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Monday November 4, 2013 MYT 12:27:00 PM
Monday November 4, 2013 MYT 12:28:32 PM
By BILL DALEY
Raghavan Iyer’s new cookbook aims to make Indian dishes more accessible.
RAGHAVAN Iyer is a born teacher who learned to cook the foods of his native India when he arrived in Minnesota as a college student. His latest cookbook, Indian Cooking Unfolded (Workman), was born from memories of that experience.
“I’ve faced the challenges a person can face first-hand,” says Iyer, a resident of Eden Prairie, Minnesota. “I have been a teacher for over 22 years. It still comes back to what makes cooking more accessible.”
Iyer responds to that challenge in various ways in the new book. The most obvious is the format: Seven of the eight chapters open with recipes displayed on pages that fold out, giving space both to Iyer, so he can write detailed directions, and the book designers, so they have plenty of room to arrange step-by-step photographs that support the text.
“In a literal and figurative sense, the book folds out and unfolds the cuisine. It demystifies it,” Iyer explains, noting that you can use the recipes on each of the fold-out pages to create a “get-started” Indian meal.
Also helping to make that Indian meal happen more easily is Iyer’s decision to limit each recipe to 10 ingredients or fewer – and all ingredients must be available at the average supermarket.
“When I started creating dishes I thought I was cheating by not going to an Indian grocery store,” Iyer says. “It was one of those freeing experiences. It was very exhilarating to keep the recipes within 10 ingredients.”
One way he did that: visiting supermarkets on his travels and noting which ingredients and which spices were stocked. He developed a list of the top five spices one could find pretty much anywhere: cardamom, turmeric, coriander seeds, mustard seeds and cumin.
“It just opened doors,” he says of the exercise. “When I cook at home and make Indian food I find myself sticking to the simplicity of 10 ingredients.” – Chicago Tribune/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
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Raghavan Iyer, cooking, Indian cuisine, Indian Cooking Unfolded
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