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Indian made easy

We all know the feeling. You have eaten in a fine Indian restaurant and think how lovely it would be to be able to recreate amazing Indian banquets for your friends and family at home. And then you find a recipe and look at the page-and-a-half of ingredients and the multitude of steps, and calculate the hours involved. If you are like me, you sigh deeply - and order takeaway!

Well, that need not be the case any more with this book in hand. Here is a fresh approach to Indian cooking, without sacrificing the flavour or integrity of those favourite Indian dishes.

Author, Amandip Uppal, is a former stylist and fashion journalist but, more importantly, she began cooking at nine, taught by her mother and encouraged by her father to trust her instincts and connect to food by sight and smell. After many years spent in food and design, she co-founded one of London's most fashionable catering companies, then an online emporium for food-lovers.

And now, this book, which is a delight to use. Each recipe has one page for the recipe, facing one page of delightful photography, thanks to Lisa Linder. There is a menu planner, and pages to decode the spices and other unfamiliar ingredients - pantry items, spices - which are critical to achieving the authentic flavour of many dishes. 

It is a beautiful book, and even new cooks will find the recipes beautifully easy to make. The ingredients for each dish are helpfully listed in categories: fresh, spices, pantry/larder.

'Stripped back', the author calls the style of the recipes. And they are. But they are also up-to-the minute. For instance, chicken tikka comes in a wrap, fast-tracked courtesy of a multi-purpose marinade found at the back of the book.

There is almost everything you could want within these 256 pages. Bread (naan, parantha, roti), vegetarian dishes, curries, pickles and yoghurts, health drinks - and much more in one place than any Indian restaurant on the planet.

Indian made easy, by Amandip Uppal, published by Murdoch Books, 2016, rrp A$39.99, paperback, (photography by Lisa Linder).

- reviewed by Sally Hammond


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