suvir saran                         chef     author     consultant



Masala Farm, Recipes and Tales From an Uncommon Life in the Country by Suvir Saran with Raquel Pelzel and Charlie Burd  Chronicle Books, September 2011

My cooking has become more practical and off-the-cuff than it once was. Unlike New York City, where dinner or groceries are always just a phone call away, now when I shop I must think about the meal that evening, in addition to the meals over the next few days. This is to conserve fuel, our energy (rising at sun-up with the chickens takes it toll!), and my relationship with Charlie—since I don’t have a driver’s license, he’s the one that gets to shuttle me thirty miles to and from the store to buy whatever I need. I rely on the local supermarket for fruits and vegetables and on my pantry that is now always stocked with spices, dried beans, rice, and pulses, as well as canned chutneys, jams, and vegetables that I preserved during the summer’s months of plenty. In each chapter you’ll find a multitude of approachable, doable recipes, always light on the fuss and big on the flavor, using Indian techniques and flavors that bring an exciting freshness to the table. You’ll also gain insight into the comedy and honest reality of our everyday lives, as well as the Washington County community that we have become a part of and love dearly. This is the American countryside, masala-style.

Below is an excerpt from the foreword to Masala Farm

"Masala Farm is as fresh as a carrot just pulled from the earth.  The wholesome and appealing recipes spring directly from a passionate way of living and celebrating the rhythms, diversity and surprises of life.  Readers will be inspired by the food and just may be inspired to flee their jobs and find an idyllic green haven for themselves.  Suvir Saran writes enchantingly about friends around the table, goose-raiding ravens, food and community, the richness of goat milk, and his inclusive concept of family.  A brilliant masala!"

-Frances Mayes - Author, Under the Tuscan Sun and Every Day in Tuscany

"Suvir and Charlie have created a home in the countryside made of magic, an impeccable sense of fashion and an art collection from their travels to every corner of the world. Masala Farm is the perfect blend of The Selby and Green Acres, where their chickens roost in style and produce the most sublime eggs I've ever eaten. The experience of creating food together, with ingredients from the farm and local community had an intensity of flavor and sense of love I never thought could be recreated outside of that kitchen. But, the recipes from the Masala Farm cookbook bring all those flavors and the feeling of their bucolic farmhouse to my kitchen in the city."

-Zoe Francois - Author, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day

"Suvir and Charlie's Masala Farm represents everything I love about the food world. Globally inspired but growing where it is planted..... for them  that means the deeply verdant hills of Upstate New York. Suvir and Charlie aren't out to save the world or obnoxiously climb on a soapbox and get too preachy. This is real food for real people, spun through the fabric of the lives of two men from opposite corners of the world who made their dream their home."

-Andrew Zimmern - Author, host and creator of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern

"Urban and Urbane, Suvir and Charlie are unlikely farmers. They come from different worlds but have created their own wonderful one at American Masala Farm where the guiding principles are sustainability, hospitality, deliciousness and fun. I can't wait to go back and cook with them at the farm. Meanwhile, I can revive my taste memories in my own kitchen when I cook the recipes from Masala Farm."

-Joyce Goldstein - Chef, Consultant & Author, Mediterranean Fresh and Tapas

"I LOVE this book! This food speaks to my hunger for approachable rustic cuisine and balances it with smart, modern twists and crisp honest photos.The recipes run the range of daily dishes and Sunday dinners to special occasion dining and they have me salivating and wanting to try them all."

-Scott Conant - TV Personality, chef and author

"How wonderful for us that Suvir and Charlie are living out everyone’s fantasy of growing our own food, cooking it brilliantly, and sharing it with friends, family, and community.  Masala Farm is a gorgeous introduction to regional American cooking with the flavors, colors, and aromas of India, perfectly assimilated, and mouthwatering in every bite."

-Marion Nestle - Author, Food Politics and What to Eat

"How fortunate we are to have another helping of Chef Suvir Saran's spice-laden world. This time, we get an intimate look into a life well-lived, including the home he and Charlie have created in upstate New York. It's a distinct slice of paradise and a place where one goes to restore the spirit and feed the soul.  The meals at American Masala Farm are simple yet remarkable. I recall morning feasts of pastry and fresh yard eggs, their yolks deep as persimmon, lunches of kitchen garden vegetables, the heat of fried peppers, and mostly, the sweetness of being at the table. Masala Farm is book to share and cook from every day."

-Kim Sunée, Author of Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home


"In this extraordinary new book Suvir merges his highly refined spice sensibility with the great produce of his adopted land. He also harvests favorite recipes from friends and worldwide travels such as the Farmhouse Crispy-Creamy Potatoes roasted with herbs, which he cleverly calls Herbes de Hebron as a riff on Herbes de Provence. And I was overjoyed to find the recipe for Manchurian Cauliflower, one of my favorite dishes at his New York City restaurant Devi, guaranteed to convert a professed detractor of the vegetable. Also gracing the book is a very special biscuit recipe—one that Suvir made for our breakfast along with his home-made jams. The secret to these exceptionally tender and buttery biscuits is that compared to most, they have half the cream and double the butter! Consummate host that he is, Suvir sent my father home with an ample supply of biscuits and jam, extending the visit back to the comforts of his own home.

This book is blessed with many glorious photographs, by the brilliantly talented Ben Fink, which illustrate the recipes and lifestyle that Suvir and Charlie share with sincere and engaging eloquence. For me every word rings true because it perfectly reflects my two visits to the farm. Once again I saw the huge golden white rooster who prefers to hang out with the bucks (male goats) to his own hens but sits trustingly and contentedly in Suvir’s embrace, and the alpacas whose lovely beige and brown furs become exquisitely soft yarn for knitting in the cold winter months and about whom Suvir says: ”They protect the goats and sheep, amuse us with their personalities, and enrich us with their fiber.”

Suvir is one of those rare individuals who possess a magnetic personality. All are drawn to him and want nothing more than to remain by his side to bask in the dynamic warmth, humor, generosity, and love that he radiates. But there is another side to Suvir—that of a sharply clever and playful master of the tease and please. He is full of surprises and his recipes reflect all of these enticing qualities. How wonderful to have this book by one’s side to cook from and to dream of an idyllic Masala Farm existence."

-Rose Levy Beranbaum Author of The Cake Bible, Rose's Heavenly Cakes and 7 other cookbooks