Let’s start by saying that I am not a cook, I can’t cook for toffee (or make toffee either). My gourmet dinners involve reading the packets and putting in the oven for the necessary time. Although I can boil and fry and egg and throw chicken breasts or burgers on the George Foreman grill. If I could find a basic cookery course that taught the basics of cooking simple foods, I think I would do it. So asking me to cook a curry and one that would taste as good as an Indian restaurant would probably be disastrous (never mind not knowing where to begin). But that’s where books come into it, you can learn an awful lot from a good book. For review, I was sent the Curry Compendium by Richard Sayce (aka Misty Ricardo), a recipe book to help cook a British Indian Restaurant (BIR) style curry at home.
Curries as we know them from our favourite takeaways and restaurants are generally Indian dishes modified for British tastes, known as BIR or British Indian Restaurant style curry, and they generate billions of pounds for the UK economy with most British towns and cities having at least one Indian restaurant or takeaway. Being able to recreate your favourite curry dish at home in the comfort of your own kitchen might be a challenge for a lot of people, but with Misty Richardo’s Curry Compendium by Richard Sayce you will be able to do just that!
Richard Sayce, is the man behind Misty Ricardo’s Curry Kitchen and top-selling paperback books Indian Restaurant Curry at Home: Volume 1 & 2. For Curry Compendium he has combined the two books into one collection, featuring content from both of the books, into a quality hardback format, added a splattering of new recipes, and updated many of the photographs and illustrations to create a new superb curry cookbook that would make an ideal Christmas gift for the curry lover in your life that wants to recreate their favourite tasting restaurant style curry or for someone that just wants to try out a curry for the first time.
Curry Compendium features 99 fully detailed recipes, covering starters, mains, sides, rice, accompaniments, and traditional Indian & streetfood. With just under 100 mouth-watering, easy to follow recipes to try out and delight your tastebuds, any curry lover will want this recipe book on their kitchen bookshelf.
Curry Compendium features:
- 99 recipes, fully detailed and explained, covering starters, mains, sides, rice, accompaniments, and traditional Indian & streetfood
- Video Tuition throughout. A QR code is included for most recipes which can be scanned with a smartphone to instantly open up the associated YouTube video
- A quick and easy base gravy recipe to cook in 30 minutes
- Scaling Up – a detailed but easy to follow chapter about cooking multiple curry portions at once
- Inside an Indian Restaurant kitchen – a chapter showing the workings of a busy kitchen
- Additional recipe photos crediting social media followers
- Based on the top-selling, Gourmand award winning paperbacks Indian Restaurant Curry at Home Volumes 1 & 2
All the recipes featured in the book are all backed up with detailed and comprehensive informational chapters: everything you need to learn the art of BIR curry cooking.
Overall, Richard Sayce’s (aka Misty Ricardo) Curry Compendium is an excellent book to teach you how to prepare and cook delicious BIR (British Indian Restaurant) style curries in your home kitchen.
This is so much more than a recipe book. Yes you can pick it up, flip to a recipe and start preparing your curry, but without reading the first part of the book that teaches you about pre-cooking chicken (and the reasons why), how to make mix spices and base curry and even watching the video tutorial on how to make basic curry sauce, your curries probably won’t be as good quality and flavoursome as your favourite Indian restaurant or takeaway.
The first part of this comprehensive recipe book covers the different spices that you will use, what cookware and utensils that you will need, how to make a batch of mix spices and base gravy (the essential of BIR cooking), as well as how to use and store them. It even goes into the differences about why a restaurant / takeaway curry tastes better than a homecooked one (with a lot of it down to cooking heat) and why it is a good idea to pre-cook chicken for use later in your curry. And for those of you that like to eat leftover curry the following day (there is no need to waste food and apparently it tastes better the day after anyway) it even tells you how to reheat a curry for the best flavour.
Most of the recipes featured in the book are for generous single size Indian takeaway servings (unless stated otherwise) as this is the best way to bring out all of the flavours, especially when cooking in a home kitchen. As a lot of people will also be cooking for other family members or friends at the same time and won’t want to cook several individual potions there are instructions on how to make larger portions correctly (scaling up), not just multiplying the ingredients by number of people.
All of the recipes give an explanation about each dish as well as detailed instructions on ingredients required as well as how to prepare and cook, next to high-quality images of each dish so that you can see what it should look like. All the recipes can also easily be adapted by changing the main ingredient (if you didn’t want chicken, you could easily replace it with beef or something else). If you prefer cooking more visually or just want to see how it is done, that can be done too as on each recipe page is a QR code that you can scan with your phone or tablet that quickly takes you to YouTube to see a video (with instructions) of that dish being prepared. The recipes even have some authors notes on them, just giving little hints and tips or information on what ingredients can be substituted for others etc.
The back of the book also has plenty of very useful information. As well as the index so that you can easily find the dish that you want to create, it has a very useful shopping list of essential ingredients, cookware and utensils you will need to keep in the pantry if you plan on cooking curry dishes on a regular basis, as well as “and nice to have” ingredients. And to help you even further it has a small list of online suppliers where you can buy spices and other ingredients that you might not be able to find in your local shops.
Overall, if you love a curry, especially from an Indian restaurant, and would love to recreate the taste of a BIR style meal at home, then Richard Sayce’s (aka Misty Ricardo) Curry Compendium is definitely the recipe book to own. A simple and straightforward recipe book that is easy to read, understand and follow, without being pretentious. It does an excellent job of explaining all the steps in detail as well as the reasons why things need to be done a certain way to bring out the best flavours and textures.
As I said at the start, I am not a cook in any way shape or form (for me to cook a curry, it would be throwing a ready meal in the microwave), but I found this book very easy to follow and the instructions easy to comprehend. I don’t expect to become a restaurant chef but hopefully with a bit of practice and following the instructions properly I will be able to make a decent curry that people will not only eat but will enjoy.
With Christmas coming up, this would make an excellent gift this year for the curry-loving family member. They will be able to save themselves a fortune on takeaways and hopefully, with a little bit of practice, do a good job of recreating great tasting British Indian Restaurant style meals.
RRP: £24.99 (Hardback)