The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence -

ANIL Ashokan grew up in what was Bom­bay and has worked as a chef at the city’s ven­er­a­ble Taj Mahal Ho­tel, in Europe, Asia and, more re­cently, at Syd­ney’s ANA Ho­tel (now re­branded as a Shangri-La) as ex­ec­u­tive sous chef. But now you’ll find him hap­pily planted in his own patch, Qmin at St Leonards on Syd­ney’s north shore. His at­trac­tive new book, Qmin:AFreshNew Ap­proach­toIn­di­anCui­sine (Allen & Un­win, $39.95), fea­tures full-page pho­tog­ra­phy by Greg Elms and easyto-fol­low recipes, most with sup­ple­men­tary chef’s notes and sug­ges­tions for, say, al­ter­na­tive cuts of meat or best side dishes.

Ashokan points out in his thought­ful pref­ace that it’s time to move be­yond no­tions of In­dian cui­sine as be­ing one-di­men­sional, al­ways hot and spicy.

He prefers the de­scrip­tors pun­gent and aro­matic, and all the dishes here look just that: de­li­ciously rich and com­plex. Ashokan has al­ways been in­ter­ested in food: the cher­ished mem­o­ries of watch­ing his mother ‘‘ turn out the most won­der­ful meals on her lit­tle kerosene-fired stove’’ ob­vi­ously have in­flu­enced his choice of ca­reer.

Many of the dishes here no doubt star on the menu at Qmin, which is pro­nounced, nat­u­rally, as cumin. www.qmin.com.au. Susan Kuro­sawa EATWell,LiveWell,with­Grow­ing Chil­dren, with in­tro­duc­tory text by Karen King­ham (Mur­doch Books, $26.95), is the fifth in Mur­doch’s spe­cial diet se­ries. This is a com­pact and com­pre­hen­sive book of recipes aimed at chil­dren but that will sat­isfy the fam­ily: each has a nu­tri­tional break­down giv­ing the kilo­joules (and calo­ries), fat, sat­u­rated fat, pro­tein, car­bo­hy­drate, fi­bre and choles­terol con­tent. Recipes are for break­fasts, light meals and lunch boxes, mains and desserts, with ex­tra chap­ters on rice and pasta and party food. Each is con­tained within a page and is straight­for­ward, and there are about six full-page colour images within each sec­tion. There is noth­ing es­pe­cially sur­pris­ing here (sa­tay, mine­strone, shep­herd’s pie), all good fam­ily feasts and chil­dren’s com­fort food, but there are also dishes that should stim­u­late them, such as chicken meat­ball soup, fresh spring rolls, parme­san grissini, which look dressier than the usual fam­ily ta­ble fare and are still easy to pre­pare. The fo­cus is on health, and the fruit­based desserts, party cup­cakes and sprin­kle bis­cuits can all be as­sessed nu­tri­tion­ally.

The open­ing 20 pages by nu­tri­tion­ist King­ham are full of im­por­tant back­ground in an age of child obe­sity, and with re­al­is­tic help for par­ents (snacks, take­aways, healthy drinks, break­fasts and, im­por­tantly, eat­ing as a fam­ily). Ju­dith Elen

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