our family cookbook

three barbecued lamb cutlets on a bed of kachumber

the recipes

There is something here for everyone, even if you think you do not like Indian food. The recipes come from the home-cooked tradition of Indian cuisine and many have likely never been seen in a restaurant.

The dishes range from simple family fare to exotic and complex festive dishes. There are vegetarian dishes, meat, poultry, fish and seafood dishes. There are breakfasts and desserts, drinks and snacks. These recipes cover a period going back to the middle of the 19th century and reflects both the cuisine of the Raj – which is not as bad as you may think – and the family food eaten by generally well-to-do Indian households.

a spice tin filled with ground and whole spices

the ingredients

The description will mention preparation techniques, offer substitutes, if possible, and will suggest where the item may be obtained. There are few truly exotic ingredients used in this book. You should be able to get everything you need from a good supermarket or respectable specialist Indian grocer.

The ingredient pages have the binomen, or botanical name, and common Indian names associated with the ingredient to make your shopping easier.

a simple vegetarian thali - bowls of rice, dal, vegetable curry and accompaniments on a serving platter

the menus

Putting together a meal requires some balance, and you need to consider the palates of your guests or family. Not everything goes with everything, unfortunately. The menu combinations here are typical of what we prepare at home.

There are simple family meals, family celebration meals, and entertaining suggestions.

original page from recipe notes


Our family lived in India for several generations before leaving in the late 1940s to return to England.

These are the carefully curated recipes from my grandmother’s notebooks, which she inherited from her own grandmother. She also annotated several cookbooks that were popular at that time. The history of this remarkable collection is discussed in this section.

closeup of carrom game

the blog

Here we talk about the recipes, a little about the recipe history or background, and some cooking tips.

We also talk about our views of Indian cuisine, its heritage, and try to put a sense of order into the cuisine – a task we admit is probably well beyond us.

indian railway dining car - ca 1930

the essays

These essays are articles that describe some of the facets of Indian cuisine that we find fascinating.

There are articles on regional cuisine, the history of invaders and traders and their effects, and a look at some of the cultural and religious heritages and their influence upon the cuisines of India.