Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Modern Indian Cooking~ Cookbook Review and Recipe

Modern Indian Cooking

You know how it is with some cookbooks. You hold it in your hands, browse through a page or two and immediately know that you are going to enjoy preparing from it. I felt that way with “Modern Indian Cooking“, written by talented chefs Hari Nayak and Vikas Khanna.

The difference between my cooking methods and my mother and grandmother generation lies in the globalization of taste. Traditional roots, but always on the lookout for some adventure that’s appropriate to the evolving palate. Chef Hari Nayak speaks such language in Modern Indian Cooking. He uses ingredients you might not normally see together, and they work. Wonton Chat, Paneer Picatta, Grilled Chicken with Kokum Compote, Konkan Chilli Prawns, Mint Puris, Semolina Crepes, Cardamom Brownies, Pink Peppercorn Chocolate Truffles – the book is filled with clean and contemporary combinations that are grounded in commonsense.

Being into the food photography and neat designs, I want to add some comments about the quality of the book. The design and layout are pleasing to the eye. Beautiful images of classic looking food against chic background fit with the theme that these are modern versions of classics. Some of the recipes have a series of small photographs that show the ingredients and the process of cooking the food. The recipe instructions are also laid out in a clear and concise manner without overcrowding the page. All and all, Modern Indian Cooking is a pleasant cookbook to have in the kitchen, and this is the first Hari Nayak’s cookbook I have added to my collection, but it won’t be the last.

The following is a recipe from Modern Indian Cooking. Baked samosas with spinach and mung bean using phyllo pastry sheets. I’ve prepared them with sprouted mung beans for a friends get-together last weekend and they were very well received.

Samosa with Spinach and Sprouted Mung Beans
(from MIC, page 25. Makes 2-dozen samosas)

1 cup, sprouted mung beans
4 cups, finely chopped fresh spinach
½ cup, finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon cumin-red chilli powder
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1-teaspoon oil or ghee

Puff or Phyllo pastry sheets
(mine was from Trader Joe’s-artisan brand.)

Filling: Heat oil in a wide skillet. Add onion and sauté to pale red. Add sprouted mung beans and spinach. Cover the skillet and steam-cook. Spinach supplies moisture, and it would take about 10-15 minutes for the sprouted mung bean to become tender-soft. At this stage, sprinkle turmeric, salt and masala powder. Mix and continue cooking for another five minutes or so. Turn off the heat, and wait for the curry to reach room temperature (cool).

Samosa Wrap: Meanwhile takeout the puff pastry sheet from the freezer. Wait until they reach from stiff, cardboard like to firm but pliable condition. Place the sheet on a lightly floured work surface and evenly roll out to thin. With a sharp knife, cut the sheet to equal looking 2 x 2 inch squares. Place a teaspoon of spinach curry in each square. Quickly fold the right corner over the filling to the left side and press the edges to make a triangle. Repeat until all are done.

Bake: Place the samosas on the baking sheet. Bake at 350 F. After about 10 minutes of baking time, turn to opposite side. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until crisp and golden. Serve warm with tamarind-date chutney or ketchup.

Baked Samosas
Baked Samosas with Spinach and Sprouted Mung Beans

Available for purchase at Amazon, Powell’s
Book Cover is taken from for review purpose.
Recommend this book to your local library.

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida),Moong Dal (whole),Reviews: Cookbooks,Spinach,Sprouts (Molakalu) (Monday May 19, 2008 at 1:34 pm- permalink)
Comments (23)

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23 comments for Modern Indian Cooking~ Cookbook Review and Recipe »

  1. We need more books like this, Indira. Our traditional cuisine has all values in it. Adding a modern touch would make it more appealing to the people of the world. Thank you for showcasing this book.

    Comment by Madhavi — May 19, 2008 @ 3:20 pm

  2. Oh This is a wonderful recipe. I am so going to try this. This book seems to be wonderful. Will check it out when possible.

    Comment by DK — May 19, 2008 @ 3:45 pm

  3. Hi Indira,

    This is such an awesome and nutritious recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by anitha — May 19, 2008 @ 6:52 pm

  4. I have the same book and love it.:D The recipes and pics are simply beautiful.

    Comment by TBC — May 19, 2008 @ 7:02 pm

  5. Hari Nayak surely is the young talent, introducing Indian Food in an appealing way overseas…I even saw his website the other day… Impressive !!!
    I love baked samosas… they make a guilt free snack.
    Love your post as always !


    Comment by Leena Goutam — May 19, 2008 @ 7:07 pm

  6. I really admire Chef Hari Nayak. I havent really had a chance to visit any of his restaurants but I have read his blog and his work is impressive :

    Comment by Roma — May 19, 2008 @ 8:39 pm

  7. Hello Indira, Do you know if we get puff pastry in India ? I would really like to try this.

    Hello Lakshmi,
    I haven’t been to India in about two years so no idea about the current market goodies.
    Wheat flour or maida, butter and salt, add water and prepare the dough and keep it covered for about 30 minutes to one hour. You can make samosa wraps suitable to baking from this dough. Hope this helps.

    Comment by Lakshmi — May 19, 2008 @ 10:14 pm

  8. Thats lovely. Baked samosas with sprouted beans are too healthy. Would definitely try this! Thanks Indira!

    Comment by Nirmala — May 19, 2008 @ 11:02 pm

  9. lovely picture!..puffs any time are fav!

    Comment by Srivalli — May 20, 2008 @ 12:48 am

  10. […] Ever wanted to make Wonton Chat or Cardamom Brownies? Are you the kind who buys cookbooks?  Then Indira thinks “Modern Indian Cooking” by Hari Nayak and Vikas Khanna is just right for you.  She loves the recipes and the food photography in the book and recommends it highly. Some of the recipes have a series of small photographs that show the ingredients and the process of cooking the food. The recipe instructions are also laid out in a clear and concise manner without overcrowding the page. All and all, Modern Indian Cooking is a pleasant cookbook to have in the kitchen.. […]

    Pingback by Modern Indian Cooking - a review | DesiPundit — May 20, 2008 @ 1:01 am

  11. beautiful book review and beautiful recipe…thanks Indira 🙂

    Comment by Aarthi — May 20, 2008 @ 7:19 am

  12. I saw this in the bookstore a few weeks ago, but was a bit skeptical despite its impressive presentation (I like traditional recipes). But now knowing it has the “Indira seal of approval”, I leaped at buying it. I am truly a total cookbook-o-holic. It is my one vice, and one that I am powerless to stop. I look forward to reading (and cooking from) this one! Yum…

    Hi Diane,
    :). This will make a nice addition to the cookbook collection.

    Comment by Diane — May 20, 2008 @ 8:02 am

  13. Good review and a nice healthy recipe.

    Comment by Cilantro — May 20, 2008 @ 8:46 am

  14. I have this book and i love it! It is a fresh look at how Indian cuisine has evolved globally!
    This book has a official website

    Comment by Suresh — May 20, 2008 @ 11:25 am

  15. Indira, I recently tried samosas with spring roll pastry, with the regular potato filling and it came out very well. Nice and crispy.

    Comment by Madhuram — May 20, 2008 @ 6:03 pm

  16. Nice review Indira and beautiful looking samosas..:D


    Comment by Siri — May 20, 2008 @ 8:25 pm

  17. Thanks Indira ! Will surely give it a try.

    Comment by Lakshmi — May 21, 2008 @ 10:00 pm

  18. Thanks Indira ! Will surely give it a try. Do i need to add soda to this ?

    Comment by Lakshmi — May 21, 2008 @ 10:01 pm

  19. Wow! What a wonderful idea. This type of modern cooking appeals to me as well. Thanks for the review.

    Comment by Kay — May 22, 2008 @ 7:09 am

  20. How did u get the samosas to be evenly brown? I tried baking samsosas (potato filled ones) but they arent evenly brown… 🙁 i did brush oil on the outside before baking them for almost 45 mins. Any suggestions?

    Comment by Anu — May 23, 2008 @ 11:53 am

  21. This surely will be a great hit among calorie conscious people. though it involves much longer time than the normal fried samosas.

    Comment by Indo Curry — May 28, 2008 @ 2:37 pm

  22. Dear Indira,

    Hat off to you. I don’t know how you have kept up with blogging so long and so consistently. You are such an inspiration to all of us. Please add my website to the blogroll. Keep inspiring all of us.

    With highest regards,


    Comment by usha — June 12, 2008 @ 7:27 pm

  23. looks really healthy recipe it is filled with high fiber right?

    Comment by Ahmed — July 7, 2018 @ 7:19 am

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