The best books for easy peasy cooking with easy to find ingredients

Manju Malhi BEM Author Of Easy Indian Cookbook: Over 70 Deliciously Simple Recipes
By Manju Malhi BEM

Who am I?

Growing up as an Asian girl in the UK has its ups and downs. I was bullied at school but sought solace in cooking and learning from my mother about Indian cuisine. Now in my adult life, I’ve been awarded the British Empire Medal for cooking services to the community during the pandemic. A straightforward approach to cuisine has won me fans globally and a TV series broadcast to over 80 million viewers cooking British dishes for an Indian audience. After writing 6 books on the subject of easy cooking, I hope you like the choices on my very personal list which are dog-eared and spice stained with overuse and love. 


I wrote...

Easy Indian Cookbook: Over 70 Deliciously Simple Recipes

By Manju Malhi BEM,

Book cover of Easy Indian Cookbook: Over 70 Deliciously Simple Recipes

What is my book about?

The Easy Indian Cookbook is a book that’s sold globally even in India and does what it says on the cover. There’s an image of the dish for each recipe and at the back there are menu suggestions on what to cook and how to plan your cooking schedule. This globally sold cookbook has also been translated into several languages and I still refer to it as my Indian cooking guide whenever I teach novice spice cooks.

The books I picked & why

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Classic Indian Cooking

By Julie Sahni,

Book cover of Classic Indian Cooking

Why this book?

I interviewed Julie about her book many years ago for BBC Radio and I remember that time that I was so impressed with her details and historical background to the dishes she featured. Even the glossary was informative, but above all, the recipes were versatile and easy to follow. The book inspired me to cook beyond my comfort zones and allowed me to experiment further.

Classic Indian Cooking

By Julie Sahni,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Classic Indian Cooking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This extraordinary cookbook is a complete course in Indian cuisine. When it was first published it was hailed by both Jane Grigson and Elizabeth David, who said of it.. 'This is a marvellous book. Julie Sahni tackles the daunting task of presenting the multiple, complex traditions of Indian cookery to the English-speaking world and brings it off triumphantly.' Illustrated throughout with explanatory line drawings it introduces all the basic spices and special ingredients so fundamental to Indian food, then explains the techniques employed in using them. So brilliant a teacher is Julie Sahni that it is immediately obvious that Indian…


Jane Asher’s Eats for Treats

By Jane Asher,

Book cover of Jane Asher’s Eats for Treats

Why this book?

This was my first foray into baking when I received this cookbook. Although it’s aimed at children, it’s a straightforward recipe book with step by step images of stages in a recipe. My favourite recipe from the book is a Banana Cake. It has splashes of batter on it because it has been baked time and time again and I still use this recipe a decade later. 

Jane Asher’s Eats for Treats

By Jane Asher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jane Asher’s Eats for Treats as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The author, who has published several other books on cake decorating and children's parties, aims to show eight-to-12-year-olds that cooking can be fun. She reminds them that safety always comes first, and any procedure in the recipes requiring adult supervision is indicated with a special symbol. The 40 recipes provide an introduction to all the basic cooking methods and there is emphasis on the aspects which children like most, such as beating, kneading, rolling out and decorating. All the recipes have been tested by children and are graded according to difficulty.


Michael Barry's Food and Drink Cookbook

By Michael A. Barry,

Book cover of Michael Barry's Food and Drink Cookbook

Why this book?

This was a cookbook written by chef Michael Barry to tie in with a BBC series known as Food and Drink published long before I appeared on the series as a competition winner to cook an impressive dish. It was gifted to me by a close friend who wrote on the inside, ‘Something to aspire to’ and it most certainly has inspired me in my approach to writing. This handy paperback reflects the time people were still quite traditional in their culinary ways but has a simple approach to creating English classics such as Chicken Liver Pate, Leeks in White Sauce and Raspberry Fool.

Michael Barry's Food and Drink Cookbook

By Michael A. Barry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Michael Barry's Food and Drink Cookbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Michael Barry has had a life-long passion for food. The economics and politics of food, as well as environmental and health issues, are as important to him as growing, buying and cooking. This is a collection of 250 wide-ranging recipes from his BBC2 programme, "Food and Drink".


Summer Cookery

By Rohini Singh,

Book cover of Summer Cookery

Why this book?

It’s an interesting cookbook concept because it has been aimed at the Indian market where the summers are extremely hot and one would feel less inclined to spend long hours over a hot stove in the kitchen. However, the recipes include cooling dishes using seasonal fruits and vegetables but with an Indian twist. My favourite is the non alcoholic Party Punch which uses Indian oranges and chikoos which look like potatoes but have a soft brown edible flesh. 

Summer Cookery

By Rohini Singh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Summer Cookery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Summer cookery is a collection of recipes designed specially to help you cook and keep cool through the hottest months of the year. Simple, practical, with a minimum of fussy procedures, the menu card includes thirst-quenchers, unusually flavoured vegetables, simply cooked meats and surprisingly easy desserts, featuring fruits, ice-creams and jellies. There is a special selection of chutneys and pickles to enhance any menu....


Food Made in Shetland

By Marian Armitage,

Book cover of Food Made in Shetland

Why this book?

After spending a week in beautiful Shetland, I was lucky enough to savour the flavours of Shetland and the warm and wonderful hospitality of Marian Armitage who has written this personal yet informative book about the produce of Shetland with recipes that are adaptable and can be turned into delicious meals at home. Beautifully photographed, my favourite is the Bunny Chow which reflects diverse and global communities that are living in this unique place and how the dish can be rustled up with everyday ingredients and store cupboard spices. 

Food Made in Shetland

By Marian Armitage,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Food Made in Shetland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


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