I ve been wanting to do this for so long. You can call me a food bibliomaniac or bibliophile. If you spot me at a book store, i can guarantee you that you ll find me nibbling along those glossy books in the Food Books aisle. I get attracted to cook books like a mouse does to cheese. My obsession to collect recipes, techniques of cooking and a jillion other things related to food is unceasing. It s no big a wonder for a person like me to grab the opportunity to review a book by Chandra Padmanabhan on south indian food delights. Southern Flavours amazed me from cover to cover. I ll tell you more about it. In the meanwhile let me make my very important announcement. ( ahem..) From now on, the first tuesday of a month, i ll treat you to a peek into my cook book stockpile. I ll review one book and cook from it too. Tune in every first tuesday to read from my new series Cook Book Tuesdays. And of course if you want to review a book for me as a guest on my blog, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chandra Padmanabhan s new book Southern Flavours is truly a south indian s primrose path. The book is complete with all the nitty gritty of south indian cuisine accompanied with some mouth watering speciality dishes from states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. When that unpretentious package in green arrived, little did i know that i was going to fall in love all again with south indian cuisine. I am a south indian body, flesh and soul. I love my sambhars and poriyals. I find dunking my fingers into a bowl of curd and licking it up a headlong ecstasy. In that sense, the book made me dizzy with its classy assortments of dishes into sambhars, rasams, kootu and poriyal and some snacks. But what i really loved about the book were the basic recipes.
The book is like manna from heaven for all cooks novice and accomplished, complete with recipes of rasam powder, Kuzhambu powder, sambhar powder and poriyal podi. It even has a section of suggested menus for both a la carte meals and buffets. Wow was all i could say after i read through.
The array of rasams that the author has given for us to cook is simply splendid. I ve never had the good fortune to eat kosu carrot rasam or vendhaya rasam. She continues to dazzle us by her choice of names in the sambhar section with Sheela auntie s pulusu and chitra s keerai sambhar. Some of the dishes like the summa kuzhambu in the book sent me into fits of laughter and intrigue. Her musings about each recipe makes you travel retrospect. I couldnt resist cooking from the book. The quantities mentioned are on the button and the methods are top notch. Thanks to her book, i ve now discovered the recipe to perfect paruppu urundai kuzhambu. Previously, my paruppu urundai used to harden up after a while but Chandra s version is a fail safe one which will be a winner at all times. Here s a pic of my kuzhambu. Recipe will follow soon.
The second brownie point scorer in the book is the medley of poriyals and kootus. While i was drooling over the guthi bendakai recipe, the beetroot carrot potato stir fry seemed a very simple yet hearty accompaniment to my menu for the lunch. The vendhayam poriyal and kudamilagai thayir pachadi piqued me too.
This is my beet carrot and potato stir fry. It was a breeze to make and the combo of the veggies just took me by surprise. The addition of black pepper almost made it exotic.
Even after three big bestsellers in her repertoire, Chandra Padmanabhan continues to enthrall us with her timeless recipes and vignettes of them. A wonderful gift for a wife to be or a bachelor who lives alone. Or for that matter for any one who wants to delve deep into the lovely choices south indian cuisine has to offer.
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