Which one is your favorite, which one was the most time-consuming and why? I am always conscious to do something entirely different with each book and writing about food through travel adventures has been a very nourishing and meaningful experience. Tasting India has certainly been my most time-consuming book to date — as I had to give myself the time to revisit India often to research, respect and reflect, to give authenticity to my experiences. Your new book Tasting India is a cross between a comprehensive Indian cookbook and a breathtakingly photographed coffee table book, that clearly shows how much this country means to you. What made you fall in love with India and more specifically Indian cuisine more than 20 years ago?

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Tweet When Christine Manfield goes to India, one of her favourite dining rituals involves an unlikely ingredient: butter. Each time the legendary chef and author finds herself in Hyderabad , the southern capital famous for its faded grandeur and its collision of Muslim and Hindu influences, she visits Govind Dosa.

One of the many colourful snack vendors that line the streets of India. Then, he adds potato, chilli powder and big chunks of butter before rolling them up in paper and handing them out. It really sets you up. Manfield has no such intention and it shows. The new version of Tasting India is updated to include three new chapters on the Punjab, Gujarat and Hyderabad.

Sweet and sour tomatoes. Source: Anson Smart The book, part cookbook, part travelogue, takes readers everywhere from Sikkim , a Himalayan area bisected by hot springs and rivers, where locals enjoy dishes like Tibetan Chimney Soup , to the beaches of Goa , where Portuguese colonial influences give rise to dishes like chorico chorizo sausage with dhal and chicken xacuti , a fiery curry thick with fresh coconut and lime juice. Cooks in the West are still wising up to the importance of regional, seasonal cooking.

But Tasting India shows us how this idea has always been intrinsic to Indian food culture. In Hyderabad , a wonderful older woman taught me how to make white chicken biryani. She was a real fountain of knowledge about the history of royal cooking in that city, but sadly she passed away this year. The book ducks and weaves between living rooms and street carts, lavish restaurants in Rajasthani palaces and the dhabas, humble restaurants frequented by office workers.

But Tasting India, which exclusively features family recipes provided by the cast of people Manfield has met on her travels, also centres Indian voices. In some ways, the book is a tribute to the unsung heroes of Indian kitchens — the home cooks, vendors, guides and grandmothers that keep these cuisines alive.

I wanted to show readers how Indians really cook. And by showing respect to the food culture, you are smothered with endless generosity.

The fact that Indians have embraced the book is the loveliest thing.


Review: Tasting India by Christine Manfield

A blender or food processor. An electric spice grinder. What are three mistakes people commonly make when trying to recreate authentic Indian food? Not understanding the nuances of spice, the balance and harmony of flavours and combinations when blending Not seasoning properly. Salt is important for bringing out flavours.


On the spice trail: Q&A with chef Christine Manfield

She shares her favourite Indian eats with International Traveller. India, how do you describe it? A India to me is the never-ending story. It polarises people but I think it really depends on your attitude, your curiosity, your expectations and your sense of adventure. Money is irrelevant. A Yes, it is.


Christine Manfield on eating in India


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