Indian Cuisine and Cookbooks

Three spoons with different spices


—Although the cuisine of India is diverse due to both historical and geographical impact, overall it is known for its use of spices and being largely vegetarian based.  Historically, India is the world’s supplier of spices. The Hindu religion, in which cows are sacred, put a taboo on beef consumption. Curry is synonymous with Indian cuisine. Indian cuisine classics include:

Sides: dal, dosa, naan, saag, kheer, phirni, paan, chaat, chapati, bajji, olan, pachadi, pongal, sambar, dabeli, dahi vada, pakhala, red rice.

Main Dishes: tandoori chicken, chicken tikka, chana masala, samosa, shahi paneer, biryani, jeera aloo, kombi vade, pav bhaji, vada pav, vindaloo, maghaz, chingri malai curry, machher jhoi.

Desserts: sajjige, basundi, gulab jamun, gajar ka halwa, sandesh, modak, payasam.

Beverages:  chai, Darjeeling tea, lassi, aam panna, sharbat, jal-jeera, chaas, chuak, kanji.


Camellia Panjabi.  50 Great Curries of India.

One of the top-selling Indian cookbooks, this cookbook is a great introduction to the curry novice.  In addition to providing a collection of regional curry recipes, the book teaches much of the philosophy behind the food and is packed with handy tips on how to cook authentic curries.

Meera Sodha.  Made in India: Cooked in Britain: Recipes From an Indian Family Kitchen.

A collection of more than 130 authentic home-cooked family recipes of classic Indian food from hot chapatis to street food, to curries, colorful side dishes and delicious desserts.

Madhur Jaffrey.  Indian Cookery.

Jaffrey is acclaimed for being “the best-known ambassador of Indian food in the United States” by Chef Magazine.  Indian Cookery contains chapters on meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, pulses, relishes, chutneys and pickles with over 100 recipes and comprehensive information on spices, seasonings and authentic preparation techniques.

Monisha Bharadwaj.  The Indian Cooking Course: Technique-Masterclasses-Ingredients-300 Recipes.

The majority of the recipes included have been passed down from generations of the Bharadwaj family.  It explores a myriad of authentic regional recipes with insights into ingredients, techniques and step-by-step instruction.  Chapters include: rice, breads, meats, fish and seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy, lentils and beans, vegetables, snacks and sides, grills, salads and raitas, chutneys and relishes, desserts and drinks.

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