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‘Masala Memsahib’ book review: Easy and accessible recipes

‘Masala Memsahib’ book review: Easy and accessible recipes

I don’t cook regularly. But I’m fascinated by cookbooks. And I’ve recently begun collecting cookbooks as well. Did I cook much in the past month? No. But did I buy several cookbooks and spend hours going through them? A big, resounding yes. It’s comforting to know that I have an arsenal of recipes at my disposal should I ever need them. One of my all-time favorites is Reader’s Digest’s ‘The Great 5-Ingredient Cookbook’ which has recipes of 250 simple, healthy dishes that you can whip up in less than 30 minutes.

‘Masala Memsahib’ by Karen Anand has recently been added to my list of favorites. This is a cookbook in memoir form. It’s part travelog too. It takes us on a journey across five Indian states, namely Goa, Gujrat, Kerala, Maharashtra, and West Bengal. There is a smattering of mouth-watering local cuisines along with their histories. Anand also gives brief introductions to different eating and cooking practices, and shoutouts to people who have influenced her in her culinary crusade of sorts across India.

The book is divided into different sections, each dedicated to a certain type of cuisine. There are 100 plus delicious, easy-to-replicate recipes. Most recipes in Masala Memsahib are authentic home-style recipes. The focus is on harnessing the natural flavor of the main ingredient using the right masala combination and not letting the spices overpower the dish.

I love the recipes of the Prawn with Green Chilli, Boatman Fish Curry, and Corn in a Creamy Sauce. They can be whipped up in minutes with basic ingredients that almost every household has in its pantry. Anand runs a successful gourmet business and consults for luxury hotels and restaurants. Her love for food is evident in Masala Memsahib where she offers genuine and practical tips and tricks to make delicious meals.

The book is interspersed with photos not only of food but of people Anand has met in the course of her travels. It feels like a photobook because of the perfectly-shot full-page photos. I have taken to keeping the book in my living room and dipping into it whenever I have some free time. I usually find I’ve spent more than the several allocated minutes going through the book and have marked a recipe or two to try out next. Masala Memsahib is great for those who don’t have much culinary expertise but would like to, every once in a while, prepare a gourmet dish to surprise their family members.

Masala Memsahib

Karen Anand

Published: 2022

Publisher: Macmillan

Pages: 252, Paperback