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A fabulous, exuberant book of food, travel and humour by two of New Zealand's best-loved cooks.

A fabulous, exuberant book of food, travel and humour by two of New Zealands's best-loved cooks.

Peta Mathias and Julie Le Clerc are in love with food, in love with travel and in love with India. In her characteristic exuberant, evocative and hilarious style, Peta relates how they got to know this fascinating country through its cuisine: be it street food, feasts, or an everyday meal cooked on the floor of a tiny shack.

They have travelled to tea plantations in the mountains, stayed in palaces and slept on a train: that ‘wonderland of unmitigated, primeval swamp muck’. While Peta has led various culinary tours, Julie has established a patisserie in an upmarket New Delhi hotel. This is no superficial flirtation with the country, but a full-blown love affair.

The over 60 recipes showcase distinct regional traditions, passed on from the generous people they have met. Carefully chosen and adapted to be easy for the home cook, they are all mouth-wateringly delicious. They include such delicacies as Rajasthani white lamb curry, coriander cardamom chicken, almond sweet pudding and rose-petal ice cream.

Julie’s fabulous photographs convey the colour of the country, and are almost good enough to eat.

Shortlisted for the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, the Best in the World for Indian Cookery (to be announced on June 9 in Yantai).


This book is a riot of colour and an invitation to feel hungry. Essentially a travelogue in which professional foodies Peta Mathias and Julie Le Clerc explore India, it contains a lot of recipes, all designed for the home cook. Given the time both women have spent in India, there is a depth to their anecdotes, and an obvious love for the people.

Eleanor Black, Next Magazine

The recipes they collected for this book range from simple street snacks to dishes fit for a maharaja, and venture far beyond traditional curries. Instead you'll be inspired to new dishes from all over India - such as Tibetan dumplings, string potatoes fried with kaffir, spicy scrambled eggs and smoked eggplant soup. There are delicious puddings too, delicately flavoured with rose, almond, saffron and cardamom. Hot Pink Spice Saga is a deeply personal cookbook, full of amusing anecdotes, fashion observations and the odd bit of drama. It's a delight.

Alice Galletly, Dish

Kiwi culinary queens join forces and get spicy in this mouthwatering travel/cook book. . . . It’s a joyful book and with Christmas fast approaching is well worth bearing in mind as a gift idea for friends and family who love eating and exploring.

Herald on Sunday

From two of our most-loved local food writers comes this story of India, friendship and food. Yes, there are some good Indian recipes in here but it's as much about travelling through India and the heart-warming friendship these two have.

Fashion Quarterly

A fabulous, exuberant book of food, travel and humour by two of New Zealand's best-loved cooks.

Dominion Post

Over the top in style but a great read. If you never go to India, read this and you probably will. It comes with colourful language, beautiful photographs, delicious recipes that have surely been simplified (but they work ) and so many stories about so many places and people, it is necessary to read slowly. The authors love of India is compelling but in the end it is a recipe book with travel stories. However! the recipes are intriguing (and not difficult) and the travel stories draw you in.

The Press

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Awards and Recognition

  • Gourmand World Cookbook Awards
    Best Culinary Travel Book

Also by Peta Mathias