For as long as I remember, I had only one bible for cooking and that is S. Meenakshi Ammal’s Samaithu Paar(Cook & See). There are 3 parts to this book and there is nothing in Thanjavur / Kumbakonam cooking which is not covered in these 3 parts. Apart from this, we have our gurus at home in the form of our mothers, grandmothers to learn the recipes and tricks to the art of cooking. And never I’ve felt the need to buy a South Indian Cook-book !!!
Some recent developments in the past few months, made me to opt for the review of “Southern Flavours by Chandra Padmanabhan” through Blogadda and I am glad that they choose me for this review.
Hope u have been following the pics and posts in fb too. 🙂
For me, cooking is always about vision – the measurements are done visually and the appropriateness of the dish is done visually too. Actually we can do the tasting too visually. There is no recipe at home which involves measurements, as these are valuable characteristics that are handed over through generations, probably by genes. So, it was great fun to cook my kind of recipes but checking out measurements often – I felt like a different person in the kitchen.
For the author Chandra Padmanabhan, this is not her first book on cooking. As you can see through the pages, the neat illustrations, the yummy food-pictures, the crisp methodologies are a great plus point to this book.
There are recipes from all the 4 states of South India and the collection is fantastic. While a lot of recipes are so new to me, I could familiarly skip through the Tamil Nadu recipes.
This whole book has been divided into chapters like Basics, Sambhar, Rasam, Poriyal, Rice, Snacks, Sweets, which is absolutely helpful to guide us to the right chapter, based on what your tongue feels like tasting right now.
No recipe book can be reviewed without actually trying out the recipes and how they taste. So began my Cooking from “Southern Flavours” series, where I’ve been trying out a few recipes and reading and understanding the others.
Since thogaiyal (chutney) is an all time favourite at home, I tried the Kothamalli Thogaiyal. The only variation I made was to use a combination of Kothamalli(fresh coriander) and Pudina(Mint leaves). The rest of the recipe was followed to the word and the result was absolutely yummy.
Then it was the turn of Yeruli – the shallot flavoured Colocasia curry from Kerala !!! While I liked the outcome, I felt it was a bit coconut-ty !!! It’s probably due to the fact that we’ve restricted coconut usage in our cooking for the past decade.
And then the Poritha Rasam was brilliant. Tasted fantastic and we all loved it. My house-hold help at home actually commented that my cooking is awesome, after we had lunch together. 🙂
Today morning I tried the Bangala Dumpa Kurma – Potato curry from AP !! I searched the entire collection for something without coconut and I found this kurma !! Awesome tasty – goes well with rotis. 🙂 The only change I made was instead of frying the raw potatoes, I boiled them and used it in the curry. I couldn’t think of frying potatoes cut in 1″ cubes !!!
What I like about the book :
– Easy to understand recipes.
– Precise measurements and time taken to cook the recipe including soaking / fermenting times helps in planning.
– Pictures of dishes make u drool for it.
– A fantastic collection of the recipes belonging to 4 states, where a Tamilian like me can become an expert in making Yeruli !!!
– The glossary at the end is quite useful.
Some things that I was not so fond of / expected but not there:
– The amount of coconut used in some recipes makes me say a big no to that recipe. I would’ve preferred variations to avoid the coconut, as many of the people are conscious about what they eat.
– At a few places, I felt the instruction to switch off stove / turn off heat is not given explicitly.
– Pics of all the recipes are not given. So, to try a recipe without the picture of the outcome, might be difficult – I’ll never know if I made a mistake.
On the whole, a good addition to the Cook-book collection.