Book review: India: A Culinary Journey

“India: A Culinary Journey” is a refreshing option to the glut of American, French and Italian cookbooks on the market. Photo: Elan Ruskin (Flickr)

LOS ANGELES, November 21, 2012 ― Prem Kishore is an author, lecturer and broadcaster who loves great food. Her book “India: A Culinary Journey” is a refreshing option to the glut of American, French and Italian cookbooks on the market.

Kishore’s, truth about not being a good cook at the beginning of her journey is refreshing. Indian food can be intimidating for home cooks, so to have an author admit that she too was intimidated was welcome.

The book reeled me in as she described running back to her house after watching her mother-in-law cook so she could write down recipes to study later.  

This book offers an abundance of detailed information to guide you through Indian cuisine and the ingredients that make each dish special. Indian cuisine is about spices, and luckily most grocery stores carry the ones used in Indian cuisine, but it may be that you’ve never used ingredients like mustard seed, saffron and coriander.

In addition to Kishore’s book being a great insight into Indian food culture, it also has heart and wonderful tales of personal experiences. “I enjoyed the independence of being on my own and was flooded by a strange gratification that my own hands were preparing food for my family,” she writes.

At first glance the recipes might seem overwhelming because of the unusual ingredients and unfamiliar cooking techniques, but readers will find there are tips and explanations of both ingredients and cooking methods. Even novice cooks can work their way through the book, and at the end they will feel that they have a better understanding and appreciation for Indian food.

Here is a recipe from the book:



  • 1 teaspoon dried chilies, lightly pounded
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds lightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 6 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 3 onions sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 4 green chilies chopped
  • 10 chicken pieces patted dry
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Large bunch cilantro chopped

Stir fry dried chilies, coriander seeds, and peppercorns in a dry frying pan for two minutes. Set aside

Heat three teaspoons of oil in a deep pan. Add onions and sauté  for five minutes. Add three remaining teaspoons oil, garlic, ginger, green chilies and chicken.

Stir fry for ten minutes. Add one cup of water and coconut milk. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.

Stir in lime juice. Add some salt, and increase heat until gravy thickens. Garnish with cilantro.


For more great cooking tips, recipes and stories from Chef Mary, visit her www.cookingwithmary.blogspot.comTo learn more about Chef Mary, check out her Hail Mary’s, Inc. Web site E-mail questions for Ask Chef Mary Fridays to or click the Ask Chef Mary link above. 

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The information provided is general information about healthy eating. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice or treatment that may have been prescribed by your physician or other health care provider. Always consult a physician before starting any new diet or regimen. 

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Mary Moran

Upon graduating from the California School of Culinary Arts in 2002, Chef Mary Payne Moran began her professional career shelling crabs at the world-renowned restaurant, Michael's in Santa Monica.  Simultaneously, she launched her own company, Hail Mary’s, founded upon the belief that good food nurtures the soul, and began catering weddings, parties and large corporate events.

In the fall of 2008, Mary began teaching her culinary skills to others.    Currently she can be found at Hollywood School House teaching her after school cooking class, and teaching her popular "Vegetables or Not Here I Come" assembly.

Most recently, Mary has launched another division in her company as well as a chef she is now also a Certified Nutritionist for high profile clients.  She helps her clients discover their healthy way of eating.  Mary has recently been published in the Los Angeles Magazine, & The New Jersey Star Ledger.

Daily she addresses cooking aficionados through her blog - Cooking with Chef Mary as well as her how-to webisodes on You Tube.

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