For those who like to experiment with different cuisines, this book contains simple authentic recipes from places like Mexico and Japan that even a bachelor who’s never donned an apron could handle. But in the same way that some multi-cuisine restaurants try to be everything to everyone, diluting their offer, this new recipe book by Saroj Joshi tries to be all and sundry.
Joshi’s third cookery book, Unique Book of Vegetarian Cooking, covers Mexican, Italian, Indo-Chinese, Japanese, Goanese, Parsi, Italian, Punjabi, Gujarati, Mughlai, desserts and health drinks — all in just over 100 pages. Covering Mexican, Japanese and Indo-Chinese alone would have sufficed.
The good part about the bright green hardback is that the recipes do not expect you to have a Waitrose bang on your doorstep. They have been written with an Indian kitchen in mind (mostly).
The highlight is the Mexican section — a cuisine finally taking off in Mumbai. Here you can learn how to make Salsa, Mexican Rice and Plantain With Sour Cream at home. Tacos and Enchiladas feature too, but they involve making the
batters yourself, which may not appeal to the busy professional. The same recipes using ready-made tortillas would have been better. Guacamole should have been left out as good avocadoes are simply not available here.
The Indo-Chinese recipes feature useful staples such as Vegetarian Manchurian and Chopsuey. But since the only dish from Japan is Sushi, like the Mexican section, the Far Eastern section is too small.
The Italian section has useful recipes that mean you can stop shelling out Rs 200 plus on those jars of pasta sauce and instead you can make pesto and Marinara at home. But the complicated Pizza Upside Down could have been left out. Who will make it?
The Continental section has bizarre unappetizing recipes, one would be unlikely to bother making such as Spinach Waffles and Corn Croquettes. Conversely, the Indian section features tasty street food such as Aloo Chat and Pav Vada, as well as more complex Gujarati delicacies such as Undhiyu and the odd Parsi dish like Dhan Shak. But the north Indian cusine could have been dropped, as this is covered enough.
My advice? Buy it for the Mexian, Italian and Far Eastern recipes.