Chef Suvir Saran is a busy man. Between dishing out regional Indian dishes at his award-winning Manhattan restaurant Diva, opening a new chain of restaurants, contributing to Food Arts magazine and teaching New York Times featured Indian cooking classes he still manages to prepare heart-warming, flavorful meals for his lucky family and friends. And, he still finds time to put together a few of his favorite recipes for a new cookbook, American Masala.
Masala, the Hindi word for a blend of spices – is at the heart of Indian cooking and in his latest book he blends traditional Indian spices, techniques and ingredients with some American classics. The mix of recipes in American Masala is both eclectic and familiar, the dishes have complex flavors yet are all simply prepared. For example, party favorite guacamole gets a spicy lift with the addition of toasted cumin as do his Quesadillas with Pico de Gallo. And, a tamarind glaze adds a much welcomed kick to that old stalwart Meat Loaf.
Some of the most tempting twists include the Shrimp Poha Paella; Fried Chicken Masala; Indian-spiced Meatballs with Tomato-chile Sauce and the Not-so-dull Dal. Depending on your perspective and your own approach to cooking it is either odd to have Baked Ziti with Vegetable Sauce and Lavender Roast Chicken tucked in next to Goan-style Shrimp Curry and Tahiree Rice Casserole or just plain convenient. It all works so well together because regardless of their origin these dishes are all fresh, inviting and easy to prepare. To top it off, American Masala is beautifully designed with color photographs of many of the finished dishes. This is terrific cookbook for those home cooks wanting to play with the flavors and ingredients of Indian cuisine without straying too far from the familiar.
Categories - Regional, International