To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness.
I've always been reluctant to buy cook books in Kindle format. I like to be able to flick through a cook book and look at the pictures, check out at a glance whether I have all the ingredients and then - more often than not - just cook an old familiar favourite instead. Recently I spotted three really great-looking cookbooks on Amazon for 99p each and I figured they must be worth a punt. 'Gunpowder' was the first I've actually read.
Confession time; I've not actually attempted to cook any of the recipes yet so I can't tell you how easy or followable they are.
Pros: I like the stories about why they picked the recipes, the links to the family histories of the owners and chefs at the Gunpowder restaurant. I like the breadth of regional coverage within India - there are recipes from all over - and on screen at least, the recipes seem to be quite straightforward.
Cons: not everything comes with photos - and it's always a good thing to have at least a rough idea what the finished dish is supposed to look like - and if, like me, you don't live in a major city with easy access to the rarer ingredients, not everything seems very viable.
The recipes cover a wide range of needs - vegetarian, pescatarian, omnivorous, starters, sides, mains, desserts and drinks are all included. There's no pressure to serve things in an authentic way - you can mix your dishes, your sub-regions, and eat what you like without feeling you have to meet any kind of rules.
Perhaps once I've had a go at some recipes I'll be back to upgrade or downgrade the rating.
apart from the insistence that kalonji was cumin when it is actually black mustard seed, even for somebody who has an extensive range of weird and wonderful spices in their cupboard some used in the book were just inaccessible. Some interesting recipes but too much fish and game for my taste, which made a small amount of recipes I was interested in
I was rather looking forward to receiving this to add to my sizeable Indian cookbook collection. I was dismayed within seconds of opening to read (page 10): "BLACK CUMIN (NIGELLA) SEEDS - Also known as nigella, black cumin..." No! Just no! They are totally different things - black cumin a.k.a. kala zeera = Bunium bulbocastanum; nigella a.k.a kalonji = Nigella sativa, unrelated to cumin. People should desist from this unfortunately common misleading misnaming. And then on page 93 I read "Dishes like 'vin'- daloo reference the use of vinegar" whereas in fact it references the wine in the original dish.
As to the recipes themselves, I find it very hit and miss. More miss than hit in fact. I don't like: • The heavy fusion element - chutney cheese sandwiches, savoury French toast, avocado dip, cheesecake, crème brûlée, rhubarb and custard, parfait, bread and butter pudding; • The restuarant-y as opposed to home cooking element - dishes with scallops, lobster, spider crab, partridge, quail, pheasant, wild rabbit - means it's a little meat-&-fish-heavy; • The use of not necessarily easy to find ingredients - deggi mirch, yellow chilli, jackfruit, banana leaf, banana flowers, wild garlic, red Goan rice; • That for some dishes it's not obvious quite what they are and the intro is no help - more photographs - indeed a photograph of every dish - would have been very welcome
There are a few recipes in here which sound like real winners - dum-pukth chicken with its big helping of fenugreek leaves (though it's not made clear whether fresh or dried are intended, but the quantity 8tbsp perhaps implied dried), kolhapuri lamb shanks (assuming you can actually get hold of deggi mirch and yellow chilli powder), but they feel like relatively few within the book as a whole. Something of a disappointment for me, therefore.
The book is a high-quality hardback, printed on a nice weight paper and with many full-colour photographs, not all of them relevant to the recipes. It has a short list of sources for ingredients and it boasts an index.
I had hoped for recipes that are true to their source but these herein are too hybrid for me. Some of the ingredients are given incorrect names - black cumin is not nigella seed - and some are just ridiculous for anyone living outside curry mile in London. I have no access to jackfruit, banana flowers or spider crabs; perhaps I can find them online but the added cost of shipping and the inconvenience of waiting makes the recipes impractical.
There is a heavy emphasis on anecdotes and cosy little family stories which I don’t care for. This is supposed to be a cookery book, not an Indian version of Mrs Dale’s Diary. Claudia Roden pulled it off beautifully in her Book of Mediterranean Food but it just doesn’t work in this book.
I found the food photography over-arranged; in the photographs the food looks handled and a bit pulled about. Of course one does not have to emulate that look in one’s own kitchen. I tried the spiced cauliflower (from the pickled scallops recipe - scallops are beyond my pocket) recipe and with a bit of tweaking it was okay. True, I didn’t have any wild garlic because it doesn’t grow where I live, so maybe that would have made a difference. I also tried the Bhuna aubergine and that was passable. There is too much deep-frying for my taste so I shallow fried the aubergine and omitted the deep-fried kale.
I wanted to like this book and I don’t. There are suggestions in it I will try and perhaps use as a start but the book itself no longer attracts me. I wish it did.
Was hoping for a collection of authentic Indian recipes but haven't found it in this book. Good quality print and paper but that's all there is to it. A lot of recipes look made up and rather westernised if that's the way to put it, which really defeats the purpose of this book. Chutney cheese sandwich? Pork ribs with ingredients such as ketchnup and cider vinegar? Masala fishcakes? All this is fine, in theory, but not really what I expected in a book devoted to Indian cooking. I'd be rather inclined to put it in a category of miscellaneous recipes with an Indian twist!
Nothing wrong with that but it wasn't clear to me from the description of the book.
3.0 out of 5 starsBeautifully presented, but rather inaccessible modern and fusion recipes
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 7 October 2018
This is a beautifully presented book, and one that focuses on modern, restaurant versions of Indian food as well as quite a lot of fusion dishes, rather than anything particularly traditional. This does follow the cookery book trend of presenting a single recipe on a page, with a full page colour photo of the dish (usually next to it), and occasional filler pages of pictures of the Gunpowder restaurant (some in atmospheric black and white), ingredients and utensils, so in addition to the practical aspect of the recipes it has a lovely gift/coffee table book quality.
As beautifully presented as the book is, ultimately I find myself more daunted than inspired by it. The list of ingredients required for many of the dishes is huge and includes a significant number of 'out of the ordinary' items that require online or specialist Indian supermarket sourcing - which presents problems both of accessibility and cost. I find myself struggling to imagine the flavour profile of many of the 'large plate' main dishes in order to work out whether my family would actually enjoy them if I went to the trouble of sourcing ingredients and making them. I was happiest with some of the small plate and side dishes, which feel more practically achievable - and less soul-destroying should my family decide to 'yuck' them.
Oh help, I was hoping for a book that would enable me to make good curry dishes, but alas I am at a loss . The list of ingredients is too long for a cook who is not aiming to go on master chef. It is definitely a chefy book rather than a home cook. On the positive side beautiful photos. This book will be perfect for someone , just not for me😢.