the appetizer:

Learn authentic Indian cooking with American Masala by Suvir Saran, including recipes like Savory Indian Crêpes with Tomato-Shallot Chutney (Cheelas); Goan-Style Shrimp Curry; and Chicken-Chickpea Harira.

Cookbook Profile

American Masala:
125 New Classics From My Home Kitchen

by Suvir Saran
with Raquel Pelzel

American Masala
Click to buy American Masala


Masala is a catchall phrase that means spice mixture—not just those we add to food, but also the spice that enlivens our lives. This is the concept that Suvir Saran explores in his brilliant new cookbook, American Masala, a delicious blend of Indian and American cooking that combines the best the two have to offer, yielding dishes that are both familiar and new.

A native of Delhi who has lived in America for almost 20 years, Suvir has embraced classic American dishes like combread, brownies, and fried chicken. At the same time, he still loves the dishes and cooking techniques he learned in India, which include tricks like toasting herbs and spices to develop their flavors or finishing a dish with an infusion of flavored oil to add a note of brightness. In American Masala, he delivers unexpected yet familiar recipes utilizing Indian spices that layer flavors in simple but profound ways.

For example, he adds a bit of cayenne to flattened cutlets before dipping them in highly seasoned breadcrumbs for a completely addictive new take on chicken parmesan dubbed parmesan-spiced chicken cutlets, or using three kinds of lentils in the lentil and vegetable stew for a more complex flavor and texture.

Some recipes in American Masala begin with Indian dishes that have been adapted to American ingredients, while others live someplace in between. Whether inspired by one culture or the other, all of the recipes are easy, beautiful, and taste amazing. From snacks and starters to the evening meal, the Indian influence brightens the flavors in dishes like sweet pepper and onion bruschetta, spicy orange baby-back ribs, and tandoori roast Cornish hens.

American Masala isn't about traditional Indian food—it's about adding new flavors to the great American melting pot, using spices to liven up the old standbys, and enjoying dishes that are exciting yet as comforting as your mother's cooking.

About the Author

Suvir Saran, author of Indian Home Cooking, has received numerous accolades for his regional Indian cooking. The restaurant at which he is co-executive chef, Devi, earned widespread critical acclaim and is the only Indian restaurant in New York to earn a coveted Michelin star. His latest endeavors include a new restaurant in Philadelphia, and a chain of casual dining restaurants scheduled to open in 2008. He is a contributing editor to Food Arts magazine and teaches Indian cooking classes that have been featured in the New York Times. He divides his time between New York City and his farm in upstate New York.


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American Masala



This page created February 2008