Atul’s Curries of the World
By Atul Kochhar
Absolute Press, £20
As one of the UK’s most celebrated Indian chefs, Atul Kochhar is well known for the subtlety of his spicing and the delicacy with which he creates authentic dishes.
In Atul’s Curries of the World he explores the culinary history of curry, following the progress of spice trading around the world, having been employed differently in each destination. He points out that curry has been part of Indian cuisine for more than 5,000 years, but that cultural exchanges mean that “the modern day curry is thus a global term to describe the culmination of this past and now includes manifold varieties across the world”.
This is unashamedly a book about curry. Other Indian cookbooks include daal, rice and naans, but here the focus is firmly on what Kochhar describes as ”a spiced dish with a sauce or ‘gravy’ and ‘masala’ base”.
He explains that although other spiced food would never be referred to as curry in India, the modern day curry is now a global term, with a different interpretation in every country.
This book brings together more than 100 recipes sourced from across the globe. As you might expect, there are plenty from curry’s heartland of the Indian subcontinent, but there are also nods to more recent recipes, including Bison Meatball Curry from the USA and Chicken Tikka Masala, which Kochhar considers “a truly British curry”.
The recipes are divided by the main ingredient, so there are sections on fish, chicken, duck, game, lamb and so on, so it’s possible to easily pick and compare recipes to suit produce.
Within each chapter countries are colour-coded so the reader can quickly distinguish between the origins of a Sri Lankan Shrimp Coconut Curry and an Indonesian Pigeon Stir-Fried with Chillies and Ginger.
There’s plenty of inspiration, with classics such as Singaporean Chilli Crab and Malaysian Beef Rendang alongside Mango Curry from the Caribbean and Tanzanian Wildebeest Curry.
Meanwhile, Kochhar shares his skill with spicing by offering his carefully balanced spice powder and paste recipes, including Garam Masala, Ras El Hanout and Japanese Curry Powder.
An ambitious book, Atul’s Curries of the World brings together a diverse range of curries that in less experienced hands might be a little confused. But Kochhar’s understanding of spice and evident love of the history of curry shine through in a collection of recipes that are a treat for any curry lover.
If you like this, you might like these:
● Cinnamon Kitchen: The Cookbook Vivek Singh
● Capital Spice Chrissie Walker
● Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Nation Madhur Jaffrey