Author : Chandra Padmanabhan
After the roaring success of her previous 3 cookbooks, Chandra Padmanabhan has come up with yet another cook book featuring the southern flavors. Her previous works namely Dakshin, Southern Spice and Simply South, where in the last one won the second place in Gourmand award for the best vegetarian cookbook of 2009. Dakshin’s international edition put her on the world map, still remains to be a pick off the shelf all over the world.
The author’s experience speaks for itself showing that she is no novice when it comes to writing cookbooks with this recent addition to her successful line up - Southern Flavors.
In the Introduction about the book, the author, Chandra Padmanabhan explains that her tryst with the South Indian cuisine began after she got married. This book is a collection of the best from her earlier 3 cookbooks to which she has added 50 new dishes spanning across the 4 states comprising Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala.
The book starts off with the basic recipes comprising the various spice powders we use in our day to day cooking and then moves on to sections of Sambar & Kuzhambu, Rasam, Poriyal & Kootu, Rice, Snacks, Sweets and Accompaniments.
The writing is precise and flawless. The measurements are spot on. This will be of great help to a novice cook not to be put off from attempting any dish. Browsing through the pages I found an entire section has been dedicated to Rasam (12 recipes). In fact I was quite surprised to find Kosu Carrot Rasam. I remember having them many years ago in Wedding luncheons but now not many make them as many stick to the usual tomato or paruppu rasam.
I can mention many a recipes like such as the Summa Kuzhambu of the Chettinad origin, Pesarattu and Allam Pachadi of Andhra Origin, Sagalya and Ghashhi, both from the Saraswat community of Karnataka, Alasanday Palya, Goli Bajjay from Udipi, Mathangya kootan, Pullitta Keerai of Palakkad Origin. These recipes are famous in their respective states and pick any cookbook which are community based and you will find these recipes. These are the classics that rarely become outdated.
I tried this potato roast from the book. It came out excellent. The recipe will follow shortly.
A book is incomplete without some eye catching pictures. What I liked the most is the lack of any fancy cutlery and absolutely loved the macro close up shots. I also like the fact that the dishes have not been overly garnished giving it an exotic appearance. It is a curry leaf here, seasoning of mustards there, thereby giving the reader a convincing and attainable feel giving a total novice to make an attempt and go for it.
Mostly in any cook book or in any recipe, I love reading the notes section, as it usually comes with loads of info and other variations too giving the readers more ideas and choices. In this book, I found the notes section very helpful too. She has also included healthy options by mentioning that rice can be replaced with wheat rava or millet.
And if you are completely new to be introduced to southern food or a bit unfamiliar with the South Indian flavors, she gives in this book a complete set of simple menus to surprise your guests during the week ends and an elaborate brunch spreads in case you want to entertain them. This section will be very helpful even for the experienced cooks when they are planning for the menu.
Whether you are a novice in cooking or an experienced cook, this book is a definite keeper and I would definitely consider this as a perfect gifting option for a new Bride to whom I’m sure this would be a perfect companion in the Kitchen. This book is a definite keeper and do not forget to pick this up incase you come across this in the shelves of your favorite bookshop.