Food for the Gods
The Indian Family Cookbook

"Food for the Gods" is authentic, Indian Home Cooking. With stories, history, over 220 recipes, and ancient cooking hints and secrets, Food for the Gods imparts a wealth of information to anyone hungry for the delicacies of India.

Here are some samples:

from Food for the Gods:
The Indian Kitchen
The commonest method of cooking takes place on an open fireplace, which is often built directly into the ground outside the house or even into the mud floor of the kitchen itself, and constructed so ingeniously that several dishes can be cooked at once from a single fire.
About Indian cooking
Indian cooking is certainly an art, but it should not be held in awe for it is, in essence, very easy. Currying only consists of lightly stir frying the ingredients with a few spices, then adding water and simmering them in gravy. Spicing, is of course, something of an art, but since everyone does it slightly differently, it is an art that belongs to each of us. Lopa rarely cooks a curry the same way twice. However, there are a few basic rules and some tips, many of which are common to other forms of cooking, that will make one's task a little simpler.


from Food for the Gods:
"The very name that conjures up images of the treasures and mysteries of the eternal East is but a myth, and although it has brought fame to India and has travelled to the four corners of the world, it is merely an invention of the European traders who needed a simple description of the food encountered during their travels. The convenient mixture of spices that they carried home with them became known as "curry powder." Thus a legend was born. Actually, the word means "gravy," while the technique is to cook in this liquid, and the trick is how and when to add the seasonings. Curries are rarely the same for they are a class of dishes which depend on the intuitive spicing of the chef and are not a single premixed powder."

The recipes in Food for the Gods
are easy to follow. Here's one:

Devi Kitchouree

This is the traditional fare served
during the festival of Lakshmi, who,
as the wife of Vishnu as well
as being the Goddess of wealth,
beauty and good fortune,
is a universal favourite to the
populace. Her festival is always
accompanied with great quantities
of the best foods.

How to do it.
Heat the wok until all heat is well diffused, and then add the appropriate amount of oil. The time to immerse the first ingredients is when a blueish haze shimmers above the surface, or when bubbles appear on the end of a wooden spoon dipped briefly in oil.
Dried red chiles, bay leaves and whole spices are fried directly in oil.
Their purpose is to add flavor to the oil, but if left there too long, they will obviously burn, defeating the object of the exercise.
Unless a very spiced oil is desired, only one red chili should be used, and fried until blackened; depending on the temperature of the oil, this will take five to ten seconds.
Bay leaf can be overpowering and only one is necessary; fry till brown and curled (about two seconds).
Seeds need to pop, which will only take a moment or two. The larger the amount, the longer it takes.
Now is the time to quickly add and stir fry any onions or garlic. These will thicken as well as flavour the gravy, but once more, care should be used; onions can oversweeten and mask the other delicate flavours, and of course too, much garlic is just that."
Now, the previously prepared ingredients should be stir fried. Next, the masala is mixed in and lightly sauteed. This is the blend of powdered spices that make up the core of the dish, and is usually, but mistakenly, labeled as curry powder.
Turmeric and white cumin are two of the spices most frequently used. Both have their drawbacks. Turmeric is not only a powerful stain that poses a constant threat to the chef's wardrobe, but also becomes bitter when overemployed. The flavour of white cumin will dominate all others if added in too cavalier a fashion. This also applies to the addition of sweet spices.
Now comes the liquid to make the gravy in which the food will simmer and absorb the marvelous flavours.
Just enough water to almost cover the ingredients is brought to a boil. Then, reducing the heat, the dish is covered and simmered until perfection is achieved.
There are basically three types of consistency to be obtained, which are, what else but, wet, medium, and dry, known in the vernacular as jal, johl, and chorchari. It is always easier to add extra liquid than to try to cook away any excess..."
(This is only an excerpt - similarly detailed discussions of individual spices, techniques, ingredients, and methods fill the book.)

Food for the Gods begins by familiarising the user with basic terminology, methods and ingredients. The following chapters give detailed coverage to candy, drinks, snacks, breads, rice and grains, vegetable specialties, beans, curries, seafood, foul and game, eggs, beef and lamb, cooling yogurts and chutneys, and desserts.

Special sections explain the uses of and how to make such special components as ghee, dahl, garam masala, and chenna.

Woven in with history, Vedic stories, quotations and humor, this is an encyclopedia no serious cook can do without. It is fully indexed, with glossaries of cooking and mythological Indian terms, English cooking terms, and a variety of menus.

Food for the Gods is spiral bound, so it lays flat on the counter. (8 1/2 x 11 in. or 28 x 21 cm., 210 pages.) It's illustrated in pen and ink, with maps, charts, and b&w photographs.

$25.00 gets you a copy (includes shipping & handling); if you're interested, for now, (till we get our 800 #)Email to Rafi

Food for the Gods
Published Privately
Simon and Lopa Stock, copyright 1989, All Rights Reserved.

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