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Tadka Pasta - Book Review

Friday, January 31, 2014Me! In words

In a culinary world filled with cook books which are often mass produced to promote a name or cash in on a trend, its always a pleasure to see a book that comes from the heart. The Tadka Girls - Ruchira Ramanujam and Ranjani Rao have been friends for a while now - have multi-cultural families, have kids who have grown up to be friends, have lived in the States at the same time, cooked together, shared recipes, experimented and more over the years. Around the World with the Tadka Girls is a culmination of the one passion they shared - that of food.

The recipe book is handy and light and neatly segregated into recipes for various meals. Every recipe has long crafted name - little too cutesy for me. Each recipe comes with a prose-heavy description of its origins, inspiration and the twists introduced by the Tadka Girls. The thoughtful notes includes variations of the recipe that may be used. 

And so I got down to cooking something from the book. I don't really have much time during the week to get down to serious cooking, so the quicker the recipe is the better for me. Chicken gravies are popular at home and so I decided to give the Tadka's Own Chicken Curry a shot. The recipes are straight-forward - well listed out in terms of ingredients and processes. By the time you reach the method section, you are pretty much ready to throw it all together and don't have some unexpected surprises. Don't you just hate it when in the middle of a recipe, with something churning away on the fire, you need to drop everything and cut an ingredient that needs to go in, simply because it was not mentioned earlier. No such hassles with this book. Its orderly and simple to follow. 

The chicken turned out nice - reminded me a lot of the Mangalorean Chicken gravy base used for biryanis and in a good way. 

Tadka's Own Chicken Curry

I personally love lemon cakes and so when I saw the No Haute Cuisine This - Quick Lemon Snack Cake I knew that was the next thing I was going to try. It also had a sugar frosting to go with it, but am too lazy to try all that and so went with just the cake. This cake has a good number of ingredients going for it. It turned out to be great in terms of taste - with this nice lemony taste with each bite. Density of the cake is where I took a beating - but then am not a fabulous baker and do cheat with some of the processes. 

The interesting thing about the book is how the ladies have taken simple recipes of various cultures, even our own and given it their very own tadka or finish if you may - what stands out is the Sicilian Arancini which substitutes risotto with khichdi.

No Haute Cuisine This - Quick Lemon Snack Cake

I also had the pleasure of seeing the Tadka Girls in action, when they were on a promotional round of their book at Atta Gallata recently. What better way to show off your creation than by holding a demo and interaction.

All set for the promotion of Around the World with the Tadka Girls

The girls took an interesting route of having a common friend interact with them and bring out the essence of the book and both the authors. It was lovely to hear how Ranjani and Ruchira experimented with the recipes in their own homes, how their little girls were their taste testers and how surprisingly there were no disagreements on the recipes that were to be part of the book. 

The ladies demonstrated two recipes - a superbly spiced and seasoned tomato/mint drink and a broccoli salad with a Tadka Girls Twist. The tomato mint drink was definitely a winner that day. 

The Broccoli salad

Dainty lemon cupcakes that were great too

The book definitely works for a novice cook - its recipes are interesting, straightforward and easy to follow. Being from the print medium industry I would definitely recommend that the Tadka Girls change their layout designer/stylist in their next edition, but those are just the intricacies. Its a great book to add to your collection - a personal, from-the-heart set of recipes from home kitchens - recipes you may be able to give your own Tadka twist to perhaps!

Pick up the book on Flipkart or Amazon

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