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Restaurant critic Priya Bala’s book unites stories and recipes

FAMILY influences run deep in Priya Bala’s collection of recipes Foodprints. “My mother gave me a love of good food and endowed me with a flair for cooking,” she says. “It was my father who gave me a love of words, and also taught me to type.” Many of the recipes emerge from her mother’s kitchen, and a childhood largely spent in Sri Lanka, including Sri Lankan rotti (made from refined white flour and grated coconut), susiyam (fried green gram mashed with coconut and sugar) and coconut pancakes. “This book is not large, glossy or sexy. It represents the simple pleasure of home food, cooked well and shared with the people we love,” Bala shares.

Globe trotting

Each recipe is prefaced with a memory, placing the food in the context of Bala’s life. So while the dishes span global cuisine – Thai, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Scandinavian and French all make an appearance – the personal touch remains. When reading how to make Lamington, the popular Australian dessert, we read about Bala’s time as an exchange student in Brisbane.

The recipe for tea-steamed chicken, a Singaporean delicacy, comes with Bala’s reflections on the city’s culture, while seafood tagliatelle is accompanied with anecdotes from the author’s travels on the Italian Riviera. When ingredients are not readily available in India, Bala offers practical substitutions, making it the perfect book if you want to eat the world without leaving your own kitchen. Available for Rs.195 on flipkart.com

 

—MDS

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