Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cookbook: Indian Regional Classics by Julie Sahini

This is one of the cookbooks I chose from which to cook for the Cookbook Challenge hosted by Cynni at She Likes Bento. The Cookbook Challenge is designed to get participants cooking from cookbooks we've had on our shelves for a long time but have never cooked from them. Indian Regional Classics by Julie Sahini [1998] is one such cookbook for me. Unfortunately, once again, I am presenting you with a positive review for cookbook that is no longer available to purchase new from the publisher. Indian Regional Classics is only available from used book sellers or maybe you can borrow it for free at your local library. :)

I happen to own several Indian cookbooks as Indian food is one of my most favorite cuisines. I also own Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahini [1980] which is a phenomenal resource for authentic Indian cooking. Honestly, Ms. Sahini taught me how to cook Indian food right in my own kitchen with that cookbook--dishes that impress even my Indian friends. I highly recommend it. Would you believe I found it at the curb in front of a neighbor's house on recycling day? Best find ever.

Back to the cookbook in discussion! Indian Regional Classics: Fast, Fresh and Healthy Home Cooking by Julie Sahini is a great starter cookbook for anyone looking to dabble in Indian cooking. This cookbook doesn't contain quite the plethora of recipes as Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahini

but there are plenty of recipes for the adventurous home cook looking to learn a few authentic Indian recipes. Indian Regional Classics also pays careful attention to keeping the recipes healthier in this cookbook--always a plus. As the title implies, the author presents a variety of recipes showcasing specialties and styles of cooking from different regions of this vast and diverse country.

The cookbook begins with a discussion on Indian spices and herbs as well as the Indian way of eating. Then the recipes are presented by type--appetizers and soups; breads and savory pastries; rice and grains; tandoori grilling; fish and shellfish; chicken and poultry; meat; vegetables, legumes, eggs and cheese; yogurt salads, chutneys and condiments and finally desserts and beverages. There is also an Indian pantry checklist and a glossary of ingredients. Obviously from those recipe categories, you can see this is not a vegetarian cookbook. There are, of course, numerous recipes that could be prepared with vegetables, beans and grains that would be well suited for a complete vegetarian meal, but many, if not most, of the recipes in this cookbook call for animal products, including dairy.

I made two recipes from this cookbook tonight--Zaffron Pulao [Saffron Pilaf] and Malai Jheenga [Moghul Shrimp in Cream Sauce]. I also oven roasted a few potatoes, carrots and a small head of cauliflower, toasted some store-bought frozen naan in a skillet and made a delicious new-to-me dish of Hirvya Tamatyachi Bhaaji [Green Tomato Sabji] from Aarti's Corner using the green tomatoes from my garden that have been stubborn to ripen on the counter. This recipe was recommended to me on twitter by Joy [Joy's Book Blog] after I posted a photo of way too many green tomatoes I picked from my garden last weekend when I was preparing the yard for the hurricane. So glad I made this dish. It was excellent! Thanks, Joy!
Homemade Indian food for dinner. Yum!
The Saffron Pilaf was delicious--seasoned with onion, cloves, raisins and of course, saffron, it was a special addition to our meal, especially since I usually prepare basic white basmati or jasmine rice in the rice cooker. In fact, all of the rice dishes in this cookbook sound wonderful. I plan on making more in the future.

The Moghul Shrimp in Cream Sauce was mildly fragrant and also quite delicious. My husband thought it lacked a distinct flavor and was rather plain, but my eldest daughter and I liked it. I'm not in a great rush to make it again, but am not adverse to the idea either.

I'll definitely be cooking more recipes from this cookbook now that I've sampled these recipes.

You can visit Julie Sahini at her website .

The Cookbook Challenge runs through the end of November, so if you'd like to join in, visit Cynni's sign up post HERE. Hope to see you cooking from a much neglected cookbook on your shelves soon!

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Weekend Cooking, a weekly blog event hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food related post to share--a food related book review (fiction or nonfiction), cookbook review, movie review, a recipe, random thoughts, gadgets, food quotations, photographs, etc. Please visit Beth's blog for more information and join the fun! 

Note: your post does not have to be posted on the weekend, but do visit Beth's blog over the weekend to link up your post. 


  1. I haven't cooked many Indian recipes, but this cookbook sounds like a wonderful place to begin... if I can find it ;-)

  2. Sounds like a good cookbook. Happy cooking!

  3. Wow. Everything on your plate looks delicious. I really need to try Indian cooking - I've been hesitant so far, even though it's one of my favorite cuisines when eating out!

  4. I love Indian food! Thank you so much for sharing this. And I am glad that you found a good book between those neglected cookbooks :)

  5. I like Indian food, but I have made few dishes myself. Maybe I just need a good cookbook to guide me!

  6. I love Indian food. I'm glad you're highlighting cookbooks that might be out of print because I'll know to look for them at used book stores, yard sales and the library. These look great.

  7. That photo is making my mouth water, and I am not a big Indian food fan; nice job!

  8. Beautiful plate! I love Indian food but have never tried cooking it. Since our fave Indian restaurant went out of business, it's good incentive for me to try. I'll look for both cookbooks at our library. Thanks for the drool-inducing post :)!

  9. Oh that photo you posted looks nice!
    I don't think I've ever tried Indian food though :P
    Still I'm happy you love the cookbook :D it sounds like the food was lovely.

  10. I've never had Indian food. I would like to try it, though. We have ONE Indian restaurant in the city next to us and no others. If you were to suggest a food to try, what would that be?
    Thanks for sharing your cookbooks and recipes!

  11. Indian food is usually too spicy for me. Alas, my tender tummy :-) What a lovely photo of your meal...looks appetizing.

  12. So cool that you used the green tomato dish in a meal of Indian foods. I didn't manage that because I know so little about Indian cooking. But now that I've had one good experience, I should try some more.

    Have you tried cookbooks by Madhur Jaffrey? She was recommended to me awhile ago and my library has some of her cookbooks.

    Joy's Book Blog

  13. It looks sooo yummy, Christine! It's actually so awesome that you actually try these recipes :) My friends and I are always looking for new Indian restaurants... but it always comes back to those staples such as butter chicken. I guess cooking it ourselves would solve the trouble :P

  14. I'm responding to all of your lovely comments SO late! TWO weeks late! So sorry!

    I appreciate you all reading my post on this wonderful Indian cookbook. I've actually cooked two more recipes from it--a cinnamon orange rice pilaf and a moghul chicken korma, both very, very good. So definitely look for this cookbook at your library or used book sales. It's a good one!

    Brandy, If you're feeling adventurous, definitely try the Indian restaurant near you. I would suggest Chicken Tandoori or Chicken Tikka. Both are pretty mild and flavorful. Definitely get it with rice or rice pilaf and order some naan (Indian flatbread). I love vegetable korma dishes.. but ask for it to be made mild for your first time. Samosas are also a hit. You can find them in the appetizer part of the menu. Let me know if you try it!

    Joy, I am familiar with Madhur Jaffrey's cookbooks. I don't own any, but I think she's done a few columns over the years for Cooking Light magazine, perhaps? Or maybe I watched her on a cooking show? I can't remember how I know of her now, but I do know she is a second authority on Indian cuisine in the states.


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