Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Book Review: The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken
This is book three From the Files of Vish Puri, India's Most Private Investigator. Mr. Puri and his idosyncratic collection of employees and family members continue to amaze and amuse. The descriptions of food, politics, geography and the social intracacies of Indian life are vivid, providing the reader with a distinct sense of modern India. Unlike previous books, this one is based on a serious historical topic, the partition of India in 1947 and the resulting degredation of relations between India and Pakistan. The story and dialog are still lighthearted however, and Mr. Puri manages to save the day, solve the murder, and eat more street food than seems possible.
Following the lead of some other culinarily based 'cozy' mysteries(e.g. the Hannah Swenson and Goldy Schulz series) the author has included recipes at the end. Considering Mr. Puri's status as a gormand, and the mouthwatering list of foods described throughout the book, including recipes is a great idea. I tried two, Mummy's Most Excellent Punjabi Curry and the eponymous Deadly Butter Chicken. The first is a surprisingly mild curry; tasty, vegetarian, and gluten free! The 'deadly' chicken is not swimming in butter as you might imagine, but features marinated chicken in a tangy, gently spiced tomato-based sauce. If you try the recipes, don't be frightened by the list of ingredients and spices; flavors blend and overall spiciness decreases during cooking.
If you are interested in reading the previous Vish Puri mysteries, or requesting other movies and books based in India, jump over to our previous post for some more reviews.