Kitchen Bookshelf: Atul Kochhar’s New Cuisine
The Fresh Tastes of India’s New Cuisine: A culinary ride through India – traditional food presented for modern palates.
- Slim book but all the recipes are distinct. Many of these you will come back to again and again.
- Atul presents traditional food from different parts of India so there is a large variation in flavors. Although he is a celebrity chef, he has presented recipes for the home cook.
- Many full page color photographs.
- This is not a teaching cookbook. There are only a few general tips discussed.
- This is not an introductory cookbook. While the cooking style is suitable for home cook, the number of spices he uses is large.
- There is no indication regarding what parts of the dishes can be made ahead of time
Atul Kochhar’s claim to fame: Originally from Delhi, Atul is not only a celebrity chef, he is also a Michelin-starred one. At his restaurant Benaras in London, he cooks up international style dishes with Indian essence. An example menu item being Masala fried squid, braised fennel and red onion salad.
Looking at his restaurant menu, you can’t predict the recipes he presents in the book. The recipes are indeed traditional but made with cleaner meat/fish cuts and modern techniques. The color photographs are prepared for restaurant style plating.
If I had to choose one recipe from the cookbook, it has to be the Achari Chicken from Rajasthan. Maybe I am biased. I spent my early childhood in the small town of Alwar in Rajasthan – a town renowned in India for a sweet called kalakand – slightly curdled milk that is dried to a sweet cake. Rajasthan is a desert state – beautiful castles scattered about an arid landscape. The recipes from this region reflect the landscape – spicy but without a lot of curry sauce, and made with a few ingredients. Achari Chicken is a quintessential recipe from the region. Achari means pickled. It is not really pickled, it has the spicy punch – boneless chicken leg meat, is slowly fried in spices and tomato paste. The result is a spicy, sweet, sour, soft nuggets of chicken coated in a tomato sauce. If there ever was a dish that is perfect with plain naan or a paratha, this is it.
Other pages from his book: