Rick Stein is one of the most famous cooks in the UK. His latest series Rick Stein’s India has recently finished on BBC Two and saw Stein touring India in search of the perfect curry whilst offering up plenty of recipes along the way. Of course to complement the series Stein has released a book of the same name containing lots of the recipes from the series so you can try and make them at home.
Rick Stein’s India takes you off the beaten track and away from the Westernised version of Indian food that you would get served in most restaurants in the UK. Whilst there are some dishes you’ll recognise they are different to the bog standard versions you’re probably used to. All of Stein’s recipes are bursting with flavour and require you to have a rather stocked up cupboard of ingredients.
Separated into 6 main chapters, Stein groups the recipes together either by main ingredient type (e.g. vegetable, fish) offering plenty of recipe ideas for each. Whilst we generally prefer our Indian food to be packed with chicken, Stein has given us a lot of ideas to try and surprisingly it’s the chapter focusing on vegetable dishes that got us most excited. As well as a variety of soups there are some recipes we simply wouldn’t have thought to try. The Breakfast Bhaji is a welcome alternative to an English fry-up and adds a bit of tasty spice to a dish packed with potatoes, carrots and eggs. Other highlights include the Spinach Curry with Green Chilli Yogurt and Indian Cheese, and Quick-Fried Beans, Carrots and Peas with Freshly Grated Coconut. Both recipes are ones that will be filed away for our favourites list and revisited frequently.
Elsewhere in the book there are plenty of recipes for fans of seafood, chicken and other meats. Recipes we couldn’t wait to try included the Chicken and Apricot Curry with Potato Straws, which is as delicious as it sounds, and the British Beef Raj Curry which mixes fruity flavours with mouth-watering beef. The final chapter of the book focuses on desserts which rely heavily on nuts which will be a disappointment for anyone with a nut allergy (like this reviewer!).
The book is as much a collection of photos as it is recipes. The photography in the book by James Murphy is absolutely stunning and captures the Indian culture remarkably. His photos punctuate the book tantalising the taste buds and highlighting what life in India is like. There are also plenty of photos to accompany the recipes so you know what your dish should look like.
If you’re not very adventurous when it comes to Indian food then Rick Stein’s India is likely not the book for you. The recipes celebrate and embrace traditional Indian cuisine offering a variety of dishes that you’re unlikely to find on the menu down at your local curry house. Indian cooking requires patience and a bit of trial and error to adjust the flavour to suit how you prefer your spice level. If you’re up for a challenge then this is a great book to add to your cookery collection.