100 books like Dakshin

By Chandra Padmanabhan,

Here are 100 books that Dakshin fans have personally recommended if you like Dakshin. 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 Thai Home Cooking from Kamolmal's Kitchen

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?

Written 35 years ago by a UCLA professor and a Bangkok-born female chef who owned a highly lauded restaurant near LA, this photo-less book explains Thai cuisine well, as well as the culture of food in Thailand, and its recipes never miss the mark and generally are short. This book is in no small part responsible for the success of Veggie Planet, a pizza restaurant I owned in Harvard Square, Cambridge, for 6 years. One of the most popular pizzas was called “Red Curry” pizza and was layered with coconut rice, broccoli, pan-fried tofu, and this book’s Red Curry Peanut Sauce. Never again will you use a curry sauce from a can. It’s been through 9 printings, and you’ll have to buy a used copy.

By William Crawford, Kamolmal Pootaraksa,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thai Home Cooking from Kamolmal's Kitchen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Rich, unusual flavors and hot and spicy combinations have made Thai cooking the newest exotic cuisine that is sweeping the country. Now 157 classic dishes from the authentic Thai restaurant Kamolmal have been collected and re-created into easy-to-follow recipes for American cooks.


Book cover of Simple Art of Vietnamese Cooking

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 book is written by Binh Duong, the owner and chef of a Vietnamese restaurant in Hartford, CT, and Marcia Kiesel, who was a food and wine magazine journalist and tester. I once opened and ran a popular pho restaurant in Cambridge and I relied heavily, almost fully, on this cookbook. Its recipes are almost never off-tune (and I highly recommend the dipping sauces and condiments chapter). Its recipes are easy to follow and every detail is clearly spelled out. Some ingredients may be foreign (tree ears, tiger lily buds) but nothing a decent Asian market would not have.

By Marcia Kiesel, Binh Duong,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The author shares his secrets to cooking such Vietnamese dishes as Coral Lobster, Hanoi Soup, Happy Pancakes, and Sweet Potato Nests with Shrimp


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 Classic Indian Cooking

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?

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.

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…


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…


Book cover of Love Real Food: More Than 100 Feel-Good Vegetarian Favorites to Delight the Senses and Nourish the Body

Deana Gunn Author Of Vegetarian Cooking with Trader Joe's Cookbook

From my list on cooking vegetarian for easy and delicious meals.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a cookbook and children's book author and co-owner of Brown-Bag Publishers, a small independent publishing company since 2007. I love good food, and I have a passion for creating (and using!) recipes that are easy and result in delicious, healthy meals that appeal to the whole family. I’m the author of the bestselling Cooking with All Things Trader Joe's which was the first in the popular 10-book Trader Joe's cookbook series. I live in a small surf town in California with my husband and four kids.

Deana's book list on cooking vegetarian for easy and delicious meals

Deana Gunn Why did Deana love this book?

Kathryne is behind the vegetarian food blog, Cookie + Kate, and this cookbook includes favorite recipes such as Southwestern Roasted Veggie Salad, Lentil Soup, Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili, and homemade granola. I love that she incorporates roasted vegetables into so many salads and other dishes. It's my favorite way to prepare vegetables. Lots of photos throughout, which is a feature I appreciate in any cookbook.

By Kathryne Taylor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Her friendly commentary inspires readers to step into the kitchen and cook healthy meals, again and again. And the book wouldn't be complete without plenty of pictures of her lovable, food- obsessed puppy sous chef, Cookie, of course! With delicious recipes like chai-spiced steel-cut oats, a pesto and quinoa power salad, jasmine tea mojitos, and reader favourite banana oat bread, Love Real Food is a natural extension of Taylor's blog, including the hallmarks that entice her many readers to visit her site daily for more. She's got quite the fanbase eagerto buy the book: Her blog has more than a…


Book cover of Diet for a Small Planet: The Book That Started a Revolution in the Way Americans Eat

Larissa Zimberoff Author Of Technically Food: Inside Silicon Valley's Mission to Change What We Eat

From my list on people who love to eat (in the future).

Why am I passionate about this?

My world is motivated by food: what to eat, when to eat, where to eat. At least since I was 12, when I was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes. This is when I learned the “boring” things like carbs, fat, protein, and fiber. Scrutiny of my diet, and the food I ate, became a passion and finally my career. Not only in what I buy at the grocery store or put on my plate, but in the topics I write about. For me, food comes with its life-sustaining compliment: Insulin. How will techno foods be processed in my body? This question drives me to understand future foods at a molecular level, and then to share what I’ve learned in my writing. 

Larissa's book list on people who love to eat (in the future)

Larissa Zimberoff Why did Larissa love this book?

I’ve read this book twice, and each time I’ve found new reasons to tell people why to read it.

Frances Moore Lappé’s thoughts on the impact of industrially-scaled animal agriculture on our planet were so forward thinking. True then, in 1971 when she wrote the book, it continues to ring true today, more than 50 years later.

It’s a conversation that is propelling almost all of the food-tech innovations we’re seeing today, from lab-grown meat to chicken-less egg protein and precision dairy. Lappé’s writing is thoughtful and easy to follow. There are even a few timeless recipes if you like to cook.

By Frances Moore Lappe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Diet for a Small Planet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover a way of eating that revolutionized the meaning of our food choices and sold more than 3 million copies—now in a 50th-anniversary edition with a timely introduction plus new and updated plant-centered recipes
 
“Frances Moore Lappé is one of the few people who can credibly be said to have changed the way we eat—and one of an even smaller group to have done it for the better.”—The New York Times
 
In 1971, Diet for a Small Planet broke new ground, revealing how our everyday acts are a form of power to create health for ourselves and our planet. This…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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