The kitchen is a great place to teach children about science
and chemistry and ‘Masala Lab: the Science of Indian
Cooking’ can help do just that. It’s also a great book for
those who want to understand the processes and reasoning
behind cooking techniques.
The book is not a cookbook, but it does have some
recipes. It tells you why ingredients are added at specific
times during the cooking process. For example, it tells you
what happens to dough you are kneading if you add salt
before you let the dough rest. It also breaks down the five
basic Indian gravies into a tabular format, explaining their
differences and similarities.
The book tells you about the 15 elements we detect in our mouth when we taste something—no, it’s not as simple as the six tastes we know of. It also has tricks on how to use basic ingredients like salt to enhance flavours or to correct problems. For example, did you know that a tiny bit of salt enhances sweetness but can also mute bitterness and sourness? This is why Indian cooks massage bitter gourd with salt and let it sit for 30 minutes before using it. The book is a treasure trove of knowledge and is great for older children and adults.
Written by Krish Ashok
Reviewed by Cherry Divecha-Shethia
Published by Penguin Books
Available on Amazon.in