Eating India, By Chitrita Banerji

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The Independent Culture

Articulate and knowledgeable, this gastronomic tour of the Indian subcontinent is packed with temptations ranging from the veppudu of Hyderabad, a dry, spicy dish made from potatoes first boiled and then fried in oil and "tempered with chillies, mustard seeds and split peas", to benbinca, a Goan cake of eight or 10 layers, each baked separately.

Chitrita Banerji explains how the British were responsible for foodstuffs that are now commonplace in India. Potatoes came in with the British army's meat-and-two-veg, while poppyseeds were a by-product of the opium poppies that the British disgracefully forced Bengali farmers to grow.

Fans of Indian food will salivate on every page, but there are some disappointments – we discover that "Even in posh hotels, tea bags rule."

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