Traditional Indian Cooking In South Africa: A Book Review

I have never felt the need to buy a cookbook-especially not one about Indian cooking since I often rely on the same intuitive techniques of cooking used by Amma- but as the readership of this Blog has grown- beyond my expectations-I would like to provide readers with quality information and tips for the effective preparation of food. My very first Cookbook on review is titled Traditional Indian Cooking in South Africa by Ramola Parbhoo . I received this book 2 weeks ago and have not yet tried any of the recipes but have just finished reading it.

Traditional Indian Cooking In South Africa: A Book Review 

Book Details:
Name:  Traditional Indian Cooking In South Africa
Author:  Ramola Parbhoo
Year of Publication: 2008
Publisher: Struik
ISBN: 978-1-77007-656-3

First Impressions:
When I first saw this book I was attracted  by the Title-I automatically assumed that it would contain South African Indian Food-as I know it- I had great expectations! As a result of this anticipation I was quite  disappointed when I first flipped though the book-seeing  location images of India and not South Africa (specifically Durban). Disappointed I put the book away. Thanks to my sister -I decided not to 'judge the book by its cover' so I read it. The result: Although the title could be 'open to interpretation'- the contents  of the book does not claim to be anything that it does not deliver. It is a literal composition of its title yet a delightful personal approach sharing traditional North Indian Recipes made by the Author and her family-residing in the Western Cape region of South Africa.


Authored by Ramola Parbhoo, based in Wynerg, South Africa-the book shares the author’s secrets of Guajarati Cooking. The Book provides insight into the Authors family kitchen with tips for using spices, cooking techniques and utensils. Recipes include several courses -popular savouries, breads, rice dishes, meat, fish, poultry, vegetarian, beverages and sweetmeats. A feature on Dining the Eastern Way gives some insight into methods of dining and table setting followed by a few sample menus using recipes contained in the book.


A sturdy 22cm x 28.5cm hard cover containing 144 pages. The book is beautifully presented with full colour images of grouped dishes. The recipes are legible, easy to follow with clear precise list of ingredients and methodical instructions - making this a good book for beginners or less experienced cooks. All ingredients are listed using ‘cups’ with a metric conversion table at the back of the book. The book contains both index and glossary for easy navigation.

Last Impression:

Though delightful-the book does not pay too much attention to the 'South African Indian Context'-rather it revolves around the preparation of food in the context of the Author’s family. With the exception of this personal account-there is not much else that sets this book apart from the myriad of other ‘Traditional Indian Food’ cookbooks on the market. This may be a good book for those looking for Traditional Indian Recipes-but if you want a cookbook with South African Indian Food then this is not the book for you.

Where to Buy: 
  • South Africa: This book can be found at Kalahari.com from R171.95. (As advertised 3.11.2011).
  •  U.S.A: $16.43 (As advertised 3.11.2011 on Amazon.com).
  • UK: £6.92 (As advertised 3.11.2011 on Amazon.uk).

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