Fresh India by Meera Sodha – A Review
Fresh India is written by Meera Sodha and in this post I tell you what to expect from it.
In this post, I want to share with you how I got on with Fresh India.
This year, my birthday was a rather significant one. This happens once about every ten years. A big birthday means your friends may send you tokens of their love and if you’re very lucky, they know you very well and send you just the right thing for you. My lovely pals, Alan and Lucy, sent me Fresh India by Meerha Sodha and it was so gratefully received.
Fresh India is an Indian cookery book of sometimes vegan but always vegetarian recipes. This is of particular interest to me for two reasons. The first one is that, I’m lucky to be living within very reasonable distance of some outstanding Indian restaurants. I’m a big fan of Ananda in Dundrum, 3 Leaves in Blackrock and Daata in Bray. The more I explore the food of India and Pakistan and the more I’m eager to learn more and try making it at home. The second reason is that a large number of my friends is vegetarian, and when I cook for them I like to stretch myself and make an effort. After all there is no better way to tell people you love them than by feeding them well.
For these reasons, I was very excited to try out a few recipes from Fresh India. So I spent the guts of an afternoon leafing through the recipes, taking notes, checking the freshness of my spices and drawing a list of basics I needed to refresh or purchase for my cupboard. It was a joyous afternoon. I selected 4 recipes I wanted to try over the next few weeks. I started off with the oven baked onion bahjis and an indian style salad. I made the blackened sweet corn some evening during the week as it was a very simple recipe. I followed it up with a more intense cooking session a couple of weeks later where I made a potato curry and a dhal and.
As indian cooking from scratch is far out of my zone of comfort, I studied the recipes and followed them to the letter. In the past, when I used to hate coriander, I would have replaced it with a lot of parsley but in this instance I’ve been able to just make and eat the dishes as intended by their author.
I found Fresh India to be full of exciting recipes for colourful food that bursts with complex combinations of flavours and complementary textures. It is far more exotic that what I normally would cook myself, but I’m so glad I tried a few recipes rather than what I normally would do, which is simply read it, shelve it and maybe come up with something vaguely inspired by it.
A lot more effort goes into Indian food than what I am used to in my daily cooking routine. There are layers of spices, where I would normally bong them up in the pot together and forget about them. I had lots of fun in the kitchen but it’s mainly because I was happy and prepared to give up a few hours of my time to cook dinner.
Fresh India is not a book for nervous or inexperienced cooks, Meera writes well but could maybe give a little bit more guidance for certain things (ie. what kind of potatoes we should use or what size a pot you should use). Those are a little things that can make a dish spectacular or average and avoid you a heck of a headache in the kitchen.
All the photos in this post are of the dishes I cooked from the book. To wrap up, I was very grateful to be gifted such a thoughtful present and it is a book I will be buying for others who like me want to step outside of their comfort zone and try something far more exciting and complex than our norm. If you want to buy it yourself or simply have a look, you can find it here. Please note that this link is an affiliate link which means that if you were to purchase the book after clicking through it, Amazon would pay me a small commission (this does not increase the prize of the book for you) and I would keep being able to feed my cook book addiction.