100 books like Classic Indian Cooking

By Julie Sahni,

Here are 100 books that Classic Indian Cooking fans have personally recommended if you like Classic Indian Cooking. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Jane Asher’s Eats for Treats

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

From my list on easy peasy cooking with easy to find ingredients.

Why am I passionate about this?

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. 

Manju's book list on easy peasy cooking with easy to find ingredients

Manju Malhi BEM Why did Manju love 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. 

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.


Book cover of Michael Barry's Food and Drink Cookbook

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

From my list on easy peasy cooking with easy to find ingredients.

Why am I passionate about this?

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. 

Manju's book list on easy peasy cooking with easy to find ingredients

Manju Malhi BEM Why did Manju love 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.

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".


Book cover of Summer Cookery

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

From my list on easy peasy cooking with easy to find ingredients.

Why am I passionate about this?

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. 

Manju's book list on easy peasy cooking with easy to find ingredients

Manju Malhi BEM Why did Manju love 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. 

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....


Book cover of Food Made in Shetland

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

From my list on easy peasy cooking with easy to find ingredients.

Why am I passionate about this?

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. 

Manju's book list on easy peasy cooking with easy to find ingredients

Manju Malhi BEM Why did Manju love 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. 

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.


Book cover of Indian Cooking

Frances Kuffel Author Of Passing for Thin: Losing Half My Weight and Finding My Self

From my list on cookbooks for weight loss and maintenance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love to cook and it’s difficult to find something beyond chicken and salad when you’re trying to lose weight.  Over the years I’ve assembled a cookbook library that covers many topics (interested in how the Georgians ate green beans? I can help you out!), many of them as off-topic from weight-loss as my cookie cookbook collection. But I still return to what I call “abstinent” favorites, simply because they are so tasty.

Frances' book list on cookbooks for weight loss and maintenance

Frances Kuffel Why did Frances love this book?

If you discount Northern Europe and North America, it’s amazing that most of the world has such clean food. I love Indian food and Madhur Jaffrey knows how to make it accessible and easy for the rest of us.  You’ll find dishes here that are not part of your local Indian spot: Dry Moong Dal, Goan-style Hot and Spicy Pork, Cold Yogurt Soup with Mint.

By Madhur Jaffrey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Chef magazine called this book�s author �the best-known ambassador of Indian food in the United States� . . . and the Boston Herald referred to her as �the renowned author and actress [who] teaches home cooks about the sophistication and infinite diversity of Indian fare.� The New York Times described her simply and succinctly as �the Indian cuisine authority.� For many years a best-selling cookbook, Madhur Jaffrey�s seminal title on Indian cuisine now has been totally revised, redesigned, enlarged, and enhanced with 70 brand-new full-color photos. With chapters on meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables, as well as pulses, relishes, chutneys,…


Book cover of Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India

Didi Emmons Author Of Vegetarian Planet

From my list on Southeast Asian cookbooks from a Chef who uses them daily.

Why am I passionate about this?

Thirty-two years ago, I got my start as a chef by cooking in a shoebox cafe in Boston that played with curious Asian ingredients. Ten years later, after using lots of Asian cookbooks, I was incorporating Thai and Vietnamese cooking into my menus at the restaurant I was running. A few years after that, I opened and ran a Vietnamese restaurant in Cambridge (unfortunately, after major success, it burned down after a year). After this, the tourism board of Malaysia sent me on a four-week trip to write about the street food for FoodArts magazine. It is these experiences that greatly influenced my interest in Southeast Asian cooking.

Didi's book list on Southeast Asian cookbooks from a Chef who uses them daily

Didi Emmons Why did Didi love this book?

This is a glossy cookbook published first in India and then in 1994 by an Australian division of Harper Collins. I’ve made many, many recipes in this book and it’s opened my eyes to the meat-free, texturally complex cuisine of South India. The careful but dynamic mix of ingredients such as mustard seeds, curry leaves, dried coconut, dal, and cumin seeds used in tempering dishes brings the food to life. I recommend this book to the curious and adventuresome home cook who enjoys shopping at Indian markets. The recipes are solid and for the most part easy once you become familiar with its cuisine and techniques.

By Chandra Padmanabhan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Dakshin" in an ancient Sanskrit word meaning "south." It symbolizes what this Indian cookbook is all about - the best and most delicious of South Indian vegetarian cuisine.

Filled with tempting recipes and beautiful photographs, Dakshin: Vegetarian Cooking from South India presents the finest cooking from the region. Drawn from the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh, and the union territory of Pondicherry, the recipes in this vegetarian cookbook bring traditional South Indian cooking within reach of any cook in any kitchen.

From sambars and rasams, to cooling desserts and sweet treats, Dakshin takes you through the…


Book cover of Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India

Leslie Karst Author Of Justice is Served: A Tale of Scallops, the Law, and Cooking for RBG

From my list on food memoirs about transformative personal journeys.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since childhood, when my best friend and I would experiment together with recipes from the Time-Life Foods of the World cookbook series and then gorge on the delectable results, I’ve been enamored of food and cooking, a love which eventually led me to pursue a degree in culinary arts (while simultaneously spending my days as a research and appellate attorney). In addition to Justice is Served, I also write the Sally Solari Mysteries, a culinary series set in Santa Cruz, California. 

Leslie's book list on food memoirs about transformative personal journeys

Leslie Karst Why did Leslie love this book?

Madhur Jaffrey—the actress/author/celebrity chef whose cookbooks opened up to an entire generation of Brits and Americans the wonders of Indian cuisine—taught me to cook Indian food. And then this beautiful memoir taught me to appreciate the history and culture from whence her recipes spring. A heartfelt and vivid tale of growing up in northern India under the shadow of the coming world war, Climbing the Mango Trees is the story of family, spicy cauliflower (and yes, mangos, too!), and the ability of food to evoke memory and unite us all. 

By Madhur Jaffrey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Climbing the Mango Trees as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

'I was born in a sprawling house by the Yamuna River in Delhi. When I was a few minutes old, Grandmother welcomed me into the world by writing 'Om', which means 'I am' in Sanskrit, on my tongue with a little finger dipped in honey. When the family priest arrived to draw up my horoscope, he scribbled astrological symbols on a long scroll and set down a name for me, Indrani, or 'queen of the heavens'. My father ignored him completely and proclaimed my name was to be Madhur ('sweet as honey').' So begins Madhur Jaffrey's enchanting memoir of her…


Book cover of My Bombay Kitchen: Traditional and Modern Parsi Home Cooking

Darra Goldstein Author Of Beyond the North Wind: Russia in Recipes and Lore

From my list on cookbooks for armchair travelers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been thinking and writing about food ever since I spent a year in the Soviet Union many decades ago and discovered that food is a wonderfully immediate way to enter into another culture. My first cookbook led to a stint as a spokesperson for Stolichnaya vodka when it was first introduced to the US—a fascinating exercise in cross-cultural communication during the Cold War. In 2001 I founded Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture, which deepened my interest in culinary cultures around the world. Cookbooks aren't just about recipes. For me, the best ones include personal stories and history that transport you to other realms.

Darra's book list on cookbooks for armchair travelers

Darra Goldstein Why did Darra love this book?

Until picking up this book I knew nothing about Parsi food, a distinctive way of cooking practiced by the descendants of the Zoroastrians who fled Persia for India around the 8th century. And what a cuisine it is! This book engages all your senses, immersing you in the aromas, colors, and tastes of Parsi kitchens. Niloufer King's descriptions are beguiling, her language deft as she evokes dishes like the "wobbly" cauliflower custard of her childhood and its "trembling delicacy," or a hot green chutney that is "raucous" rather than refined. King brings family and friends to life through anecdotes that reveal the long history and continuing evolution of this distinctive manner of cooking.

By Niloufer Ichaporia King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Bombay Kitchen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Persians of antiquity were renowned for their lavish cuisine and their never-ceasing fascination with the exotic. These traits still find expression in the cooking of India's rapidly dwindling Parsi population - descendants of Zoroastrians who fled Persia after the Sassanian empire fell to the invading Arabs. The first book published in the United States on Parsi food written by a Parsi, this beautiful volume includes 165 recipes and makes one of India's most remarkable regional cuisines accessible to Westerners. In an intimate narrative rich with personal experience, the author leads readers into a world of new ideas, tastes, ingredients,…


Book cover of Feast: Food of the Islamic World

Mary Taylor Simeti Author Of Sicilian Summer: An Adventure in Cooking with my Grandsons

From my list on food catering to the plate, the eye, and the mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an American living and cooking in Sicily for almost sixty years, I have soaked up Sicilian cuisine and culture both through research and by osmosis, delighting in discovering how the food I was preparing reflected the island’s position in history and geography, a meeting point for almost all the civilizations of the Mediterranean. My first book, a memoir of my life here entitled On Persephone’s Island, was followed by Pomp and Sustenance. Twenty-five Centuries of Sicilian Food, the first book on Sicilian cuisine to be published in English. Six more books on different aspects of Sicilian food and culture, in English or in Italian, have followed.

Mary's book list on food catering to the plate, the eye, and the mind

Mary Taylor Simeti Why did Mary love this book?

Feast is indeed a feast, served to the eye and the mind as well as to the palate. This Lebanese food writer has traveled from Senegal to Indonesia and to all the Islamic countries in between to gather recipes that are almost painfully tempting, lushly illustrated, and amply annotated. Reading it, one discovers how we in the West impoverish our idea of Islamic food when we equate it only with that of the Middle East.

By Anissa Helou,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Sunday Times Book of the Year (Bee Wilson)

A sweeping culinary journey across the Islamic world, and a celebration of its most iconic recipes.

A diverse and rich culinary tradition has evolved in every place touched by Islam, always characterised by deliciousness and fragrance, a love of herbs and the deft use of spices.

Anissa Helou's Feast represents an extraordinary journey through place and time, travelling from Senegal to Indonesia via the Arab, Persian, Mughal or North African heritage of so many dishes. This exploration of the foods of Islam begins with bread and its myriad variations, from pita…


Book cover of Radha & Jai's Recipe for Romance

Ananya Devarajan Author Of Kismat Connection

From my list on young adult featuring Indian American characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I specialize in writing Young Adult Fiction with an emphasis on the Romance genre, and my debut novel, Kismat Connection, releases from Inkyard Press and HarperCollins in Summer 2023. Growing up as an Indian American, I remember searching for bits and pieces of my identity in the media. Most of the time, I wouldn’t find any representation at all—so it wasn’t long before I decided that if I couldn’t find the representation that I so desperately wanted to see, I’d have to make it myself. Kismat Connection was born from this moment in my life, and it will forever serve as the foundation for my career in publishing.

Ananya's book list on young adult featuring Indian American characters

Ananya Devarajan Why did Ananya love this book?

This is a young adult romance novel featuring Radha Chopra, a world-renowned Kathak dancer, who gives up her love of dance when a family betrayal comes to light. Radha is instantly a protagonist to root for, a strong, independent, and fierce Indian woman that we so rarely see in contemporary Western media. Nisha Sharma champions such genuine desi representation in this story, and it is absolutely a must-read for all—but especially for passionate and creative Indian American teenagers. 

By Nisha Sharma,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Radha & Jai's Recipe for Romance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Radha was on the verge of winning the world's biggest kathak dancing competition when a family betrayal shattered her dreams, and her confidence. Now, she's made a deal with her mum: study dance for a year at the Princeton Academy of Arts and Sciences and then leave that world forever. But if she's not a dancer, what is she? Could learning to cook - a way to connect with her absent father - become her new passion?
Jai, captain of the academy's Bollywood Beats dance team, is putting his hopes of going to medical school on hold because money is…


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