cover image My Bombay Kitchen: Traditional and Modern Parsi Home Cooking

My Bombay Kitchen: Traditional and Modern Parsi Home Cooking

Niloufer Ichaporia King. University of California Press, $29.95 (338pp) ISBN 978-0-520-24960-8

In this charming volume, an independent food scholar explores her Parsi heritage and provides a wide range of recipes that should prove revelatory even for home cooks used to whipping up a biryani at a moment's notice. Though it shares similarities with other subcontinental cuisines-a reliance on ghee, a taste for curry, a deep affection for vegetables-Parsi food is unique in many ways, hinting at its Persian ancestry with ample use of eggs, while nodding toward Europe through savory custards and rich desserts. Many recipes are both unusual and deeply comforting: onions, young garlic, and leeks turn rich and buttery in an Allium Confit, and Braised Greens, spiked with cayenne, are vegetables gone to heaven. Cauliflower, eggs and grated cheese take a decadent turn in Mother's Wobbly Caulfilower Custard. King even makes organ meats appealing: Chicken Livers in Green Masala is a luscious take on the underused ingredient, bright with cumin, chiles and coriander. King also has novel uses for goat brains, kid's trotters and tongue, an intriguing challenge for intrepid home cooks. Perhaps most delightful is her brief introduction to Parsi history and culture, which tells both the author's story as an Indian expatriate in Berkeley, and the fascinating background of one of the world's most sophisticated cuisines.