Believe it or not, one of my favorite Indian cookbooks is published by Betty Crocker. It was written by Indian food expert Raghavan Iyer and titled, Indian Home Cooking. The book title seemed modest but the 2001 work is full-color and loaded with practical information, including a detailed guide to buying the many kinds of legumes used in the Indian kitchen. There’s a super helpful photo identifying them so you don’t get confused at an Indian market.
Based in the Midwest, Raghavan is a gifted teacher, someone I’ve known for years. He’s straightforward in explaining things and works to demystify Indian cuisine. Raghavan is also funny. I’ve seen him jump atop a demo table to show an audience how to properly straddle a coconut grater to obtain freshly grated coconut. At Craftsy.com, he teaches an award-winning class on Indian restaurant favorites.
I’ve cooked a number of recipes from Indian Home Cooking and love them. This past Friday, after putting the pho book to bed, I needed to switch gears. Friends were coming for an impromptu dinner party and I felt like good Indian food, which we sorely lack in Santa Cruz.