THINNER DINNER by SHUBHRA KRISHNAN

I was the perfect choice to review this book, though I say so myself.

I seriously need to lose weight.

I cannot cook to save my life.  Really & truly.

I usually avoid cookery books like the plague.  Have never knowingly sat down & read a cookery book.  Before this one, that is.

And so when I say I love this book, you know I am speaking the absolute truth.

Intrigued by the title, and inspired by New Year’s resolutions to shed those extra kilos, I found the author’s cheerful style and honest self-truths about her own weight refreshing.  The book is an easy, entertaining read, combining tips and recipes and general observations about food.

Divided into 14 chapters, the author starts off her quest for slimming but tasty food with that ultimate Indian comfort food, dal-chawal (lentils and rice, for non-Hindi speakers) sharing a recipe of Shahnaz Husain which peps up the dal in a brilliant way.

Tried it, and it is delicious.

Chapter 2 tackles soups, under the title “Life is too short for bland soup” and Shubhra Krishnan shares all kinds of tips using spices which (in her own words) “sex up soups.”  It’s that kind of book.

Salads, bread, rotis, vegetables, paneer, potatoes, rice, pasta, pizza – there isn’t an aspect of a meal that the author doesn’t discuss and analyse in her irrepressibly cheerful style.  Never once does she make you feel you have to cut down completely on the good things in life.  Rather she tweaks old favourites, and gives you ample scope to eat well, with taste and comfort and – for this is essentially an Indian cook book – lots of spice.

As the blurb on the back cover says “ Learn smart ways to shave off those calories” – and that is exactly the approach Shubhra Krishnan takes.  You eat pretty much as you usually do, but by dint of substituting leaner foods, and adding and tweaking the use of spices, the final result is less calorific.

The book is visually pleasing with nicely styled food photos, plus drawings and cartoons.  The recipes are written as though they are on torn-off pages of a notebook – a nice touch – and the author takes you stage by stage through the recipes, in simple, layman’s terms.  Perfect for the culinary-challenged, like me.

So, for example, a recipe for Rosemary Roast Potatoes which the author disarmingly admits “is a dish that takes my breath away, along with my adjectives” has a photo + recipe + stage by stage instructions + extra hints as to how you can jazz the recipe up further.

She starts her chapter on rice with a beautiful quotation from a Japanese chef :

Rice…is beautiful when it grows, precision rows of sparkling green stalks shooting up to reach the hot summer sun.  It is beautiful when harvested, autumn golden sheaves piled on diked, patchwork paddies.”

Then she wryly adds :

“The Dietician’s Opinion : Rice is fattening. Sigh.”

She shares great pasta recipes, includes pizza and dessert recipes.

Seriously, how can you not love a cookery book like this ?

Published by westland ltd (with a small W) the book costs Rs 395.  Although it is very much an Indian cook-book, it is not exclusively an Indian cook book.  Readers who might not be familiar with Indian food will not be put off at all by the recipes – the whole approach is inclusive.

If you feel like buying the book, after reading this review, then just click on the link below.  Couldn’t be easier!

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