Strolling through a long list of book recommendations on amazon I came across Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz. This tiny little book was a brilliant revelation and an excellent way to introduce one to the concept of fermentation. Easily readable in one sitting, Wild Fermentation helps you understand what fermentation is all about, without scaring you with too many techniques or complex methodologies.
The book is written by Sandor Ellix Katz who is a DIY food expert, food writer, herbalist, activist and craftsperson amongst other things. Of Jewish decent, Kratz was born and raised in New York City and is a graduate from Brown University. In 1993, he shifted to Short Mountain Sanctuary, a queer international community situated deep in the wooded hills of Tennessee. An AIDS survivor, Katz credits fermented foods to be an integral part of his healing process.
Wild Fermentation discusses a host of simple DIY recipes ranging from Yoghurt to Indonesian Tempeh. The recipes are uncomplicated with few ingredients and fewer steps to follow. Katz makes the entire process sound effortless with his simple step by step comments that focus more on touch and feel rather than precision and time. Some of the ingredients might be a little hard to find in Mumbai but Amazon usually does a good job of stocking exotic / foreign ingredients so be sure to check there first.
I particularly liked his sourdough recipe and have used it a number of times in my bread workshops when discussing the simplicity of creating natural ferments. I also found the Kimchi and Sauerkraut recipes to be extremely easy to follow and yielded delicious results. If you aren’t a seasoned cook, some of the recipes in this book are a great way to begin and get your hands dirty as there is very little scope for making mistakes.
There is an extended book-length version of the same book called Wild Fermentation: The Flavour, Nutrition and Craft of Live-Culture Foods which has gained many accolades since it was first published in 2003. One can catch Sandor Katz at one of the many food workshops he conducts across Northern America.