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Hot Pink Spice Saga

An Indian Culinary Travelogue with Recipes


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Hot Pink Spice Saga: An Indian Culinary Travelogue with Recipes by Julie Le Clerc
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A fabulous, exuberant book of food, travel and humour by two of New Zealands's best-loved cooks.

Peta Mathias and Julie Le Clerc are in love with food, in love with travel and in love with India. In her characteristic exuberant, evocative and hilarious style, Peta relates how they got to know this fascinating country through its cuisine: be it street food, feasts, or an everyday meal cooked on the floor of a tiny shack.

They have travelled to tea plantations in the mountains, stayed in palaces and slept on a train: that ‘wonderland of unmitigated, primeval swamp muck'. While Peta has led various culinary tours, Julie has established a patisserie in an upmarket New Delhi hotel. This is no superficial flirtation with the country, but a full-blown love affair.

The over 60 recipes showcase distinct regional traditions, passed on from the generous people they have met. Carefully chosen and adapted to be easy for the home cook, they are all mouth-wateringly delicious. They include such delicacies as Rajasthani white lamb curry, coriander cardamom chicken, almond sweet pudding and rose-petal ice cream.

Julie's fabulous photographs convey the colour of the country, and are almost good enough to eat.


Kaushika’s Co­riander Cardamom Chicken (pictured)

100g ghee
200g onion, sliced lengthwise from root to tip
50g fresh ginger, finely grated
50g garlic, ground to a paste
250g thick yoghurt
½ tsp cumin powder
1 tsp salt
3 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
6 tsp freshly ground coriander seeds
250ml full-cream milk
1kg chicken legs, thighs and drumsticks, separated
10–15 green cardamom pods, deseeded and ground

Heat the ghee in a kadhai or heavy-based pan and fry the onions slowly until golden and crispy — this takes about half an hour. Take them out of the kadhai and set aside.

In the same ghee fry the ginger for 5 minutes then set aside with the onions.

In the same ghee fry the garlic for 5 minutes and leave in the kadhai.

In a bowl mix the yoghurt, cumin, salt, chilli and coriander until well combined then add the milk. Add this mixture to the fried garlic paste in the kadhai and cook for 20 minutes until the yoghurt separates.

Add the chicken, bring the heat up and simmer for 1 hour with the lid on. Stir occasionally.

Just before serving stir in the golden onion, ginger and ground cardamom and heat through for 5 minutes.

Author Biography

Peta Mathias MNZM is a respected and prolific New Zealand chef, author and broadcaster, who now builds on the culinary travel experience with her gastronomic tours in the south of France, Morocco, Spain and India. Having started her culinary love in Paris with her restaurant ‘Rose Blues’, she returned to New Zealand to teach, cook and write. Fete Accomplie, a book about her life in Paris with recipes, was the first of many subsequent award-winning gastronomic travel books written about North Africa, France, New Zealand, Ireland and Vietnam. Her book Can We Help it if We're Fabulous was an instant bestseller and has also been published in the UK, USA, Canada and Germany. It was followed by a number of other books about women, men and transformation. Julie Le Clerc is a former cafe owner and chef turned author, magazine food editor, TV cook and photographer. She presents TV3's popular Cafe Secrets cookery show, is an award-winning author of 14 previous recipe books, and travels the world writing, learning and teaching about food. She is well-known for creating stylish, innovative flavours and uncomplicated recipes you can rely on: ‘My cooking is partly inspired, partly invented, but essentially based on fresh, natural, accessible ingredients cooked well to deliver honest, vibrant tastes that are simply made to be shared.’

Release date NZ
November 7th, 2014
Country of Publication
New Zealand
Random House New Zealand Ltd
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