Personal current rule: I am not allowed to start working through a new cookbook until I finish with the current one. I’m close, and should be able to start a new cookbook by about mid-June. That hasn’t stopped me from building up a small pile of potential successors, including Indian-ish. This means that I have read through the book, but not yet tried anything from it.
This book is really three things at once: an introduction to Indian cooking (both in terms of ingredients and techniques), a recipe book, and a collection of family stories. The book manages to pull off all three reasonably well. The pictures are useful for things like finally being able to tell the difference between three different types of dal (lentil), and the spice guide provides useful (to me) advice on substitutions and places for purchase (often the local Indian grocer, assuming you have one, or the Internet).
Many of the recipes in the book are reasonable for pretty much anyone to try. Except for a few spices, ingredients are readily available at most any grocery store, and you don’t need much in the way of specialty equipment or specialty ability. All but about 4 of the 100 or so recipes are vegetarian (and quite a few are vegan), which suits me just fine, and those which aren’t vegetarian could probably be made that way if so desired.
Nearly every recipe comes with a relevant little story about how family is connected to the recipe, and most of the family members are described in a way that gives them personality (Dad for example has a thing for making his own yogurt and has gotten pretty good at it). Recipes range from what you’d expect in an Indian cookbook, like Paneers, Dosas, and Dals, to more fusion-like options such as Malaysian Ramen, a ribollita, and pizza.
The book is also quite pretty. There is a lot of color. There are photos of most all recipes, a lot of people, and a handful of cartoons in a style that I recognize but can’t name (there’s one on the cover).
I fully intend to try making most of the recipes in this book, although I do have to wait a bit to start. That said, this is one of those cookbooks that’s also kinda fun to just read. Although it would be a shame to only read it and not try actually making anything, even if it’s just to see if the author’s descriptions match your own taste.