Indian cuisine can seem intimidating to home cooks due to the variety of spices, cooking methods, and regional flavor variances. Fortunately, there are a ton of food books available that thoroughly explain things like the many kinds of lentils and how to make the ideal curry mix.
Consider this a modest beginning because it’s hard to encompass all of India—a nation with 29 states and a population of more than 1.3 billion people—in one tidy list. These essential food books cover both regionally and “authentically” Indian recipes as well as those that have Indian influences. There is something for everyone because they range from beginner-friendly to ambitious. Shiva Shakti mentioned a few food books along with their authors.
1. Madhur Jaffrey's "An Invitation to Indian Cooking"
Jaffrey is frequently cited as one among the innovators who introduced Indian cuisine to western consumers. Even though she has since published dozens more fantastic cook books, her first one has grown to become a need for any home cook. Whole wheat samosas, kheema, and tomato chutney are a few of the popular recipes that predominantly emphasize Delhi cuisine. This book is particularly useful for hosts who enjoy arranging elegant dinner party menus. Because Jaffrey provides serving suggestions and a few other dishes to pair at the end of each recipe. Get Now!
2. Sameen Rushdie's "Indian Cookery"
Indian Cookery was only recently reprinted and distributed in the United States, replete with a lovely vibrant cover, despite the fact that the original version was published in the U.K. in the 1980s. The foreword is written by Rushdie’s brother, novelist Salman Rushdie, and throughout the lyrical explanations, justifications, and anecdotes about each ingredient, hints of the familial literary gene may be seen. Similar to Jaffrey’s book, this relies more on directions than pictures. So shrewd home cooks who prefer stories to pictures will want to add it to their library. Get Now!
3. Raghavan Iyer's "660 Curries"
This substantial collection is probably the most thorough curry bible you will ever read. Each recipe reads like a short cooking tutorial since Iyer not only writes food books but also teaches home cooking. The foundations of making a superb curry are laid out in the first few chapters, from spice blends and pastes to dipping sauces, before delving into the bewildering variety. There is a curry here for any cook, no matter how experienced they are in the kitchen. The cookbook is also suitable for almost any diet because it includes recipes for curries that are vegetarian and pescatarian. As well as others that include red meat and chicken and different combinations of all of the above. There are additional instructions for biryanis, fragrant rices, and breads like baati and naan in case that isn’t enough. Get Now!
4. Asma Khan's "Asma's Indian Kitchen"
Khan may be recognized as the first chef from the United Kingdom to appear in the Netflix series “Chef’s Table.” Her first cookbook, which was published in 2018, explains why. The fundamental significance of food in Indian celebrations served as the inspiration for the cookbook’s overarching subject of feasts. “There is no reason why each and every meal should not be a feast worthy of royalty,” says Khan in the preface. Most of the recipes in the book are vivid, happy, and ideal for a daily feast, which is only fitting. A vibrant beetroot raita and a flavorful chicken korma with saffron are two standouts that are both satisfyingly Instagrammable. Get Now!
5. Meera Sodha's book "Fresh India"
Given that India boasts the biggest percentage of vegetarians of any nation. It seems natural that Indian cuisine excels at the plant-based food game. With 130 easy recipes, Sodha’s second cookbook, which is entirely vegetarian, will help any herbivore get over their salad blues. Daal, curries, pickles, and chutneys come in a variety of flavors, in addition to drinks like ginger tea and fruit lassis. Most importantly, her recipes stress approachability with simple preparation and few stages. It is presumably why the book is a favorite among Chowhound users. Get Now!
6. Chetna Makan's "Chetna's Healthy Indian"
Makan is a familiar face to viewers of “The Great British Bake-off,” which is known for its laid-back and encouraging atmosphere. In her most recent cookbook, Makan abandons the cake pans and focuses on family meals in order to dispel the myth that Indian food is unhealthy or fatty. “But this is the reverse of what you would find in any Indian household kitchen,” she says in her introduction. Her statement is supported by the upcoming recipes, the majority of which are plant-based and use little to no oil. Delicious and reviving dishes include stuffed okra, yogurt curry, and cumin paneer salad. Your sweet craving won’t be let down however because the book ends with a chapter on desserts like spiced chocolate bark and coconut barfi. Buy now!
7. Priya Krishna and Ritu Krishna's song "Indian-ish"
Krishna’s cookbook focuses on food through the prism of Indian flavors and techniques rather than aiming to describe strictly “genuine” Indian cuisine, as suggested by the humorous title. It values family recollections, funny tales, and comic pop artwork created by Desi artist Maria Qamar most of all. As a result, simple and approachable recipes that can be prepared on hectic weeknights are produced, such saag feta and roti pizza. They also give an excellent overview of some basic culinary methods and spices. Hence they can serve as a springboard for future creativity and experimentation. Get Now!
8. Sonal Ved's "Tiffin"
“Tiffin” aims to draw attention to the distinctive culinary traditions of India’s various regions by taking its name from the cylindrical stacked lunch pail that is frequently used for lunch packing throughout the country. The 500 recipes that arise from it are arranged geographically and at least one is from each of India’s states (a rather rare feat among Indian food books in the west). Among the standouts are macrolyun patata, a Sindhi macaroni dish, and kutchi kadak, a spicy Gujarati bread and potato dish. However “Tiffin” is a fantastic introduction to the enormous variety of Indian cuisine there is if you’re trying to broaden your understanding of it. Get Now!
9. Season, a Nik Sharma book
Sharma jokingly joked on Twitter that he had to leave America in order to be recognized as an American chef. However, if you glance through a couple of the dishes in “Season,” you’ll see how distinctly American his cuisine is. Sharma combines tastes from his time in the Midwest, Washington, D.C., and California with those from his childhood in Mumbai in recipes such as masala chai apple cake, bacon salt, and bombay frittata. Sharma’s own stunning photography is also featured throughout the guidebook, making it more appealing to visual home cooks (or budding food photographers). Get now!
10. By Ashok Bajaj, Vikram Sunderam, and David Hagedorn, "Rasika: Flavors of India"
Fans of the contemporary Indian restaurant Rasika in Washington, DC were thrilled when the cooks finally revealed the recipe for their renowned palak chaat, or fried spinach, in this cookbook. Rasika is an award-winning restaurant for a reason—the dishes are frequently more complicated and time-consuming than some of the other choices on this list, requiring additional stages, lengthier wait times, and more prep. However, those who are willing to put in the time will be guided by a helpful lexicon of ingredients and thorough directions, and ambitious home chefs will be well compensated for their sweat, blood, and tears. Along with palak chaat, other delicacies like sweet potato samosa purses and an eggplant lasagna may alter your perception of Indian food. Get Now!