Is there anyone who doesn’t like Madhur Jaffrey? I’ve seen her in interviews and she seems like such a calm, poised, and kind person. That benevolent smile is infectious.

Truth be told, I hope I am not being biased in touting this book–I LOVE Indian food–but I do not believe I am. This book has gone through countless editions, the first appearing in 1992, the second in 1994 and so on. I bought my copy in 2008 and it is still available on Amazon. That’s a good book.

The book is simply arranged: 1. Soups, Snacks, and Savories; 2) Meat; 3) Poultry and Eggs; 4) Fish; 5) Vegetables; 6) Pulses; 7) Accompaniments; 8) Relishes, Chutneys, and Pickles; and 9) Sweets.

Jaffrey’s “Green Soup” is a pea soup with potatoes, jalapenos, cream, and a healthy complement of Indian spices. I don’t really know if it’s good for you, and I don’t care. It’s good for the soul!

I am a sucker for lamb, and there are plenty of recipes for Indian lamb stews, meatballs and minced lamb “salads.” Of course, beef may be substituted, but that would be sad!

I love Kashmiri-style curries and Jaffrey’s “Red Lamb or Beef Stew” is on track. Try it with turnips, which, as Jaffrey notes “are perhaps the most underrated vegetable in the world.” My CSA send me turnips all through cold months and initially, I didn’t know what to do with them much more than make a stock or puree them into a squash puree with parnsips. But they are as good in curry as they are in stew. You won’t be disappointed, I assure you. They add a pleasant and refreshing tartness to otherwise rich, fatty, hearty, dishes.

These are very approachable recipes. One does not generally need a larder of exotic spices to make them (although a few call for spices like asafoetida that not everyone has readily–but buy a jar: it’s cheap and irreplaceable in recipes). Neither does one need to devote significant time to cooking most of these recipes or to learn complicated culinary techniques. No wonder this book has been a hit for almost 40 years.

The original pictures were shot by James Murphy in 1994 and the additional ones in my copy by Jean Cazals.