by Pushpesh Pant

Phaidon Press, $49.95, 816 pages

Stunning ingenuity, impressive presentation and beautiful originality India Cookbook: The Only Book on Indian Food You’ll Ever Need by Pushpesh Pant captivates any would-be Indian food chef. Recipes are simplistic and very typical of any dish, however, this is not a cookbook for the faint of heart or an aspiring cook who likes to improvise ingredients, microwave instead of grill or, God forbid, start a meal at the last minute. A brief history of Indian food is given in the Introduction along with how Ayurveda (traditional Hindu medicine) is used in combination with Indian food. Also, a unique additive to this Introduction is a complete breakdown of the food regions indigenous to the different areas in India giving a fascinating study of the food history, legends and origins.

The recipes are divided into sections by color on soft, construction paper then every 60 pages or so, beautiful photographic pictures of the various dishes on thick, glossy paper. US customary units of measures and the metric system units of measurement are given in every recipe making this a universal cookbook of Indian food. To wrap this Indian food treasure up nicely, a fitted cloth tote bag completes this as an irresistible gift item.

Reviewed by M. Chris Johnson,