The New Indian Slow Cooker

By : | 0 Comments | On : August 14, 2015 | Category : book review

Garam Masala

Recipes for Curries, Dals, Chutneys, Masalas, Biryani, and More

by Neela Paniz

The newest book in Ten Speed’s best-selling slow cooker series, featuring more than 60 fix-it-and-forget-it recipes for Indian favorites.

The rich and complex flavors of classic Indian dishes like Lamb Biryani, Palak Paneer, and chicken in a creamy tomato-butter sauce can take hours to develop through such techniques as extended braising and low simmering. In The New Indian Slow Cooker, veteran cooking teacher and chef Neela Paniz revolutionizes the long, slow approach to making Indian cuisine by rethinking its traditional recipes for the slow cooker.
She showcases the best regional curries, dals made with lentils and beans, vegetable and rice sides, as well as key accompaniments like chutneys, flatbreads, raita, and fresh Indian cheese. Using this fix-it-and-forget-it approach, you can produce complete and authentic Indian meals that taste like they came from Mumbai, New Delhi, and Bangalore, or your favorite Indian restaurant.
Featuring both classic and innovative recipes such as Pork Vindaloo, Kashmiri Potato Curry, Date and Tamarind Chutney, and Curried Chickpeas, these full-flavor, no-fuss dishes are perfect for busy cooks any day of the week.

 

TSG Review

Overall Score: 3.6
I have used other Indian cookbooks, but this one is the most thorough one I have seen on the sauce topic. It has an impressive appendix of ingredients, including many that you will find only in an Indian grocery store.

I followed all of these recipes exactly as written.

 

Garam Masala

I did not realize how many spices found in Indian food remind me of liquorice: cardamon pods, star anise, and cloves. In the grand-mama of Indian blends this has plenty of these scents, but you taste all the spices; not just the licorice ones. I used this in more than one of the recipes below and it definitely added to the authentic Indian flavor. It smells great and is easy to put together. All you just need is a spice grinder and you’re good to go. Mine is nothing more than a cheap re-purposed coffee grinder, so no need to spend a lot to accomplish this.

 

Paner

Making homemade cheese was a first for me. It’s a simple cheese with very little flavor that’s quite bland by itself, but could be great in other recipes like flavorful salads or a vegetarian curry.

 

Katchumber

I really enjoyed this one. It reminded me of a Turkish dish I’ve had called Shepherds Salad (coban Salata). It’s easy to make and is best to eat it right way. You get that tang from the lemon juice and  cilantro that together brighten the vegetable flavors.

 

Tomato Butter Sauce (Makhani)

Butter… check. Tomatoes… check. Heavy Whipping cream… check!? Not a light sauce at all, but damn this is good. Put it on meats, veggies, or rice and you have a happy belly dancer!

 

Chicken Kabobs in Green Spices (Mirch Masala Tikka)

Loads of flavor. Not being a mint lover I was a bit hesitant to try this recipe, but all this herb does is brighten the dish. You really don’t taste the mint, but the garlic and cilantro really come through! Note that you need a grill, not a slow cooker, for this recipe.

 

Chicken Tikka Masala

Add the Chicken kabobs to the Tomato butter sauce to get this famous Indian dish. Although tasty, it could have been even be better by simply chopping pieces of chicken into the sauce instead of using the Chicken Kabobs in Green Spices recipe like I did.

 

Eggplant with Potatoes (Baingan Aloo Ki Sabzi)

Not a fan of this one, but to be fair I don’t like eggplants when they get all squishy. And they got very squishy in this recipe. I ended up giving the remainder to a vegan neighbor and she thought it was good, but still agreed with me about the eggplant.

 

Summary

Okay, first things first. When the title specifies a particular style of cooking, I expect most of the recipes to use that style. However, many of the recipes require grills and stove tops. Although I made a lot of what you might call “side dishes,” there still seemed to be a fair number of recipes that did not involve a slow cooker.

The recipes are broken into Basics, Soups, Chutneys, Curries, Vegetables, Dals, and Rice Dishes. There’s also a helpful section on ingredients and their equivalents. For example, ground Indian Chili can be substituted with Cayenne pepper. I did have to go to an Indian grocery store to get many of the ingredients, but your local super market might carry them depending on where you live.

The recipe size was pretty standard, but they did have good ideas on how to store the leftovers for long periods of time at the end of the recipes. So I think that raises the Singlearity Score a bit. The recipes themselves were hit or miss for me. I have not had a ton of Indian food to start with, but I have noticed that some things I find flavorful, some freaking hot, and others bland. I came across each one of those in this cookbook, so this might just be the perfect Indian cookbook for beginners. I just can’t score it too high, though, because of the number of recipes I did not enjoy. It’s a slow cooker book, so the difficulty factor is already nice and easy, so pretty much anyone can handle this. Cut things up, toss them in the pot, wait six hours, eat.

The highest score a category can get is 5.
Singlearity Score: 3
how single friendly the recipes are

Flavor Score: 3
how tasty the recipes are

Easy Score: 5
recipe difficulty level

Overall Score: 3.6

 

 

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