The Illustrated Masala Lab: The Science of Indian Cooking (Hardcover)

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Masala Lab returns as an irresistible collector's edition, adorned with ingenious additions, illustrations, infographics and charts: it's the collector's edition you know your kitchen-laboratory needs.

Ever wondered why your grandmother threw a teabag into the pressure cooker while boiling chickpeas, or why she measured using the knuckle of her index finger? Why does a counter-intuitive pinch of salt make your kheer more intensely flavorful? What is the Maillard reaction, and what does it have to do with fenugreek? What does your high-school chemistry knowledge, or what you remember of it, have to do with perfectly browning your onions? Just like memorizing an equation might have helped you pass an exam but not become a chemist, following a recipe without knowing its rationale can be a sub-optimal way of learning how to cook.

Masala Lab is a scientific exploration of Indian cooking aimed at inquisitive chefs who want to turn their kitchens into joyful, creative playgrounds for gastronomic experimentation. In this special edition, Meghna Menon's vibrant illustrations effortlessly complement Krish Ashok's lighthearted approach to the demystification of culinary science, making it the perfect vehicle to absorb the exhaustive testing, groundbreaking research and scientific rigor that went into the making of this revolutionary book.

About the Author

Krish Ashok is not a chef but cooks daily. He is not a scientist, but he can explain science with easy-to-understand clarity. He trained to be an electronic engineer but is now a software engineer. He learned to cook from the women in his family, who can make perfectly fluffy idli without lecturing people on lactobacilli and pH levels. He likes the scientific method not because it offers him the ability to bully people with knowledge, but because it confidently lets him say, 'I don't know, let me test it for myself.'

Praise For…

"With chapters covering everything from zero-pressure cooking to the science of spices and more, the title offers explanations and cheat sheets galore. Tongue-in-cheek writing coupled with scientific explanations by experts make up a large portion of this book, and the result is oddly gripping." —The Hindu

"Full of [such] advice which, if followed, promises to not just improve the taste of the food you cook, but also make the whole process of cooking more efficient and rewarding." —The Indian Express

"Upends a pantryload of myths concerning cooking, into the garbage can ... Ashok's book is a rip-roaring, highly engrossing takedown of misinformation, patriarchy, and conformity-all in the garb of a nerdy encyclopedia on cooking ... helps dismantle the traditionally patriarchal outlook to cooking." —Outlook Traveller

"Krish Ashok makes a great start for Indian dishes. His emphasis on cooking techniques to extract flavour works well for Indian dishes where one can't really play around with the spice profile and create the same dish ... how often can you say that you tasted a book and had great fun doing so? Masala Lab is a useful reference book too which charts out the flavour molecules and pairings of the spices we use in our dishes, the basic gravy and biryani algorithms, and for the more adventurous, the temperature and time taken to sous vide meats and vegetables." —Open Magazine

Product Details
ISBN: 9780670098569
ISBN-10: 0670098566
Publisher: India Viking
Publication Date: October 8th, 2024
Pages: 104
Language: English