Chakh Le India, by Aditya Bal
Adhering to a predictable course of action, Aditya Bal chose to release a cookbook named after his NDTV show, Chakh Le India. Westland Books invited the bunch of us at the CaL Blogger’s Table to interact with the man behind the book amidst hideous decor, over-smart service and exceedingly average food at Veda, Connaught Place. I’d like to express my gratitude for the excellent company at the table that salvaged what would otherwise have been a fairly traumatic experience.
What I liked:
- Variety: The book features a variety of recipes from all over India.
- Descriptions and how it should be: Quite a few recipes have some pretty good descriptions of the finished dish and what it should be like. That helps cooks know if they did it right.
What I didn’t like:
- Quality of paper appears low and not the kind I’d like in a kitchen.
- Action shots of Mr. Bal aren’t required before every chapter, though that’s just me.
- Mediocre food shots just do not cut it. The book also needs more photos.
- Indexes were invented for a reason. They’re helpful in finding recipes without trawling through an entire chapter/section. Don’t publishers advise authors? This is the second or third book from this publisher that doesn’t have something as basic as a recipe index. I would think there’s some sort of a checklist that applies to every cook book… unless of course, someone says, let’s make this one different, exciting and make it convey a sense of adventure… let’s omit the Index!
The single recipe I tried, Himachali Tawa Chicken, didn’t work. It resulted in a dry, tasteless dish that I feel sorry the poor hen had to die for. I ate a single piece and ditched the rest; it was shredded and rescued the following morning. The proportions in the recipe are off and I doubt the recipes in this book have been tested as rigorously as required. Considering most of us who tried recipes from the book have the same issue, it only confirms this thought. Also, the recipe for Kerala Chicken Stew is actually a joke in disguise. One does appreciate humor in cookbooks.
I cannot recommend this book and suggest avoiding it.