Nutrionist and chef Gurpareet Bains is all over the review pages right now with his recipe book Indian Superfood. Packed with glowing endorsements from the likes of Dame Vivenne Westood and Sanjeev Bhaskar, to name a few, we had high hopes for this book. That someone should recognise the amazing nutritional diversity of Indian foods, as well as the antioxidant and healing properties of spices long since recognised by Ayurveda seemed like a great idea, and rich material for a book. Alas, the result is not particularly special. There are some recipe books that make you salivate literally by opening the cover, and others which wow you with their elegant photography, food styling, or literary style. This doesn’t really tick either of those boxes, and the recipes (curried baked beans on toast???) do little to excite. It’s also one of the most meat focussed Indian cookery books we’ve come across for a long time, which also grated slightly. Surely part of the nutritional richness found in Indian cuisine is in its wide diversity of indigenous pulses, grains and vegetables, many of which are only just beginning to reach a wider market. None of these are really discussed, instead we get recipes like Chicken with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic which sounds about as Indian as a Jamie Oliver recipe. There are a few redeeming dishes here: samphire stir-fried with mustard and nigellla sounds delicious, and an interesting piece of modern fusion: goji berry and green pea pilau. Still, in the long run this book is a good opportunity missed.
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