An Invitation to Indian Cooking NPR coverage of An Invitation to Indian Cooking: With a New Preface by the Author by Madhur Jaffrey. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more.
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An Invitation to Indian Cooking

With a New Preface by the Author

by Madhur Jaffrey

Hardcover, 15 pages, Harpercollins, List Price: $27.99 |


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An Invitation to Indian Cooking
With a New Preface by the Author
Madhur Jaffrey

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Awards and Recognition

James Beard Award (2006)

Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Excerpt: An Invitation To Indian Cooking

Chapter One

Seekh kabab, flat style

This version of the ground meat kabab is excellent to serve with drinks and to take out on picnics. The meat and spices can be combined a night in advance and left, covered, in the refrigerator.

1/2 medium-sized onion, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
A piece of fresh ginger, about 1-inch cube, peeled and chopped
20 whole black peppercorns
10 whole cloves
Seeds from 8 cardamom pods
1 fresh hot green chili, sliced (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons chick pea flour
2 1/2 pounds chuck, ground three times
1 cup (loosely packed) chopped Chinese parsley (coriander greens or cilantro)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional - use as desired)
1 egg, beaten
5 tablespoons melted butter

In the container of an electric blender, combine the chopped onions, garlic, ginger, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom seeds, green chili, nutmeg, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Blend at high speed until you have a smooth paste.

Heat a small iron skillet or griddle over medium flame. Put in the chickpea flour and stir until it is 2 or 3 shades darker. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine the meat, the chopped parsley, the contents of the blender container, the cumin, coriander, salt, cayenne, and roasted chickpea flour. Mix well with your hands. Cover and refrigerate until ready to broil (overnight if convenient).

Take meat out of refrigerator 45 minutes before serving.

Preheat broiler.

Add beaten egg to meat and mix well.

Line 10-by-15-inch baking tray with foil, and brush it with half the melted butter.

Spread the meat mixture in the tray: it should be 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Brush the top with the rest of the melted butter. Place under broiler, 3 to 4 inches away from heat. Broil until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove with a bulb baster any liquid that may accumulate.

Cut meat into 1 1/2-2-inch squares.

Serve hot, or cold, with Raw Onion Rings and Fresh Green Chutney with Chinese Parsley and Yogurt or Fresh Mint Chutney with Fruit.

Serves 8-10

Roast chicken stuffed with spiced rice

If you are tired of your usual chicken roast, try this one. With the expenditure of just a wee bit more time and energy, you can create a sensational dish - spicy without being hot, simple without being dull!

I use precooked (usually leftover!) rice for the stuffing. Adjust the salt for the stuffing according to the saltiness of the precooked rice.

1 roasting chicken, 4 pounds (at room temperature)


2 tablespoons olive oil (or vegetable oil)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground garam masala


1 medium-sized onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
A piece of fresh ginger, about 1-inch cube, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 cup canned whole tomatoes, drained, or 3 fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon whole black mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
2 cups (well-packed) cooked rice
1/2 teaspoon salt (or as needed)

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade. Wipe chicken well with a cloth or paper towel so it is as dry as possible. Brush three-fourths of the marinade all over the chicken, inside and out. Let the chicken sit, unrefrigerated, for about 2 hours. Save rest of marinade.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place the onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, coriander, and cumin in the container of an electric blender. Blend at high speed until you have a smooth paste.

Heat the 4 tablespoons of oil in a 10-12-inch skillet over medium-high flame. When very hot, drop in the mustard and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to rise and pop (15 to 30 seconds), add the paste from the blender, keeping face averted, as the mixture will bubble rapidly and splatter. Stirring, fry the paste on medium-high heat until it is browned. The oil should separate from the paste (this will take about 10 minutes). You will need to stir more frequently as the moisture evaporates.

Add the cooked rice, and the salt as and if you need it. Turn heat to low and mix the browned paste with the rice. Loosely stuff the chicken with the rice and truss it. Place it in an ovenproof baking dish, breast up, and put it in the preheated oven.

Let the chicken brown for about 20 minutes, basting it with the remaining marinade mixture every 5 minutes. Turn down the heat to 350 degrees. Cook another hour or until the leg moves easily when pushed up and down at its socket. Baste every 10 minutes with the juices that will come out of the chicken.

To serve: Lift chicken gently and put on a warm platter. Let it sit for 15 minutes so juices will not flow out when carved. Serve simply with a green salad or, if you like, with any green bean, peas, or cauliflower dish. Sweet Tomato Chutney also tastes good with this roast.

Serves 4