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Rasika: Flavors of India

Rasika (Sanskrit for flavor) is a well-loved Indian restaurant in Washington, D.C., popular with locals, White House denizens and global business leaders alike. It is the brainchild of renowned restaurateur Ashok Bajaj, a pioneer of small-plate Indian cuisine, brilliantly executed by the James Beard Award-winning chef Vikram Sunderam, a U.K. transplant from one of London's most outstanding Indian restaurants, the Bombay Brasserie.

Bajaj and Sunderam co-wrote Rasika: Flavors of India with Washington Post food columnist David Hagedorn, offering readers the recipes that have brought fame to their restaurant. Rasika is also a story of how Indian restaurants came to dominate the fine dining landscape in D.C. The recipes are endlessly adaptable and beautifully photographed, and each section is accompanied by detailed and easy-to-understand techniques. The dishes are likely to be a revelation to those who consider themselves familiar with Indian cooking. Meals such as avocado and banana chaat, and beet and goat cheese tikki, cleverly combine ingredients that are relatively foreign to the Indian kitchen with its traditional spices and flavors. Delicious and easy to make chutney pairings accompany each recipe.

Rasika takes an adventurous approach to cooking both meat and non-meat dishes with a focus on small plates, and contains far more vegetarian, fish and seafood recipes than the average Indian cookbook. Unexpected spice, vegetable and protein combinations abound: Kashmiri chilis and cinnamon with salmon; lime leaves and mustard oil with swordfish; mushroom and artichoke korma; lamb curry with pineapple--the mouthwatering list goes on. Rasika is an invitation to view Indian cooking through fresh eyes, daring home cooks to experiment with innovative ingredients in traditional Indian dishes. --Shahina Piyarali, writer and reviewer