The premier publication for high-quality, hyperlocal news and announcements in Monmouth County, New Jersey.

Classic Indian Cooking

By MaryAnn Miano

Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni is the perfect bible to learn the properties of fragrant Indian food. Available for checkout for Monmouth County Library patrons and found at the Colts Neck Library, this book reveals the subtle cuisine from all the regions of India. It offers a full production of delicious dishes designed especially for the American kitchen, with every recipe having ingredients that can be found in any supermarket.

In this collection, the cook is offered a complete course in Indian cooking. Julie Sahni introduces the properties of all the basic spices and special ingredients of Indian food; she then explains the techniques employed in using them, always with the help of comparisons to familiar Western methods of cooking. She offers many time-saving shortcuts with the food processor and handy directions for ahead-of-time preparation.

The book begins with an introduction to the history of India’s classic Moghul cuisine and a one-by-one explanation of every aromatic spice and herb common to Indian food. Spices you may recognize (cardamom, clove, coriander, cinnamon, mustard, ginger, nutmeg) and some you may not (asafetida, carom, fenugreek, tamarind) are explained in great detail, along with their Indian names. There is a chapter on special ingredients that explains spice blends, garam marsala, curry, usli ghee, special broths, and Indian cheese that are used as basic ingredients. Food pairing suggestions are mentioned for dishes presented throughout the book.

The author’s descriptive chapters include techniques for mastering preparation of seasonings and spices (used as the backbone for many of the recipes). Appetizers & Snacks; Soups; Meat; Poultry & Eggs; Shellfish & Fish; Vegetables, Cheese, & Legumes (dried peas & beans); Rice; Breads; Relishes; Desserts, and a chapter on beverages round things out nicely. This 500-page masterpiece is a treasure trove of vegetarian and non-vegetarian traditional Indian meals. At the end of each recipe are balanced serving suggestions for every kind of meal.



8 medium-sized boiling potatoes (2 lbs.)

4 medium-sized green peppers (substitute cabbage, cauliflower, or green peas)

3-4 tablespoons light vegetable oil

1 ½ teaspoons turmeric

1 tablespoon Kosher salt


  1. Boil potatoes in their jackets until cooked but still firm. Plunge them in cold water for a minute and peel. Cut them into 1” pieces. Cut green peppers into quarters, core out the stem and seeds from each quarter. Cut them into 1” pieces.
  2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. When the oil is very hot, add turmeric and immediately add the potatoes and green peppers. Sprinkle with salt, fry, turning and tossing for 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of water over the vegetables, reduce heat, and cook, covered, until the green peppers are cooked but still very crisp and bright green (5-10 minutes).
  3. Uncover and stir-fry the vegetables to evaporate any excess moisture remaining in the pan and to brown the vegetables (5 minutes). Check for salt and serve.


Recipe from: Classic Indian Cooking, by Julie Sahni.  Publisher:  William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1980.



Scroll to Top