This month sees the release of Ammu, the new cookbook from chef and owner of Darjeeling Express Asma Khan, which she has dedicated to her mother. Here Asma shares with us some of her favourite cookbooks that captivate not only with recipes but with storytelling.
'The cookbooks in my Bookshop list are those that introduce a new kind of cuisine with stories and emotions. These are more meaningful cookbooks for me, as they are not just about the food but the culture and the people that have created them.'
The only British chef to be profiled on the award-winning Netflix show Chef’s Table, Asma says of Ammu: “My Ammu, mother, is the centre of our family. This book is a tribute to the simple home-cooking from her kitchen in Calcutta. These dishes will bring warmth to your kitchen when you need a quick meal or dish to share with your family and friends. This is the food I cook for my family every day, meals to comfort, restore and nourish.”
Asma Khan - photo credit Urszula Soltys
Here's a win-win; it turns out that you can spend your hard-earned money supporting small independent bookshops, yet still get the choice, discounts and click-and-deliver convenience of a giant corporation.
Bookshop.org is an online bookselling platform and affiliate network with a mission to financially support independent bookstores and literary culture. Launched in the UK in November 2020, the UK site has already raised over £2m for independent bookshops and has been named The Bookseller Future Book Start-Up of the Year 2021. Bookshops receive 30 percent of the cover price from each sale they generate on the platform; books are offered to consumers at a small discount, and in-stock books are delivered within 2-3 days.
Ammu: Indian Home Cooking to Nourish Your Soul - Asma Khan
'This is a book that will have a recipe for every season of your life! Dedicated to my Ammu (mother), it covers a lifetime of cooking and love with 100 recipes and beautiful imagery. A food memoir divided into five chapters - childhood favourites, dishes I cooked in my early days, slow-cooked gems, big moment celebrations, and finally the nourishing recipes I cook with my children.'
Ayla: A Feast of Nepali Dishes from Terai, Hills and the Himalayas - Santosh Shah
'Nepal is a melting pot of Chinese and Indian culinary influences, but its food is unique and distinctive. It celebrates a culture and a people who are very resilient and have always managed to cook interesting food by making the most of what they can from a very hostile terrain.'
Falastin: A Cookbook - Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley
'The stories and the people in the book are captivating. It is a lovely introduction to a region I didn't know much about.'
Fire, Smoke, Green: Vegetarian Barbecue, Smoking and Grilling Recipes - Martin Nordin
'The book is a great tool for anyone who is trying to expand their repertoire of barbecued food. With so many of our friends who are vegan or vegetarian, this book is a great way to ensure that they are also offered exciting and interesting food.'
Parwana: Recipes and Stories from an Afghan Kitchen - Durkhanai Ayubi
'The food of Afghanistan is not often given the same level of exposure as the rest of the subcontinent. It was so interesting to see the similarities of the dishes that were clearly from Afghanistan in origin that travelled to Northern India.'
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Article by Chatting Food Deputy Editor (London) Amanda David @LondonGAT