Tasting India [Christine Manfield] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Tasting India is a seminal text on Indian cookery and culture. Organised. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Christine Manfield is one of Australia’s most celebrated Tasting India: Heirloom Family Recipes by [Manfield, Christine]. Buy Tasting India: Heirloom Family Recipes by Christine Manfield (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on.

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Log in Register Your Wanderlust 0. Christine Manfield has created the definitive book on Indian cooking. She tells Peter Moore about her amazing journey through the food of India.

With its luxurious silk cover, National Geographic -quality photos and authentic heirloom recipes from various regions of India, Christine Manfield’s Tasting India is arguably the only book you need about India and its food.

Tasting India – Christine Manfield

Indeed, India Today was so impressed christime they called for it to replace Camellia Panjabi’s venerable 50 Great Curries as the gift to give newly-wed couples heading off to live overseas. Peter Moore talks to Christine about her love for India and its food, and the incredible journey that led to the creation of this stunning book.

My first trip to India was in the mid 90s. I was invited to be a guest chef at a restaurant there, to put on a menu and do my thing. That was starting point of a life-long love affair. It got under my skin. Something different to explore. But there are tastinb these interesting little nuances in the way that people use spices and that changes right across the country. A lot were from home cooks. And they are all authentic.

It’s not me as a westerner or an outsider coming in and putting on an overlay of how I perceive Indian food should be or how I indix change things.

Each recipe is documented exactly as they were given to me. I set out with the goal of collecting heirloom recipes across modern India, and also look at how practices and other things have changed over time. How people cook today. The village girl in Hcristine.

She told me that in her downtime, between the preparation for lunch and the preparation for dinner, she’d sit there and watch TV cooking shows and would just totally absorb everything she saw. Did going to India with a purpose, to find these heirloom recipes, show you a side of India you may inndia have otherwise seen?

People were only too happy to share that. I love going through markets anyway for stuff for the kitchen. You can engage, you can haggle, you can choose what you actually want to cook.

Whose beans are better? This one or that one? Engage in that kind of process. Every Indian loves talking about two things: Plus there was this chrisgine straight away.


Research really started from the first time I started going to India, so 20 years or so.

Tasting India

But for this particular book, writing it, took about five years, going backwards and forwards. I did 11 trips in that time. I went to places many times. Even now, even though the book has only just come out, I can add things. Particularly in the travel directory at the back of the book.

What was really encouraging and enormously satisfying for me was that I just spent a week promoting the book in India and every single person commented on how authentic the recipes are, how true they are to the character of the country and how everyone can relate to the area that they come from.

If I was in Calcutta, they really loved the section on Bengali cooking, for example. It certainly went down well with India Today. What is it that defines Indian food? What makes it different from other cuisines? We have to start looking at it as an incredibly tasing and versatile food repertoire. We might have a very narrow perception of what Indian food is, but there is enormous regional variation. It would be great to see tssting variations translate into a separate restaurant cultures in places like the UK and Australia.

You definitely get that impression from the book that Indian food is very regional. Is that clearly delineated? Or is there some cross-over?

You will get little South Indian places in the cities, in Delhi or Jaipur. You can still be within the one State, the ingredients will be similar. But there will be variation on how things are prepared. Often that can come down tastinv religion. And the balancing of flavour and texture as well. Just as the Chinese have the Yin and the Yang, the Indians have a similar concept.

Tasting India: Heirloom Family Recipes – Christine Manfield

In the book you talk about primary tastes — bitter, salty, pungent, sour, sweet, astringent — and how in Bengali food they are eaten in a strict order. The food does come down on the table pretty much at the same time. But if five or six dishes come down on the table at the same time, with the rice of course, you usually start with one dish that is more cleansing, and then move on.

The flavours and the textures build on your palate. Earlier in the year I was in a place, up in the mountains on the Kerala side, up where the spices grow, there was a restaurant that had opened in a smallish village. It was attached to a hotel, but it was a hotel where predominantly Indians stay.

They had set up a restaurant called The Fifty Mile Diet. Everything prepared there was from a 50 mile radius. In fact, they had established their own farm on the outskirts of the village and were raising different kinds of animals for cooking.


They could tell mnafield that the rice came from this village over there, this vegetable came from here. I found that fascinating. And to see mmanfield in a tastung that was fairly remote was fascinating. We ate a terrific manfiepd. They were split down the centre and stir fried with fresh green peppercorns, that are just growing everywhere, and nice, light sauce. It was quite a modern take on the dish but it was just using all the local stuff. With a nod towards the future.

The snack culture in India is amazing. And you get the best expression of that in the cities. I think the street food of Mumbai is unsurpassed. So the whole thing is environmentally friendly. And also in Delhi. Street food like the kebabs. You could go to a fabulous restaurant in Delhi and have great kebabs, but you could go on the streets and feed your whole village for the price of one plate in a posh restaurant.

I think you follow that simple rule you follow anywhere. You eat with the locals, you eat what the locals eat. But like anywhere else in the world, Indian food is evolving.

There are also things now they can buy to make their lives easier manfifld mixes of spices, pastes, that sort of thing. In Indian, it is what it is. Here, you get the Indian chefs cooking for largely a western audience, who may not like dishes that are too spicy.

Even in India, the food that you get for tourists is very different to the authentic experience. There’s no dumbing down. And you can understand why tastinh adopt their dishes accordingly. A lot of people are tempted to take the easy option of grabbing a sauce off manfidld shelf.

What are the rewards of putting in the effort and doing it yourself? If you have a very basic supply of a few different spices, a bit inria yoghurt, a bit of coconut milk, bingo! You can taste that freshness. I wanted to look at food in the context of its culture. Travel was the reason I went to India.

But food was the focus. Having a focus made it a much richer experience. People go to India for all kinds of reasons. Some go for Yoga. And their impressions and interpretation of India will be coloured by that. For me food and travel are the two prongs of my work and my life. And now food has woven its way into it. The book is illustrated by absolutely stunning photos taken by Anson Smart. Did he travel inia you?