Today when Blogadda has given me an opportunity to review her new cookbook ‘Southern Flavours’, I feel cherished and rewarded. Coming to the review part… From the cover page you can easily understand, it’s a precious jewel of cookbooks from Chandra Padmanabhan. Southern Flavours is very apt name to the book as it covers recipes from all four Southern states of India. One thing I like the most about her cookbooks is they start with good introduction on why she choose to write the book and then basic information on South Indian kitchen aids, along with whole lot of information on spices and very easy to refer glossary. As like every cookbook from Chandra Padmanabhan begins with basic recipes…..this book also starts with cooking plain rice in different methods, then much used spice powders/podis like Sambar Podi, Rasam Podi, Kuzhambu Podi, etc.,
To start with, she showcased some Soothing Sambars and Ravishing Rasams, which according to me are ultimate comfort food to dig in with hot rice along with any fry or papad. She adds some family & friends recipes by naming the recipe with their names like Chitra’s Keerai Sambar (Spinach curry from Tamil Nadu), Sheela aunties Pulusu (Tamarind curry from Andhra Pradesh), etc., When I was going through the list of recipes under this section one recipe caught my attention and that was “Kadugu Chaaru” which is an Rice Water Rasam from Andhra Pradesh. It was a unique & interesting recipe to me…as Rasam is made out of water which was used to rinse rice. Then to accomplish with Sambar & Rasam comes Poriyal & Kootu. Lentil based vegetable stew is called Kootu. An unusually dry vegetable dishes garnished with fresh grated coconut or pigeon peas or a combination of two can be termed as Poriyal. In this section you can find lot of recipes with medley of veggies, lentils and almost all the recipes call for fresh coconut as an ingredient. Alu Gadde Song a popular dish of curried potatoes from the Saraswath Community of Karnataka caught my attention, when flipping through this section. This dish calls for coconut oil & the author says if the dish is made a day earlier, the potatoes soak up the tart tamarind gravy & become mouth wateringly crumbly. Sounds drool worthy to me. The ultimate comfort food of South India is a bowl of rice. Rice with sambar/rasam along with curd makes a complete meal to many in South India. The author says rich and heavy Bissi Bela Hulli Anna & Kadamba Sadam are meals in themselves. The lighter rice dishes such as lime, coconut & tomato rice can be served at any course. According to me flavour rice varieties are perfect one pot meals & best lunch box recipes. In this book you can find different flavoured rice like Tomato Rice, Curry Leaf Powder Rice, Sesame Seeds ice, Coconut Rice, etc., simple ones like Potato Pulao & twist to taste like Rava Vangibath (Semolina & Aubergine Pilaf) If you are snack lover then this book offers extremely easy to make flavoursome snacks like Kaikari Bajji (Mixed Vegetable Fritters), Sundal’s, Kadhamba Dosai (Multigrain Pancakes), Goli Bajjay (Savory fritters from Udipi), Chepankizhangu Vadai (Colocasia Patties) along with whole lot of variety dosa’s Idli’s and Vadai’s including Ragi too. As every cookbook ends on a sweet note, this too has some authentic & state special recipes lined up to treat your taste buds and complete your platter. Ethekka Appam (Sweet Plantain Fritters) is very new recipe to me in this section. Under accompaniments section, author has given Chutney’s to accompany snacks & Thuvayal which can be eaten with snack or rice with a dollop of ghee. Cabbage Chutney is new to me under this header & sweet Green Chilli Relish is something I am carving for right now… Overall it’s a good cookbook with lots and lots of refined recipes which you cook in every day kitchen. If you are like me who always wants something new in the menu and loves to experiment and experience the cuisines from neighbouring states…this book should be your choice then. This ‘Southern Flavours’ is not only a medley of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala & Karnataka but also medley of authors previous books (Southern Spice, Dakshin & Simply South). Along with the recipes from the old books, she added 50 new recipes in this book say the author. According to me this book could be an ideal gift to the bride if she is new to the kitchen. There are six suggested menus at the end of the book, which helps you in fixing your daily menu with ease. Handy tips and notes at the end of each recipe give extra information about the recipe. Approximate cooking and preparation to soaking times gives you a rough idea of the recipe. I won’t say it as a minus point, but what I felt was good pictures and more pictures in book could have done more justice to the book. Appealing food photographs draw more attention to the recipe, when you are new in making it. That’s what I thought… How can I leave a cookbook review without trying out some recipes from it. Due to lack of time, i hooked on to two simple recipes from the book, they are Bangala Dumpa Kurna (Rich and Creamy Potato Curry from Andhra Pradesh) and Kothamalli-Pudina Sadam (Coriander-Mint Rice from Tamil Nadu). Recipes coming soon….
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