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There is a whole bunch of fabulous cookbooks by Westland which cover a variety of Indian cuisines, which will be now lost to us, unless they are published by other publishers - which is not a guarantee.
On the 1st of February 2022, retail behemoth announced that Indian publishers Westland and its imprints Context, Tranquebar, Eka and children’s imprint Red Panda will be closed down by the end of February 2022. All these books will no longer be available to buy.
While I have shared a list exclusively by women writers here for you to pick up quickly if you want any of them, while making that list, I realised that there was a whole bunch of fabulous cookbooks by Westland which cover a variety of Indian cuisines which will be now lost to us, unless they are published by other publishers – which is not a guarantee.
I immediately bought a few that went a bit beyond mere recipes, but for the interested cook, they are a treasure that must be snapped up.
Disclaimer: I am putting in links to the Kindle versions on Amazon for the purposes of this article, but please see if you can source the books you want from indie bookstores.
Ranjini Rao, Ruchira Ramanujam
From the bylanes of Shanghai to the farmer’s markets of Santa Monica, Ranjini Rao & Ruchira Ramanujam have been there, done that, and picked up a motley of aromas, tastes and inspirations for their culinary experiments over the years.
Around The World With The Tadka Girls is a diary of the authors’ culinary travels and experiments together, recorded and fine-tuned after several trials and errors. It brings to you fresh, imaginative recipes, inspired by innumerable culinary quests and experiments in different cuisines, all blended with the inimitable Indian Tadka style of the authors’ own kitchens.
Find it here.
Baking often brings to mind comfort food: delicious homemade cakes, decadent brownies, cookies and puddings.
In this wonderful book, Achu Kurian, who has over thirty years experience in baking, brings to you a comprehensive collection of recipes for delicious cakes and desserts — and much more.
Authentic recipes from one of the most popular cuisines in India, in an easy, step-by-step format ideal for modern-day cook.
Dosai features a hundred different recipes from the four South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. This book celebrates the many forms of Dosa, or ‘Dosai’ as it is originally known.
In her fifth cookbook, Chandra Padmanabhan shares the secret of creating perfect Dosais ranging from the tricky Ravai Dosai, to the popular Mysore Masala Dosai, to the luscious Panasa Dosai, to the succulent Halasu Dosai along with some nerve-tingling accompaniments.
East Indians, as the book explains, are a community that grew out of a mix of the cultures of the Portuguese who had their stronghold near the islands that comprised modern day Mumbai – in Bassein, now called Vasai, and the locals of these islands.
East Indian Kitchen shows quickly how the search for a particular recipe and authentic flavours can lead to, or result from, wondrous journeys down the ages.
In Gujarati Kitchen: Family Recipes for the Global Palate, Bhanu Hajratwala brings that secret to life by revealing treasured family recipes.
A step by step guide to one of the most popular cuisines in the world Traditional recipes adapted to modern kitchens, with ingredients that are easily available Every recipe has been tested to offer convenient shortcuts, contemporary methods and better nutrition without compromising original flavor. Covers the complete range of Gujarati food, from starters to desserts, vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes.
This book is that rare thing – a compilation of their mother’s recipes from a lifelong love of the delectable food she cooked, by her 3 children, who speak about it in the Foreword.
This compilation of Hajra Mohemmed’s recipes is a fine example of Kutchi Memon cooking.
In this wonderfully, comprehensive book, nutritionist and author of several cookbooks Padma Vijay compiles a number of traditional and innovative recipes for Indian breads from across the country to bring an incredible variety of flavours to our plates.
With health tips, possible modifications, as well as recipes for dishes served as accompaniments, Indian Breads is a must-have cookbook for every kitchen.
If there is a quintessentially Indian snack—one that quashes dieting diktats and diet restrictions, and instantly evokes the magic of rains and good times—it is a piping hot plate of pakodas.
In this most definitive ‘biography’ of the golden-brown fritter star, Pakodas: The Snack for all Seasons, the author chronicles a wide and hitherto unknown variety of batter-fried (and sometimes steamed or poached) delights.
In her third cookbook, the author of Dakshin and Southern Spice offers a new and exciting range of traditional vegetarian cooking from the kitchens of South India.
This book covers rare, unusual but easy-to-follow recipes from Kongunad, North Arcot in Tamil Nadu, Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh, and the cuisine of the Hebbar lyengar community of Karnataka.
Sinfully Yours is a collection of Shipra’s favourite desserts. It includes classics that her mother and grandmother taught her; sweets that she came up when experimenting in college; desserts that she thought of to keep both her kids happy; the mousse with which she got the first apron in MasterChef, and the mascarpone that she won the competition with.
An exhaustive collection of the most delicious, delectable sweets dishes, this book is a must-have for any dessert lover — and which of us is not one!
Aditya Bal, the celebrated chef of the popular food based show Chakh Le India is out with a cookbook by the same name.
The book a foodies delight showcases recipes cutting across the flavours of the country. It has an array of dishes ranging from meat, chicken, seafood to vegetarian snacks as well as sweets. The dishes essentially Indian promise to tantalize and seduce your taste buds into submission.
Purabi Shridar, Sangitha Singh
There is more to the cuisines of the North East than momos – as thought in the rest of the subcontinent. And it is not even a monolith of any kind – cultures vary widely.
The Seven Sisters: Kitchen Tales from the North East takes us on a journey through the villages, sleepy towns and burgeoning cities of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura, culminating in the kitchens where families gather around the stove to cook, eat and celebrate life.
Dr Aroona Reejhsinghani
Sindhis, once inhabitants of Sindh in present-day Pakistan, are renowned for their entrepreneurial zeal, political acumen – and diverse cuisine.
Sindhi food has soaked in elements from each of the cultures it has been in contact with, borrowing koftas and pulaos from the invading Mughals, and parathas and pakodas from neighbouring Punjab. Yet it also comes with a unique identity, with an array of distinct recipes, such as the vegetable-rich Sindhi curry, the delectable sai bhaji, and the succulent, meaty kuniwaro teevan.
Find it here.
For Shipra Khanna, life imitates food, and vice versa. And in both life and food, it is the simple things that can be beautiful and uplifting. This is the mantra she lives by, and it is the theme that this MasterChef winner from humble beginnings explores in her maiden cookbook.
In The Spice Route, Shipra explores different regions and different cuisines, bringing some old favourites and some new discoveries — but all packed with loads of flavour. It was her innovativeness that blew away the MasterChef judges, and it is what she brings to the recipes in the book as well.
Malathi Srinivasan, Geeta Rao
Globally, Udupi is best known for hotels which churn out “South Indian food”, are super eﬃcient, and easy on the pocket! Little do people know that Udupi cuisine has a vast variety and is not limited to tiﬃns or snacks.
The authors Malati Srinivasan and Geetha Rao showcase the hitherto unknown recipes from Udupi, a coastal town in Karnataka where the Krishna temple acts as a pivot in people’s lives.
One of the first books for the growing vegan population of India, The Vegan Kitchen: Bollywood Style! brings together recipes from no less than 50 leading names from the world of Bollywood, fashion and music.
Anupam Kher, Dilip Kumar, Gulshan Grover, Hema Malini, John Abraham, Mahesh Bhatt, Om Puri, R. Madhavan, Rahul Khanna, Saira Banu, Sonakshi Sinha, Sonam Kapoor, Vidya Balan.. these are just a few who have contributed their favourite recipes, showing how it’s possible to incorporate a delicious, healthy vegan diet with no cholesterol in other words, one with no animal products, including dairy into your life.
If you love eating out, and often come back thinking, ‘I want to make that at home,’ this book is your dream come true. Like a sumptuous menu, these pages are filled with recipes for dishes you have loved—or not yet tried.
They come to you from chefs who hold impressive degrees and boast deep experience. Most of these culinary luminaries have roamed the globe and won awards. More importantly, they have spent hours—indeed years—mastering their considerable skills.
Image source: a still from the film Once Again
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In the last few days I was having a conversation with my younger sister about relationships, and she said something which hit me hard.
I have seen a lot of people feel uncomfortable sharing their age, but I have no such hesitations. I am 32 years old and my younger cousins tell me that I belong to the ‘old generation’. If you are born in the year 1990, you are still considered among them, but if a year less – 1989, you are from the old school.
Being an elder sister, my cousins come to me seeking advice about studies, career and relationships, but when I try to help in the way I understand, the only reply I get is, “Didi, leave it, you’ll not understand it. Aapki generation aur hamari generation mein bahut fark hai. (There’s a lot of difference between your and my generation).”
In the last few days I was having a conversation with my younger sister about relationships, and she said something which hit me hard. Though she is from the new generation and I am from the so-called old generation, we share a lot of mutual thoughts and interests. We spoke about love, how the generation born after the year 2000 perceives love.
You ask any SATC fan. We all wanted a friendship like the one that the 4 girls shared. A friendship that was a rock. A friendship that seemed to withstand the tests of time and in general, life.
I confess that SATC (Sex and the City) has a special place in my heart. I must have watched the 6 seasons and every single episode at that, countless times. Seriously, there was nothing like sitting back with a glass of wine, a bar of dark chocolate and an episode of SATC, after a hard day at work. It renewed me. Made me laugh.
So much so, that I even ended up going for the special SATC bus tour when I visited New York in 2019.
Now some may call the show frivolous but for me, it was pure, honest entertainment. I was in love with the fashion, the ‘fabulousness’, the fun! And it had its moments as well. Moments that were truly thought-provoking, moments that made its viewers take a good, candid look at their own relationships, particularly their female friendships.