On 10 October 2015 we bought two apparently new cookbooks at a garage sale, for the princely total sum of $2. They were The Food & Cooking of India and “150 Curries”, apparently too old to be worthy of mention on the web site.
Both books are nicely presented, and the recipes looked different from the Indian recipes that I have used in the past. We tried a few recipes, but gradually the limitations became clear. They're all the same! In particular, for the most part:
Teja Patta (indian Bay Leaves)
Teja Pata, or Indian Bay leaves are not the same as the Laural Bay or Sweet Bay used in the west. Nor is it is also not the same as the Balinese Bay leaf (Daun Salam) or the West Indian Bay Leaf. Don’t substitute with a Laurel Bay leaf, even if the recipe says to do so. There is no similarity between the two. The best thing to do if you don’t have Teja Pata is to leave it out altogether, or add a little cassia, cinnamon or an extra clove instead.
My conclusion is the books are written very much for the British market, and are somewhat adapted to British tastes. There's still some good stuff struggling to get out, but you need to read between the lines. I don't regret buying the books, especially at that price, but they're not as good as I had hoped.
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