Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"The Taste of Northern India: Where Spirit & Flavours Combine" by Shira Barak

The Taste of Northern India:
Where Spirit & Flavours Combine
by Shira Barak

This book will take you on a culinary journey through recipes and landscapes and will give you a deeper insight into Northern India. Fifty of the best recipes of the region have been gathered especially for you by the author during the years of her culinary journey throughout North India.
This is not a regular Indian cookbook; this book gathers fifty authentic North Indian recipes divided into different categories. Most Eastern cookbooks are either inaccessible to the common Western reader or have become "Americanized", with the ingredients being replaced by Western ingredients, making the recipes very different from the originals.
The author chose to keep these recipes authentic, as she got them from the local people of North India. In addition, she has included an Indian-Western ingredients dictionary, explaining each ingredient and suggesting reasonable, natural substitutes. As such, this cookbook is great for all levels of foodie.
This book provides delicious tastes, smells, and sights for the body and soul, takes you on a journey through the culture and landscapes of North India, and provides an easy way to enjoy tasty North Indian dishes at home.

Imagine snow-capped mountains and green forests, a golden temple reflected in the lake, and a monk murmuring words of prayer. On every corner you can find a temple, or prayer flags carried by the wind, and the air filled with an atmosphere of spirituality and prayer. Alongside these, on the street, you can find markets filled with smells, tastes, and colors, sweetened dough fried in a pan placed on a carriage ... The smell of masala and chai are carried everywhere and it is provided to vendors and buyers in shops. Women sell spices, fruits and vegetables at a street corner and Dhaba (a roadside restaurant in India) filled with a variety of delicious dishes full of flavors.
You can find spicy rice (biryani), mixed vegetable curry, kofta, palakpaneer, alu dam and more.
I found all those in northern India; the place where spirituality and flavors combine. It is a perfect combination between food for the soul and food for the body.
I first arrived in North India in the summer of 2004 and fell in love for the first time with the culture, the religious pluralism, landscapes, and of course the rich variety of smells sights and tastes… Oh, the tastes. Since then, I have returned to North India again and again. I spent a month riding on horses in the Himalayan province of Ladakh, the northern state of India; I had a visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, spent a few months in Dharamshala, where the Dalai Lama's and Tibetan exiles made their homes, and spent the winter at the hot springs and the enchanting forests of Kullu Valley. During that time, I opened up to a new variety of flavors, spices, and ingredients. Wherever I went, I picked up more experiences, friends, and of course, recipes. I worked at a local restaurant and made some good friends who happily opened their kitchen and their hearts and taught me the secrets of northern India's kitchen.
Some say that cooking is a spiritual act. It involves not only the mind or hands, but also the heart. In India, I realized that this is definitely true. Thought and patience are invested in every stew or baked dish; even among poor residents, you can find rich flavored dishes, spices, and scents.
I want to take you on a culinary journey through recipes and landscapes. The trip through the photos and recipes will give you a deeper glance of the landscapes and people of northern India.

Not often do you find a cook book with more than just recipes. This one has it all. A little history, a great definitions and explanations, and some great recipes. Beautiful photos. Very inspiring to get you ready to make some of the best food you will ever eat. Excited I found it!

From the Author
My name is Shira, and I am a mother and a wife.
Over the years, out of my love of cultures and people, I've traveled to different countries and regions around the world: India, Nepal, Thailand, Morocco, the Middle East, Greece, Spain, the Balkans, and more.
When I arrive at a new place, what I particularly like is to try to remove my "tourist" way of thinking and try to really get the sense of the area, the culture and the people, as if I were local. With love and respect.
I believe that the best way to connect to people and to really understand a culture is through its kitchen: through the spices, markets, different dishes, smells and flavors. Because I love to cook I'm often interested in different cultures' cuisine. I explore, taste, smell, experience and of course take pictures.
Fortunately, I made good friends all over the world through my desire to learn and experience local cooking.
I try to share this love with readers who also love culture and people, who want to experience authentic cooking, and who believe as I do that food is made with love.
Enjoy the culinary journey!