and from the bustling street of Calcutta, where she grew up. Asma's Indian Kitchen: Homecooked Food brought to you by Darjeeling Express is not only a cookbook, but also a celebration of heritage, culture and community.
Natasha Kittur is an aspiring writer. Her love for anything with cheese and spice is profound, but a white sauce pasta always tops her list. In her free time you will catch her reading or watching crime books and shows or go on and on about psychological experiments and theories. She aims to write a book in the fictional genre someday.