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There are few books that offer home cooks a new way to cook and to think about flavor—and fewer that do it with the clarity and warmth of Nik Sharma's Season. Season features 100 of the most delicious and intriguing recipes you've ever tasted, plus 270 of the most beautiful photographs ever seen in a cookbook. Here Nik, beloved curator of the award-winning food blog A Brow There are few books that offer home cooks a new way to cook and to think about flavor—and fewer that do it with the clarity and warmth of Nik Sharma's Season. Season features 100 of the most delicious and intriguing recipes you've ever tasted, plus 270 of the most beautiful photographs ever seen in a cookbook. Here Nik, beloved curator of the award-winning food blog A Brown Table, shares a treasury of ingredients, techniques, and flavors that combine in a way that's both familiar and completely unexpected. These are recipes that take a journey all the way from India by way of the American South to California. It's a personal journey that opens new vistas in the kitchen, including new methods and integrated by a marvelous use of spices. Even though these are dishes that will take home cooks and their guests by surprise, rest assured there's nothing intimidating here. Season, like Nik, welcomes everyone to the table!


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There are few books that offer home cooks a new way to cook and to think about flavor—and fewer that do it with the clarity and warmth of Nik Sharma's Season. Season features 100 of the most delicious and intriguing recipes you've ever tasted, plus 270 of the most beautiful photographs ever seen in a cookbook. Here Nik, beloved curator of the award-winning food blog A Brow There are few books that offer home cooks a new way to cook and to think about flavor—and fewer that do it with the clarity and warmth of Nik Sharma's Season. Season features 100 of the most delicious and intriguing recipes you've ever tasted, plus 270 of the most beautiful photographs ever seen in a cookbook. Here Nik, beloved curator of the award-winning food blog A Brown Table, shares a treasury of ingredients, techniques, and flavors that combine in a way that's both familiar and completely unexpected. These are recipes that take a journey all the way from India by way of the American South to California. It's a personal journey that opens new vistas in the kitchen, including new methods and integrated by a marvelous use of spices. Even though these are dishes that will take home cooks and their guests by surprise, rest assured there's nothing intimidating here. Season, like Nik, welcomes everyone to the table!

30 review for Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food (Indian Cookbook, Books about Indian Seasoning, Beautiful

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Shannon

    Excited to be the first to review this on Goodreads! Nik Sharma is SF Chronicle columnist and food blogger of A Brown Table. The blog has beautiful photography and has won several awards, and the book feels very similar. The recipes might appear intimidating because of the range of new spices Nik introduces to the home cook, but they are pretty accessible once you realize how familiar they are, for example: Deviled Eggs with Creamy Tahini and Za'atar or Steak with Orange Peel and Coriander. Full Excited to be the first to review this on Goodreads! Nik Sharma is SF Chronicle columnist and food blogger of A Brown Table. The blog has beautiful photography and has won several awards, and the book feels very similar. The recipes might appear intimidating because of the range of new spices Nik introduces to the home cook, but they are pretty accessible once you realize how familiar they are, for example: Deviled Eggs with Creamy Tahini and Za'atar or Steak with Orange Peel and Coriander. Full disclosure: I'm working on this title at Chronicle Books and have an advance copy. Opinions are still my own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Shipshapeeatworthy

    While anyone can cook and teach themselves how to cook I think what Sharma does in his book is really something magical when it comes to the introduction of how to use seasoning to achieve truly delicious food and how he tells a story through food.  I think his background in science as well as his personal history lends itself to a new culinary alchemy — the kitchen magic that can happen to a home cook when a new dish is created or a “new” ingredient discovered.
 Through both Sharma’s own experim While anyone can cook and teach themselves how to cook I think what Sharma does in his book is really something magical when it comes to the introduction of how to use seasoning to achieve truly delicious food and how he tells a story through food.  I think his background in science as well as his personal history lends itself to a new culinary alchemy — the kitchen magic that can happen to a home cook when a new dish is created or a “new” ingredient discovered.
 Through both Sharma’s own experimentation and observation of his grandmother, mother, and father he has developed an innate understanding of how to create a depth of aromas and tastes. For someone like me who learned to cook in a similar fashion — through the observation of my mother and through my own trial-and-error — I find his book to be an invaluable resource on building flavour by using items like whole or ground spice, and fresh ingredients such as herbs or chiles.
I may have learned how to cook but not how to effectively use seasoning — why, when, and how much. In fact the only seasoning that was really used in our home when I was a kid was garlic powder and steak spice. But the more I’ve cooked (especially from this book) the more I’ve discovered there is a huge world outside of my childhood experiences. In addition my young daughter who has been cooking from Sharma’s book along with me is being exposed to new flavours as well. The food education from his book will be something that she builds on as she cooks more and more throughout her life. What I appreciate about his recipes is that there is an economy in the ingredients he uses. The recipes are accessible and I think this is why I keep coming back to try more and more of his recipes.
 As a home cook I found that the most important parts of the cookbook are the sections: Flavour Glossary, The Whys of Seasoning, The Hows of Seasoning, and Staples. These sections are important for learning about things like the different families of flavours or how to make the best use of each ingredient (toasting, tempering, grinding, etc). Throughout the other chapters — Small Bites, Salads + Soups, Grains + Vegetables, Seafood, Eggs + Poultry, Meat, Sweets, and Sips— there are a wealth of really tasty and beautiful recipes based on Sharma’s experiences growing up in India and then living in America. As those who frequent my site know I belong to a vegetarian family and I’ve found Seasonto have a great selection of vegetarian recipes to choose from. Many recipes are vegan-suitable with small substitutions needed to replace eggs or dairy (I was even able to make his Turkey-Mushroom Hand Pies by substituting lentils for meat). In his introduction he urges us to “consider [Season] a guide to bringing new flavours from different culinary traditions into [our] own kitchen, and making them work for [us].”
 Even though I do cook a lot and use many different ingredients there were many ingredients in Season that were new to me — tamarind paste, tomato powder, ground anardana, and jaggery. This is one cookbook you might have to seek out a few ingredients but it'll be totally worth it! At first I wondered whether taking the easy way (either subbing or omitting ingredients) would be acceptable? After some deliberation I decided to seek out sources for these ingredients because the book, is after all, about learning and experimenting with flavours and ingredients. When I realized that even the small amount of tomato powder in his Savory Granola could make a noticeable difference to the flavour — I started to see how by using different ingredients you could really emphasize or highlight other key ingredients or favours (it also made me want to experiment with the powder by adding it to other sauces, dressings, and dishes).
 I have now tried making his Spicy Chocolate Chip-Hazelnut Cookies twice! At first I felt defeated when I went on a search to find jaggery. I had looked in most of my usual places but came up with nothing. But after a bit more research into different stores within Halifax I found a real gem of a shop where I found what I was looking for — helpful staff that pointed me in the right direction and who kindly advised me on which type of jaggery would be suitable for my need. This is what Sharma’s book has done — lead me to expanding my culinary community while introducing me to new ingredients. Back to the cookies — while muscovado sugar can be substituted for jaggery; each creates a final product with subtle differences in both texture and flavour. I was happy to have it in my pantry when I baked up a bundtified version of his Date and Tamarind Loaf. I’ve found the jaggery offers a more earthy (almost mineral-y) taste that really brings out the rich favours of ingredients such as: dates, tamarind, or chocolate.
 Sharma’s Sweet Potato Bebinca is one of my top-5 favourite recipes of all time (influenced by his Grandmother Lucy’s recipe and his Goan heritage). This lightly sweet and custard-y dessert is (in my mind) perfect in both flavour and texture. Akin to a traditional pumpkin pie (without the crust) the sweet potato, ghee, jaggery, coconut milk, freshly ground nutmeg and a hint of turmeric create something apart from the ubiquitous pumpkin pie. The resulting dessert is delicate and satisfying (here’s a tip — the Vanilla Bean Crème Fraîche along with the Spiced Maple-Vinegar Syrup from his recipe for broiled peaches tastes quite exquisite served with the Bebinca).
 There are dishes recognizable to me such as the Bean and Lentil Soup and the Margherita Naan Pizza where Sharma has taken a familiar recipe and put his own twist on it — cocoa and spices to the chili-like soup and unconventional flavours like nigella seeds and coriander to the pizza while omitting the traditional fresh basil component. Even a dish of roasted baby carrots is given its own unique treatment by seasoning them with sesame, chili, and nori. What he does here is show the home cook that personal influences and experimentation lead to delicious results and that adding flavour to recipes need not be complicated. I keep thinking of flavours being balanced and having depth — in my mind the meals I’ve made from Season seem like magic.
 Season is such a special book — full of gorgeous photography and delicious food. After making almost twenty recipes from Season I feel like I have a greater understanding of flavour — seeing how similar or contrasting flavours work to provide depth and counterbalance. I have added many recipes to my weekly rotation and I’ve even taken kitchen staples like his Kefir Crème Fraîche and used it in other recipes from other cookbooks (I was really pleased to learn how to make my own Crème Fraîche).
 Please note that this is an excerpt of a long review posted to www.shipshapeeatworthy.wordpress.com I would like to take this opportunity to thank Raincoast Books and Chronicle Books for providing me with a free, review copy of this book. I did not receive monetary compensation for my post, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.


  3. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    Brand new cookbook from a SF blogger/columnist I've been following for a while [even here in the middle of the Midwest!] Sharma brings new flavors to traditional foods from many cuisines, marrying the spices and techniques of each in unique ways. His path to chef is interesting, as well. This will be one of my new favorites!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    I'm loving this cookbook! Every recipe I've made so far is very easy to make and extremely tasty! So far I've made: pomegranate spiced nuts, bebinka, and fennel-granola. I'm becoming obsessed with this cookbook! I love the bold juxtaposition of flavors like sweet and spicy. I've already bought the ingredients for the sardine crostini recipe which I'll be making shortly. From someone who actually cooks from cookbooks before reviewing them: buy this

  5. 4 out of 5

    Juli Anna

    I really just gave this one a skim, but most of these recipes are a bit too complicated and contain to many hard-to-find ingredients for my kitchen.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jonny

    Lovely book, beautiful story, gorgeous photographs, innovative and delicious recipes. Nik Sharma is an amazing cook and his debut cookbook is a perfect marriage of his heritages. Looking forward to diving in.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    It took me quite a long time to review this one, because it's so hard to categorize this cookbook. I mean that in the best way possible. Nik Sharma’s culinary voice is quite unique – I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like this one. Sharma is a blogger and former researcher in the field of molecular genetics, and beyond that opens his book by describing himself as a gay immigrant. He notes that some of his touchpoints are India, Appalachia, and the US Midwest, but the ingredients and flav It took me quite a long time to review this one, because it's so hard to categorize this cookbook. I mean that in the best way possible. Nik Sharma’s culinary voice is quite unique – I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like this one. Sharma is a blogger and former researcher in the field of molecular genetics, and beyond that opens his book by describing himself as a gay immigrant. He notes that some of his touchpoints are India, Appalachia, and the US Midwest, but the ingredients and flavors that he pulls into his dishes are astonishingly diverse, and include southwestern flavors, umami Japanese ingredients like nori, Mediterranean ingredients like olives, and Middle Eastern spices and ingredients like kefir, sumac and pomegranate. To give you a few examples of his utterly original flavor combinations – the appetizer section includes a recipe for Chile-Sumac-Pomegranate nuts, and the comfort and very Midwest-sounding small plate of “Sweet Potato Fries with Basil Yogurt.” In their simplicity and sophistication, and in the global nature of his flavor combinations, I would most comfortably situate Sharma’s book next to Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbooks, and the Bar Tartine cookbook—the latter also published by Chronicle Books—and an indispensable favorite is a favorite of mine. In terms of personal narrative, I think it also sits quite comfortably next to David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. Now, let’s talk about the visual look and feel of this cookbook. Sharma not only wrote the recipes, but took the photographs. This is a dead sophisticated, lavishly photographed, book with food presentation sometimes rivaling food I’ve seen and eaten at places like ALINEA. If anything the photographs, which are uniformly shot in a dark and masculine voice, aren’t really my style – I love the warm of Bar Tartine’s images for example. But the right person would fall madly in love with these images, and I would only fault this book for not including larger versions of Sharma’s arresting images of spices, seeds, and salts. I can’t even really fault the book in this regard as this content is truly secondary to the main content of the book, which are the images. But I find myself lingering on those photos at length. The only other critique I’d offer up of this book, is that Sharma notes that his husband grew up in the Appalachians, and that he’s experimented in his recipes with substituting ghee for lard for example. Having grown up in Appalachia, I sort of hope that this particular set of flavors and comfort cooking gets its own cookbook. I didn’t really see that set of references play out in this book, and there are very few elevated books on Appalachian cooking (the one that comes to mind is the James Beard-award winning cookbook Victuals). And those that do exist tend to hew fairly close to traditional recipes, which are under-documented. There is space here for Sharma’s unique voice. I have the feeling that this cookbook may end up flying below the radar a bit because it is so unique, and I hope that this spurs other people on to give it a try. This would be an excellent addition to the library of any cook that has a well-stocked spice cabinet, and who would like to add some sophisticated small plates, salads, and seafood to their repertoire (other proteins and vegetables and sweets are featured but I think those chapters are particularly strong.) Disclaimer: I received an advanced reviewers copy to read for free, although took my sweet time in absorbing this complex cookbook.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Avanders

    Review based on ARC (Advanced Review Copy received for free in exchange for an honest review). I am ecstatic to have this book. I LOVE a good cookbook. I do not always love a cookbook with a lot of personal-life-fluff thrown in. There are, of course, exceptions. I really (shockingly ;)) enjoyed Chrissy Teigen's cookbook, and I was equally enamored with this one. Nik Sharma has a rich story and a broad perspective. But more importantly, this is a beautiful cookbook. I love the pictures and I love Review based on ARC (Advanced Review Copy received for free in exchange for an honest review). I am ecstatic to have this book. I LOVE a good cookbook. I do not always love a cookbook with a lot of personal-life-fluff thrown in. There are, of course, exceptions. I really (shockingly ;)) enjoyed Chrissy Teigen's cookbook, and I was equally enamored with this one. Nik Sharma has a rich story and a broad perspective. But more importantly, this is a beautiful cookbook. I love the pictures and I love the recipes. I am the daughter of an (Eastern) Indian woman from the Caribbean. When my mom arrived in this country, she was part of the "integration" wave and taught my sisters and I the real American way. I.e., we were raised very much as Americans. I have in my cooking repertoire about 2.5 Indian dishes, and I am so happy to add to that with a set of recipes from such an accomplished and understanding chef. I definitely recommend this book for people seeking to add some "big flavors" to their every day cooking.. the personal "fluff" is just extra. FIVE of five stars.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Martha

    This cookbook really surprised me. I don't read blogs so I was completely unaware of the talent and popularity of this author and recipe developer. I'm ready to try my hand at several of the East Indian influenced recipes. The photographs are glorious and most recipes do not include too many ingredients. I was especially impressed with the flavor glossary at the front of the book that included hot, sweet, sour, salty, seeds, herbs, umami, florals. This is a book to own! I can't wait to get start This cookbook really surprised me. I don't read blogs so I was completely unaware of the talent and popularity of this author and recipe developer. I'm ready to try my hand at several of the East Indian influenced recipes. The photographs are glorious and most recipes do not include too many ingredients. I was especially impressed with the flavor glossary at the front of the book that included hot, sweet, sour, salty, seeds, herbs, umami, florals. This is a book to own! I can't wait to get started.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    I haven't actually made any food from this yet, so perhaps it's a bit early to review it. But I just so enjoyed reading it and am really looking forward to making quite a few things out of here. To be fair, this is the exact genre of cookbook I like to cook from (Indian-ish). It combines Indian flavors and methods with foods from various other places and all looks quite delicious. There were pictures for every recipe which I always appreciate. Everything looks delicious and I hope to start cooki I haven't actually made any food from this yet, so perhaps it's a bit early to review it. But I just so enjoyed reading it and am really looking forward to making quite a few things out of here. To be fair, this is the exact genre of cookbook I like to cook from (Indian-ish). It combines Indian flavors and methods with foods from various other places and all looks quite delicious. There were pictures for every recipe which I always appreciate. Everything looks delicious and I hope to start cooking out of this soon. 4.5/5 stars.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I like the premise of the book, focused on seasoning. I assumed this was more of a learning cookbook, and in that sense I felt it could have been more systematic. The expository material was really easy to miss. But the author encourages doing/experimentation and it's true that really is the most valuable way to learn cooking. Although I can't use more than one or two recipes as given, I will adapt a few of the dessert recipes.

  12. 5 out of 5

    RUSA CODES

    Nothing about Nik Sharma’s debut fits neatly into a cookbook category. Sharma is not a professionally-trained chef nor does the food subscribe to any one type of cuisine. But there lies its appeal: the recipes are unique, creatively (ahem) seasoned and Sharma’s voice is passionate and inspired. A welcome addition. The Bombay Frittata should convince you. 2019 CODES List Winners Announced Nothing about Nik Sharma’s debut fits neatly into a cookbook category. Sharma is not a professionally-trained chef nor does the food subscribe to any one type of cuisine. But there lies its appeal: the recipes are unique, creatively (ahem) seasoned and Sharma’s voice is passionate and inspired. A welcome addition. The Bombay Frittata should convince you. 2019 CODES List Winners Announced

  13. 4 out of 5

    L.C.

    Beautiful book: photos, stories, colors, plated food, it’s all gorgeous! I was hoping to find a new dish to add to our rotation, but because he tries to cover all types of food (salad, desserts, main courses, drinks, etc), there wasn’t enough dishes to choose from for meat-based mains to use with our wild game. People who love Indian, however, may really enjoy these recipes!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    The photography in this book is amazing! I love seeing how authors conceive their food looking as well as explaining the ingredients and process. Great section at the beginning running through lesser known ingredients. I probably will make a few dishes but more than that will take away a willingness to introduce spice to more of my existing repertoire.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Arif

    If you want to be a good investor.Then buy the book written Banjamin Graham, the greatest investment advisor of all time. Which has been copied in Hindi. Please click this link: https://www.amazon.in/dp/8194663512/r... If you want to be a good investor.Then buy the book written Banjamin Graham, the greatest investment advisor of all time. Which has been copied in Hindi. Please click this link: https://www.amazon.in/dp/8194663512/r...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Umm, it's got food in it? Most of that food is not totally treif? It looks interesting. The narrative parts and Sharma's reflections on how culinary ideas come to him are fun, but I am reminded in writing this why I don't usually bother trying to review cookbooks.

  17. 5 out of 5

    John

    Gorgeous photos, interesting personal story, and very interesting and unique recipes make this a great cookbook to have around. Anyone looking to learn new ways to blend different styles of cooking should pick this one up.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ariste Egan

    This cookbook is beautiful and is clearly a labor of love for Nik Sharma. But, for the average home cook, the recipes are cumbersome with at least one or two obscure ingredients I probably would never use again.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    Beautiful in so many ways As an avid collector of cookbooks, I can be hard to impress but “Season” is absolutely gorgeous. The recipes are fairly straightforward and useful for incorporating spices I don’t use enough.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Offbalance

    Stunning photos and great essays about Sharma's journey through food. I did unfortunately find some of the recipes a bit intimidating, however, and the hardcover is absolutely MASSIVE (and heavy). Still worth flipping through. Not for beginners.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Debby

    Interesting book! There are many interesting recipes, such as "Butternut Squash and Tea Soup". Many interesting information about Indian cuisine as well. This is what I expected from reading a cookbook.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

    Beautiful book but the pictures, while gorgeous, are a bit too dark to be helpful in cooking.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Beautiful book with a few interesting recipes I'd like to try.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Reese

    Beautiful photography and writing.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Beth Polebaum

    The pictures in this book are stunning. My biggest gripe with this cookbook is a failure to provide substitutes for hard-to-find ingredients.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    A visually stunning cookbook from Nik Sharma from the equally stunning blog - a Brown table. If you make only one recipe from this book I recommend the Sweet potato fries with basil sauce yoghurt

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jennie

    An excellent cookbook with food that is of the sort we are into eating these days.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Beka

    Lovely pictures and recipes.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ambur Taft

    Beautiful pictures, great story, amazing food. So excited for homemade paneer!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nikkers

    Great recipes so far! Can't wait to make some of the condiments and spice blends!!

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