Head of Fantastic Food at Abel & Cole
I was 20 when I had my first curry. It was completely foreign to me until I fist came to England, in the late 1990s. I was blown away (in a good way) because it was so exotic to me, it took me a long time to build the confidence up to attempt cooking curry myself. Borrowing this book from my local library opened a whole new cooking chapter for me. It’s a student curry cookbook and all the recipes are so approachable, but also wildly delicious. What I really love is that this book isn't just about Indian curries, it offers a vast array of recipes from Indonesia to Malaysia, Thailand, Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as simple explanations as to how each differ. For instance, coconut milk, tamarind, lemongrass and soya are the backbone of Indonesian curries, while Kashmiri curries feature a wide array of fresh herbs, sweet spices and fresh yogurt is often added for a creamy finish. As well as curries, the recipes extend to a beautiful parade of both familiar and unusual accompaniments and garnishes: Saffron and cardamom rice, Coriander and cumin-flecked roti, Banana and coconut raita...). Because of this book, I can now make curries from scratch, and from heart, without needing a recipe to follow (though, keep this book close by for constant inspiration).