There’s nothing quite like the seduction of a sumptuous cookbook. It makes you salivate as you turn the pages, propels you to muck around in slushy fish markets, to smile beguilingly at vegetable
as you haggle over, say, the season’s first sweet potatoes, to haunt supermarket aisles for this or that elusive ingredient – saffron from Kashmir, sweet limes from Andhra Pradesh, chow chow from Kodaikanal… You aren’t an adventurous cook so you didn’t even know of the existence of this last squash before you stumbled upon it in The Bangala Table; Flavors and Recipes from Chettinad by Sumeet Nair, Meenakshi Meyyappan and Jill Donenfeld.A quick google reveals it is native to Mexico but has been enthusiastically adapted by southern Indian cuisines. The information intensifies your incipient sense of being a failed south Indian – "You’ve never heard of seema kathrikka curry?" "No Amma, I haven’t, forgivez moi" – but does nothing to diminish your enthusiasm for this superb cookbook with mouthwatering photographs by Rohit Chawla.