Book List – Advance Review, Issue: April 15, 2009
Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen. Bhide, Monica (Author)
Apr 2009. 288 p. Simon & Schuster, hardcover, $25.00. (9781416566595). 641.59.
Product of a culture deeply bound to its traditions, Indian cooking has only recently begun to engage seriously with other cuisines. Bhide spearheads a movement seeking to reinterpret Indian cooking and make it more accessible to the growing international kitchen. Herself an offspring of the Indian diaspora and raised in the Middle East, Bhide eschews standard recipes that can be found in other Indian cookbooks, instead taking Indian ingredients, especially the vast array of spices, and applying them in original, intriguing ways. She concocts a cocktail snack based on Rice Krispies cereal but sharply scented with mustard seeds, turmeric, cumin, and fennel. Green chili chutney tops bits of omelet resting in little pastry shells. Mashed potatoes get a garlic, chili, and coconut kick. Dry rubs anoint both grilled fish and meat. Essays intersperse the recipes, most of them Bhide’s reflections on her family and upbringing.
A revolutionary approach to Indian cooking.
— Mark Knoblauch