Book Review: Desi Kitchen by Sarah Woods

salmon desi kitchen

Meaning of Desi – noun – a person of birth or descent from the Indian subcontinent who lives abroad. Adjective – local, indigenous.

This unique cookery book gives the reader an opportunity to experience recipes and stories showcasing how British Indian food varies throughout the UK depending on the migration history of the region, from Nepali influences in Kent to Punjabi cuisine in the Midlands and much more.

The author explains the different dishes that communities have introduced to the UK and how many recipes have been adapted depending on the region people have chosen to live in.

desi kitchen

Food and particularly recipes have formed so much of our culture and history. The preservation of our recipes continues to define who we are and where we fit into our communities. Our connection with food can help us blend and understand different cultures plus encourage communities to experience different tastes and flavours.

In this delightful cookery book, you can learn how to use different spices and herbs to elevate your tastebuds to a different level and enjoy the original backstories from members of communities throughout Britain.

Green Goddess Saag – using not just spinach but a whole medley of green vegetables

Keema Filo Pie – a versatile dish with either beef mince or lamb mince. Taking you on a journey from Mexico to India.

Paneer Dopiaza – a great vegetarian option using lots of spices

Peshawara Bread and Butter pudding – a different take on a traditional style pudding. The use of rose water really makes this dish so Moorish.

Also included is this wonderful recipe with salmon:

salmon desi kitchen
Photography credit is Liz & Max Haarala Hamilton.

Masala Spiced Side of Salmon

Serves 4

1 side of salmon (about 600g)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon runny honey

Spice seasoning

1 ½ tsp toasted cumin seeds

1 ½ tsp toasted and crushed coriander seeds

¾ tsp garam masala

½ tsp dried red chilli flakes

1 tsp mild Kashmiri chilli powder

1 level tsp salt, or to taste

½ tsp methi (dried fenugreek)

½ tsp garlic granules

½ tsp onion granules

  1. Set your oven to 200 degrees C fan
  2. Massage the salmon with vegetable oil. Place it on a lined flat baking tray, skin side down, and brush the side facing you all over with honey.
  3. Mix all the seasoning ingredients together: cumin, coriander,garam masala, chilli flakes, chilli powder, salt, methi, garlic and onion granules
  4. Scatter the seasoning all over the salmon and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Oven bake for about 15 minutes, or until cooked
  6. Serve with cucumber and pomegranate raita (see page 106 of the book) and rice or spiced roasties (see page 36 of the book). Pink pickled onions (see page 55 of the book) will provide a delightful sharpness.

This recipe is certainly worth the effort, whether it is for a weekday meal, sharing with family/friends or even on special occasions (such as Christmas) – make sure you add this to your recipe repertoire.

Desi Kitchen is published by Penguin Michael Joseph and is available from Amazon and all bookshops.  You can also follow Sarah on Instagram @originaldesicooking


Foodie Lass

Foodie Lass

I am a passionate foodie with a background in advertising and more recently food author (with a range of successful health and nutrition books under my belt).

I spent several years living in Australia (experiencing food cultures from that part of the world) plus many food adventures in European countries.

My most recent food passion has been watching ‘Somebody feed Phil’ on Netflix!

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