Cookbook by Nik Sharma on the “Magic of Spices” brings stimulating recipes

DYou can see immediately that the man can do more than just cook. A quick look at the footage in his almost 300-page book cookbook “Magic of Spices” makes it clear: Nik Sharma is also a gifted photographer who has developed his own unique visual language and fascinating aesthetics. His photos are full of atmosphere, are perfectly composed and yet appear spontaneous and lively, but sometimes also like baroque still lifes with a modern look.

It’s no wonder that the Indian-American has received several awards for his work and has become well-known in the United States as a photographer, blogger and columnist.

With crispy curry leaf breading

His work “Magic of Spices”, which has now been published in German by Narayana Verlag four years after its first publication in America, is both: a visual treat and a culinary treasure trove. Because just as unusual as Sharma’s photographs are his recipes. He has gathered a good hundred in the book, combining the food cultures of his old Indian and his new American homeland in a remarkable and often enchanting way.

“Magic of Spices”: Cover of the book by Nik Sharma

Image: Stephan Lucka

For example, when he prepares chicken nuggets with a crispy curry leaf breading and digs deep into the Indian spice box. Or Caprese salad with sweet tamarind dressing. Or when he serves his roasted carrots with sesame, chilli and nori. Or turkey thighs with cherry and fennel barbecue sauce. Or his genius coriander gravlax. Or when he bakes his apple masala chai cake.

As unusual and complicated as many of these recipes may sound and sometimes even look in the photos, Sharma’s descriptions and instructions are easy to understand and detailed. This also applies to the small collection of lemonades, shakes and drinks and finally the very helpful and informative spice glossary at the end of the volume. You really can’t make a cookbook much more beautiful and stimulating. It is no coincidence that the “New York Times” chose this work as cookbook of the year in 2018.

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