What’s the USP? ‘Explosive flavours from modern India’ runs the subtitle. In reality, this is a collection of recipes from Gunpowder, a ‘home-style Indian kitchen restaurant’ in Spitalfields London.
Who’s the author? Husband and wife team Harneet Baweja and Devina Seth opened the 20-cover Gunpowder restaurant close to Brick Lane in 2015 with head chef Nirmal Save. This is their debut cookbook.
What does it look like? Mouthwateringly good. Recipes collected from family in Kolkata and Mumbai and inspired by Indian street food have been given a makeover with attractive modern plating. There’s some moody black and white scene-setting shots of the restaurant and its kitchen and some boldly colourful shots of the subcontinent.
Is it good bedtime reading? There is very little additional text aside from a two page introduction and a spice glossary. Chapter and recipe introductions are concise and to the point.
Will I have trouble finding ingredients? Unless you can shoot it yourself, you’ll need a good butcher to find you some wild rabbit to make the pulao recipe and you may have trouble finding pomfret (but you can just substitute John Dory the recipe says) but otherwise it’s pretty mainstream stuff.
What’s the faff factor? There are the long ingredient lists of numerous spices that you’d normally associate with Indian cooking which make the recipes look more complicated than they actually are. In reality, most of the dishes are striaghtforward and well within the capability of any confident home cook.
How often will I cook from the book? If you love Indian food, you might well find yourself taking the book from your shelf on a regular basis.
Killer recipes? Chutney cheese sandwich; mustard broccoli with makhana sauce; Maa’s Kashmiri lamb chops; wild rabbit pulao; blue crab Malabar curry.
What will I love? The small plates chapter is full of inspiration for something a little bit different for breakfast (chickpea pancakes with fried eggs and tomato and coriander chutney) lunch (kale and corn cakes) or beer snacks (kadai paneer parcel; a spicy cheese and puff pastry roll) while the list of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks will put a spicy spring in your step.
What won’t I like? At under 200 pages, this is not the most comprehensive cookbook in the world.
Should I buy it? A diverse collection of delicious sounding, attractive looking dishes that are not too demanding to cook and suitable for any number of occasions and times of the day. If you like Indian food, you are going to love this book.
Suitable for: Confident home cooks
Cookbook Review Rating: 4 stars
Buy this book
Gunpowder: Explosive flavours from modern India
£25, Kyle Books
Cook from this book
2 thoughts on “Gunpowder by Harneet Baweja, Devina Seth and Nirmal Save”
I tried the chicken tandoori and wonder if there is a mistake as no salt mentioned in the recipe
It had all my favourite ingredients but was bland
It’s difficult to check for taste with a tandoori so couldn’t simply adjust until it was too late
I love Gunpowder and frequently visited the small restaurant with my daughter when it very first opened