Flavors First: An Indian Chef's Culinary Journey

Chef Vikas Khanna tread a course from a childhood in Amritsar, India to adulthood as a successful New York chef, part of the vanguard of Indian cuisine in this country. The common link, the tie that binds the cosmopolitan chef to his traditional Indian upbringing, is flavor. And Flavors First is Chef Khanna’s tribute to that—a personal culinary memoir, a guide to the pantry and practices of the regional Indian cuisine that he knew in his youth and brings to his sophisticated cuisine at Junoon. Khanna knows better than most that to master the flavors of Indian cuisine, you have to develop a working familiarity with its vast, colorful array of ingredients, especially the spices. So before he delves into the book's many recipes, Khanna unpacks the Indian spice cabinet, and from there, goes on to elaborate on the many facets of an Indian meal, from chutneys and parathas to Home-Style Lamb Curry (Khanna’s all-time favorite). Woven throughout the book are Khanna’s reflections and recollections—more than worth investigating from a man who literally knit his way into his first catering business (check out page 139). Khanna's input is both practical and emotional, a reflection of the chef and the man—wisdom earned and cherished in a life spent exploring a grand culinary heritage.