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This recipe book comes from the team behind the restaurant in London of the same name, Gunpowder, which in turn takes its name from a spice mix, involving chili, curry leaves and asafoetida, amongst others. The book focuses on modern Indian cooking, with a wider array of ingredients, but a focus on spice blends. It is divided into four sections, small places, big plates, drinks / desserts and spice mixes. There is also a glossary at the start, which outlines many of the ingredients used. Some may be familiar, nigella seeds (black cumin), fenugreek, garam masala, but there were others new to me, such as the chana masala, black cardamom and stone flower.
I was keen to try this; I love cooking with spices, and am fascinated by how they build and influence each other. I first tried small plates, the market style scrambled eggs, which was a hugely tasty and filling breakfast. I also tried the kale and corn cakes, which, as my kids pointed out, is remarkably similar to the way I do bubble and squeak. Although in future I'd be tempted to add egg as a binding agent for the 'cakes', as mine tended to fall apart. The watermelon shikanji is a remarkably refreshing drink when hot, something I'd highly recommend, and the kolapuri lamb shanks went down a storm with my house. Although cooked most of the day, the actual attention required isn't that great, but the taste is great.
This is a book to explore and play with over time, idea for the lover of spices and spice blends. Highly recommended
A review from the wife... This is a lovely book with a great range of recipes. Having lived most of my life in India, it had been nostalgic to discover recipes with authentic Indian flavours. I particularly enjoyed the aloo chaat, cabbage and coconut salad and south Indian curd rice recipes as beautiful reminders of India. Some of the ingredients suggested form the 'modern' part of the title, examples including partridge, jackfruit and pheasant. This is certainly not for the majority of recipes and I personally think it's lovely to have some unusual recipes to try for special occasions. There are also handy notes and tips for various substitutions and cooking tips. The book has a great range of unusual but gorgeously flavoured desserts that are definite showstoppers.
I would highly recommend this book if you are looking for authentic Indian flavours with new and interesting ingredients. If you are looking to replicate flavours from your local curry house or takeaway, this is perhaps not the book for you.