Thursday, January 28, 2010

Book Review: The Bollywood Cookbook

I can never resist stopping and browsing at a bookshop. and heaven help my poor husband if there is a Book Sale on!

Since we are still in transit, we are living in a guest house where the kitchen is guarded by the (well since they are so young, I can't call them Maharaj's)  Rajkumars of the guest house and I am on a cooking break. We are living out of the suitcases we were able to carry with us on the flight and the rest of our possessions lie in a warehouse until we find a home.

But this could not deter me from buying books at the fantastic 10-90% discount sale at Om Bookshop across its locations in Delhi and NCR. I finally managed to sneak into one of their outlets when the husband wasn't around and came back with a load of books, one of which was The Bollywood Cookbook: The Glamorous World of the Actors and Over 75 of Their Favorite Recipes by Bulbul Mankani.
The book has over 75 recipes as well as part interviews, part nuggets and photographs of the Film Stars whose contributions have  been used in the book. Hence this book can also double up as a coffee table book and the reproduction of some old film posters like "Guide",  "Bobby", "Umrao Jaan", "Pakeezah" could spark off some interesting conversations.

The pictures are lovely and the printing quality is good. The photos of the food that accompany the recipes can easily tempt you into cooking from the book. Some of the traditional recipes like the Manglorean Coconut curries have been given a low fat, low cal twist by the stars, their parents or their cooks.

Contrary to what is sometimes perceived as my indiscriminate picking up of cookbooks, I do read a couple of recipes to get a feel of whether the author is being authentic to the taste of the dish and if ingredients will be easy to find. This book scores high on both counts. Just like someone who reads music, can visualise and hear what the notes will sound like, some foodies who are avid cooks will have an idea what the finished product will taste like, just by reading a recipe.

The reason I don't bake is because I can't follow precise instructions, so I do jiggle with the quantities recommended to suit my own tastebuds and mood, so I cannot tell you how accurate the measurements are. And I have not yet been in my own kitchen to put the recipes to the test, but they seem to have potential.

Some of the stars also share their favorite restaurants with you. I was suprised to see that 2 of Nandita Das's favorties, Aap Ki Khatir and Swagath in Delhi mirrored my own. It somehow makes them more human to read their likes and dislikes about food.

The recipes are Pan Indian and some of them have an International twist to them too. Contributions from Shah Rukh Khan, the Bacchans, the Roshans, Shabana Azmi, Rani Mukerji, Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor among others, span Lucknowi, Mughal, Manglorean, Parsi, Marathi, Rasta and Bengali recipes. So it does give you a wide range of cuisines to choose from.

My only crib about this book so far, is that on page 127 where the recipe is for Suneil Shetty's Uppitu, the accompanying picture is of some paneer dish.

If Bollywood and Food are dual interests to you, then this book is worth your while. Even if just one of the 2 interests you, there is still a lot you can get out of this book.

If you would like to sample a few pages of the book before buying it online, this Amazon link lets you Look Inside.


Asha said...

I have that book, yet to try the recipes but good book to go thru' star recipes! :)

Kim said...

LEt me know, when you get around to trying any of them out :)


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