6 new and upcoming cookbooks that deserve a spot on your bookshelf

Make way for exciting releases from Archana Pidathala, Ottolenghi, and Claire Saffitz.

Harper's Bazaar India

With a plethora of newly-released cookbooks and more slated to publish before 2022 ends, the coming months promise to be nothing but delicious. Here’s our round-up of the titles we are most excited about–discover recipes for make-ahead sauces, hearty salads, salt-fermented pickles and Kerala staples in these cookbooks. One thing is for certain, whether you’re burnt-out and want to freshen up your weekly meals or just need a go-to recipe for chocolate lava cake, there’s something for every kind of cook on the list.

For the one who likes food with a side of storytelling

Photo: Five Morsels Press

Why Cook: Timeless recipes and life lessons from inspiring women
By Archana Pidathala (August 25)
Women from all walks of life–artists, creators, musicians and farmers, come together in Why Cook to question the fundamental reason behind why they cook, and how the act and food in general anchors them to the lives they lead. 90 heirloom recipes have been picked from all over the country. Travel from the southern Indian region of Rayalaseema to the western coastal plains, all the way to the north in the Himalayas, through these dishes–which are also a reflection of age-old traditions that have been kept alive. For example, the recipe for kund, a basmati rice and milk pudding is 200-year-old. Vegans and vegetarians will especially enjoy the cookbook, as among the immensely personal dishes shared with Pidathala by home cooks, over half are vegan. Between the pages of the book you’ll also find inspiring stories of hope, generosity and resilience that will tug at your heart-strings.

For the one who can’t get enough of Kerala food

Photo: Roli Books

Paachakam Heritage Cuisine of Kerala
By Sabita Radhakrishna (August 30)
There’s more to Kerala cuisine than just the cult favourites, and Sabita Radhakrishna, food writer and author of the popular cookbook Annapurni, proves it in her new cookbook Paachakam. The forest green cover opens up into a gold mine of easy recipes that are backed by authentic insights and stunning illustrations. Radhakrishna also shines a light on the communities behind some of the most popular dishes to have come out of God’s Own Country–from Syrian Christians and Kochi Jews to Nairs and Moplas. The deep exploration of the food traditions prevalent in the communities gives a clear picture of Kerala food as a whole. 

For the one who has just forayed into the world of cooking

Photo: Penguin Random House

Food52 Simply Genius 
By Kristen Miglore (September 27)
Simply Genius is the new addition to Food52’s award-winning and NYT bestselling Genius series, curated by Food52 founding editor and Genius Recipes columnist Kristen Miglore. The book has 100 of the simplest and quirkiest recipes hand-picked from the column that deliver maximum flavour with minimum ingredients. If you’re a new cook trying to build confidence in the kitchen or just don’t have the time to cook elaborate dishes, then this one is a must-have. In Simply Genius, you’ll get to go inside the minds of culinary greats like Samin Nosrat (Buttermilk-Marinated Roast Chicken), Heidi Swanson (Farro & Olive Salad) and Jacques Pépin (Fresh Tomato Sauce), as they share tips and recipes. The book is chock-a-block with visuals to guide you through the whole cooking process–find step-by-step diagrams that show you how to prep smartly, illustrated charts that demonstrate when to check for doneness, and facts that demystify cooking techniques. 

For the one who’s all about toppings and sides that pack a punch

Photo: Penguin Random House

Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Extra Good Things 
By Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi (September 29)
Chef, author and restaurateur, Yotam Ottolenghi, and Noor Murad, chef and recipe developer, along with the test kitchen team, are launching a brand-new primer on the extras that perk up dishes in a jiffy. The Ottolenghi team believes that it’s the small things that make a big difference and the recipes in the cookbook reflect that sentiment. Make-ahead condiments, sauces, and multi-tasking toppings all find their way into the cookbook–think oven-braised chickpeas with marinated feta as the star that can be added to your favourite salad or swirled into dal to jazz it up. Or addictive smoky-sweet nuts that top oven-baked fries but can also be piled onto a bowl of hummus.  Apart from eccentric dishes that are synonymous with Ottolenghi, there are also plenty of basics that feature in Extra Good Things. These extras, like herby salsas and pickled chillies will quickly become your source of inspiration to take weekly meals to the next level.

For the one who’s a self-proclaimed salt bae

Photo: Amazon India

The Miracle of Salt: Recipes and Techniques to Preserve, Ferment, and Transform Your Food
By Naomi Duguid (October 11)
A James Beard Award-winning food writer who’s authored multiple cookbooks, Naomi Duguid is back with her newest that spotlights a ubiquitous ingredient in the kitchen no dish can do without–salt. The cookbook is a deep dive into the world of salt and the unmistakable role it plays in preserving, fermenting and transforming food. Flip through the cookbook and you’ll discover fundamental techniques for making everything from miso, kimchi, and salt-preserved lemons to recipes for salt-preserved sauces and condiments as well–think soy sauce, pickled plums, salted anchovies and more. These are then used as building blocks for umami-rich dishes that employ the full potential of salt-preserved ingredients. Whip up an Orange and Black Olive Salad that is a briny party in the mouth or kebabs marinated with a mix of pomegranate molasses and fish sauce, both of which bring a balanced depth to the dish you won’t be able to resist. The cookbook doesn’t limit the use of salt to savoury recipes, though–for desserts benefit just as much from the ingredient (brownies wouldn’t taste the same without flaky sea salt on top). Try out Yogurt Cake with Salted Lemon and Nuts or Miso Cookies with Dark Chocolate Chips.

For the one who doesn’t need an excuse to switch on the oven

Photo: Penguin Random House

What’s For Dessert: Simple Recipes for Dessert People 
By Claire Saffitz (November 8)
Do you always have room for dessert even after a filling meal? Are you always bookmarking baking recipes in your free time? Then add Claire Saffitz’s latest to your cookbook collection. Best known for recreating beloved junk food items during her stint at Bon Appetit, and author of NYT bestselling cookbook Dessert Person, she is coming out with her second in November. From deceptively simple molten cakes, unctuous rice puddings to addictive caramel popcorn bars, the cookbook promises to answer the ever-present dilemma –“what’s for dessert?” through its extensive list of 100 recipes. Saffitz’s encouraging persona that fans have come to love her for, shines through the cookbook too–she hand-holds you through all the fool-proof recipes with straightforward instructions and ample troubleshooting advice. And the best part? Most recipes are designed to be as effortless as possible, so you won’t need fancy equipment to satisfy your sweet cravings. 

Lead image collage: Roli Books and Penguin Random House