Thursday, February 9, 2012

Book Review - Southern Flavours by Chandra Padmanabhan

I waited impatiently for the book to arrive after signing up for the Book Review program at I have read recipes from this book, posted on other blogs and have found them to be very interesting.

Finally, the courier guy rang the door bell and as I held the book, I felt immensely delighted at the first few glimses, and my instincts didn't prove to be wrong. As I flipped through the pages, the pictures were truly inspiring and the recipes were spread across the cuisines of all the four southern states of India - viz, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. There are similarities as well as subtle differences and these are captured in the numerous recipes in the book.

My honest ranking for this book would be 9 out of 10 points, so you know this book has hit the nail right on the head! I would have been happier if every recipe in the book had been accompanied by a photo of the final dish. This urge is greater because the photos given (about 2 to 3 recipes per category come with pictures- color photos! ) are so realistic and lively that you get the feeling of seeing it on the table, right in front of you! Of course, they are very inviting and homely, that you want to try it out immediately!

A peek into the cookbook!

Now, on the pros - there are so many,  let me list them for ease of reading.

  • This book gives an excellent introduction to someone completely new to South-Indian cuisine, or new to cooking itself. For example, even if you do not know what kootu means,  you can look it up here. If you are uncertain about what all would constitute a typical South-Indian lunch menu, you have it there (in Suggested Menus section). If you want to cook rice in a microwave oven and if your mum cannot help you, the book comes to your rescue!
  • Even for folks originally from the south, this book comes in handy when you want to get out of your comfort zone and try something different. For example, to a Tamilian, Theeyal from Kerala and Pulusu from Andhra would sound totally new and it definitely pays off to relish something novel every now and then. Variety is the spice of life, isn't it?
  •  Even within a state, every region and community has a different touch to the way they cook and certain signature recipes uniquely their own. Did you know that you can make Cheppankizhangu Vadai (Colocasia/ Arbi patties) or Rasam with Cabbage and Carrot? :-) 
  • Another useful section is the Glossary where ingredients are given in 3 languages - English, Hindi and Tamil. This helps today's generation of cooks, especially those living outside South India or even outside India, in many ways.
  • Recipes are well-categorized according to first course(sambar/ kuzhambu), second course (rasam/ saaru), snacks, sweets, accompaniments, etc. That makes it so much easier to look up a recipe quickly and comes in handy for today's busy women! Trust me, the recipes are authentic and completely vegetarian!
  • Last but definitely not the least, every recipe comes with the final quantity the dish would yield and how many can it be served to. So, just halving the quantity of every ingredient or doubling them makes it easier to scale the dish to the required levels.

I would be posting some recipes from the book, as I try them. But it's definitely a good idea to own the book in one piece anytime! And, let me make it clear that this is not a paid review and is just my candid opinion of the work.


  1. lovely review


  2. Sounds like something I would enjoy; great review.


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