Flavorful India

Prem Kishore’s culinary journey

web21Prem Souri Kishore stirs up memories and spices up her Indian food book with extravagant servings of humor, history, culture and memory.
India: A Culinary Journey is written by the Los Angeles author, originally from Chennai and Bangalore in myriad, informative and engaging ways. This is her second book. The first book – India History and Culture was published four years ago by the same publishers.
Prem Kishore opens up doors and windows of India’s kitchens across the country as she enters the world of pickle making, samples bhelpuri from street vendors, crunches on murukus on railway journeys, and drifts on the Dal Lake nibbling on fried lotus stems, while feasting on Mughlai biryanis in Hyderabad and eating a mango sitting atop a tree in Bangalore.
The narrative is peppered with stories of food rituals, food myths, the place of food in sacred worship, food etiquette, and is layered with brilliant imagery of India’s diverse landscapes.
One hundred signature recipes ranging from the simple to the detailed illustrate the unending gastronomical delights of Indian cuisine extending from the intense Kashmiri Gustaba (lamb koftas) to Kerala’s Meen Varatharcha (fish in coconut gravy) and Maharashtra’s Dahi Aloo (potatoes simmered in curd).
But the book is more than an assembly line of teaspoons, ounces and ingredients. She writes of the surge of invaders, traders and explorers in the turbulent history of India, of the melding of food cultures and the changes in history and traditions of Indian cooking.
As you embrace her austere grandmother in the smoky kitchen, her large assortment of aunts, cousins, friends and community who delight in communal cooking, feastings and stories – you savor her early years in India learning the intricacies of cooking, traveling through diverse states of the county collecting recipes and sharing reminiscences of foods.
The book comes alive and resonates with anyone who has eaten, cooked or is curious about Indian foods. This is a book expertly blending stories and recipes – a fascinating book to cherish.
Kishore says, “This book is written with great joy as I wanted to share stories about food. India is the greatest story teller. India with its rich legacy of myriad faiths, rituals, and cultural landscapes, celebrations and festivals, that are unique to each region, brims with food adventures and stories. Food connects, and when shared, inspires kinship, and trust.”
American fiction writer, essayist Gloria Whelan writes in her review of the book, “Prem Souri Kishore has written something much more than a cookbook. This is a love letter to India, full of loving descriptions of food, and fond memories of the kitchens of her mother and grandmother where she was first initiated into the world of food. Food is truly seen as a gift from the gods, and her description of the eating of a mango with the juices dripping down her naked body is pure sensual poetry. Traditions and customs are described, as are spices and exotic ingredients. Different parts of India are given their own story. The Indian kitchen is explored. There are many unique as well as traditional recipes. It would be a great mistake to venture into the world of Indian cooking without taking Kishore by the hand as your guide.”
INDIA A CULINARY JOURNEY (Hippocrene Publishing, New York) is sold on Amazon and in bookstores.


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