The Flavor Equation: The Science of Great Cooking Explained: More Than 100 Essential Recipes by Nik Sharma

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Chouriço buns (Pao)

    • SheilaS on October 18, 2021

      This dough was very easy to work with. I used the chouriço recipe from Nik's previous book, Season. The filling was loose. I had a hard time getting it to hold together in balls and eventually twisted them tightly in plastic wrap. Once chilled thoroughly, they held together nicely and were easy to wrap with the dough.

  • Paneer + beet salad with mango-lime dressing

    • SheilaS on October 29, 2021

      Great twist on the classic beet salads with warm cheese. The marinade, following by grilling really adds great flavor to the paneer. That final sprinkle of amchur makes the salad look a bit dusty but adds a perfect punch of tartness.

    • potatooryam on April 15, 2021

      I loved the beet and paneer combination and might make this again without the arugula (I found the dressing just a little too heavy for the greens).

    • justfoxie on January 08, 2021

      Definitely going into our regular rotation. Both the marinade and the dressing are really incredible.

  • Chickpea, spinach + potato "samosa pie"

    • mcvl on December 07, 2020

      Lacking ingredients and drive, I made a reduced version of the recipe using only spinach, chickpeas, and the flavorings as a sauce for couscous. Quite good, I would make it again this way. I am, however, scandalized at Sharma's tolerance for canned chickpeas. Cooking dried chickpeas from scratch is easy, and they have better texture than canned.

    • bernalgirl on February 19, 2021

      Comes together easily, can cook the potatoes in advance to make day-of prep easier. I would follow others who suggest upping the spices -- texturally this is great but potatoes and chickpeas absorb a lot of flavor. My first time workin with phyllo and it came together beautifully! I served it with store-bought tamarind-date and cilantro chutneys.

    • anya_sf on January 26, 2021

      This really did taste like a samosa. I omitted the fresh chili so there was just a bit of heat from the chili powder. Increased the spinach to 8 oz. Unfortunately, my phyllo had been in the freezer too long and the sheets stuck together a lot. I was able to cobble together scraps for the bottom, then some mostly full sheets for the top. Funnily, the smaller bits and pieces actually gave the top the desired ruffled appearance. After 45 minutes the pie was just light brown on top; next time I'd bake it a little longer.

    • Lsblackburn1 on January 18, 2021

      Loved the flavors in this! I wish I’d made a cilantro chutney to serve with it (just like I have with samosas). Went really well with the mulligatawny.

    • dc151 on January 21, 2021

      I loved the flavors of this. Really delicious. I doubled the filling since I was feeding six people, but didn't double the phyllo, which resulted in the phyllo ratio too low. I think I'll make two next time, or skip the phyllo altogether. It wasn't difficult to make, but it was time-consuming, taking 2 3/4 hours total.

    • Twysbeek on January 31, 2021

      Doubled all the spices, added an extra potato. Very easy, huge payoff. Served with tamarind and date chutney (just buy pre-made date syrup)

  • Black pepper chicken

    • TrishaCP on October 23, 2021

      I thought this was exquisite. This recipe really highlighted the floral and heat notes of the pepper and the earthiness of the turmeric. (The recipe also uses fennel and coriander, but they were more background players.) I did marinate overnight, and I would add that I think you should use the freshest and best quality spices that you can for this one. I agree with Darcie that the cooking times were off. I doubled the time for cooking the onions, as well as the chicken. (And the onion could have gone longer.)

    • darcie_b on January 18, 2021

      Delicious dish that is more than the sum of its parts. It took longer to cook than the recipe states.

  • Cucumber + roasted corn salad

    • Astrid5555 on August 29, 2021

      Excellent, barbecued my corn and substituted brown mustard seeds for black ones. Delicious dressing, will be making again as a side for grilled fish!

  • Masala shrimp

    • bernalgirl on July 09, 2021

      So easy and so flavorful, this is a great appetizer as he describes but it’s also a favorite dinner for family and can be thrown together on a weeknight.

    • VineTomato on October 17, 2021

      Delicious and easy to make. Served with gunpowder fries and goats cheese dip.

  • Goan yellow fish curry (Caldine)

    • bernalgirl on August 30, 2021

      This very mild curry comes together easily and results in a delicately flavored sauce snd beautifully tender cod. It was too mild for my family, however.

    • Lsblackburn1 on June 06, 2021

      Lovely delicate flavors in this. Served with basmati rice and naan. Easy to make, too.

    • Cathyschuh on September 17, 2021

      This is fabulous and flexible. Added cherry tomato. Made it with flounder (delicious), then the next day used the leftover curry sauce, added some coconut milk to thin it and threw in shrimp and tofu. It was like a brothy curry soup over rice.

    • allisonsemele on July 19, 2021

      Upped the ginger slightly and served with rice. I think this would be good with shrimp, too.

  • Couscous with sesame-roasted carrots + feta

    • bernalgirl on February 19, 2021

      Absolutely great recipe, comes together easily and so much flavor and texture. Can't wait to make this again.

    • meggan on February 08, 2021

      I used pearl couscous so this was probably gummier than it should have been but it was still delicious.

    • Yildiz100 on December 26, 2020

      Very nice. I would probably make this with coin sized carrots in the future so I can stir them into the couscous and serve this as a salad in a big bowl instead of plating individual sides. The plating as written is more for presentation than anything else. I was very surprised by how well these flavors complimented each other. I would also make this without the feta if I didnt have it on hand. The feta wasnt very noticeable. Made a half recipe of the dressing and it was plenty. As for the couscous, reduce water to 3/4 cup, and 1 clove of garlic is enough. Maybe roast extra garlic cloves next time. They are delicious!

  • Masala cheddar cornbread

    • bernalgirl on April 07, 2021

      I made the mistake of using coconut oil, which was a bit cloying and did not caramelize the way butter would. Overall this is interesting but does not replace our favorite, the buttermilk cornbread from Jubilee, which is both light and well-edged from the butter and cast iron pan. May try this recipe in a pan to see what happens. I halved the recipe, which worked fine as all ingredients are given in easily split quantities and no one here loves leftover cornbread *that* much, but the full recipe could be great for a crowd. It’s very moist so should travel well.

  • Stir-fried cabbage

    • bernalgirl on March 03, 2021

      Very simple and delicious.

  • Goan shrimp, olive + tomato pulao

    • bernalgirl on March 20, 2021

      This has promise but was a bit bland. Next time I’d use the whole can of tomato paste and definitely more salt. If do that before changing the flavor profile with other spices. Easy enough, very methodical and only one pot and a sheetpan, so if you have a solid hour this is a reasonable weeknight option. Note that the recipe doesn’t say when to add the frizzled onions but they were great on too with black olives and green onions, and the black olives were the anchor food that hooked my 8 yr old.

  • Chickpea salad with date + tamarind dressing

    • bernalgirl on August 12, 2021

      I used RG chickpeas cooked with turmeric per the Heidi Swanson recipe, and skipped the dill because I was out. The tart-sweet dressing and the textures are outstanding.

  • Green beans with preserved lemons + crème fraîche

    • bernalgirl on August 19, 2021

      What an outstanding combination of flavors! I wanted a warm side dish so I pan-charred the green beans and tossed them with the roasted shallots and lemony crème fraîche, otherwise I followed the recipe and the whole family enjoyed it. While there are multiple components, they are easily managed and this came together in the time it took to roast potatoes and grill some sausages.

    • spatterson88 on November 01, 2021

      This was delicious and I can’t wait to make it again. However, the shallots take much longer than the book suggests. Mine took 50 minutes.

  • Herb + paneer pulao

    • bernalgirl on July 09, 2021

      Absolutely delicious, the herbs add a fresh counterpoint to the perfectly cooked, well-spiced basmati rice. This is a keeper, and went nicely with the masala shrimp and a simple tomato kachumber.

    • spatterson88 on April 05, 2021

      Will use the air fryer for the paneer next time. Otherwise it came together pretty easily.

  • Roasted butternut squash + pomegranate molasses soup

    • bernalgirl on April 07, 2021

      Outstanding, easy recipe with so much flavor, not at all sweet and cloying. Tips for next time: I made 1.5x the recipe to serve as a main, had about two cups leftover. Watch the Aleppo pepper, it can get spicy. And this soup benefits from a good 10-30” sit with the lid on to allow the flavors to develop before serving.

    • FJT on October 05, 2021

      I used white miso paste instead of the Worcestershire sauce to make it gluten-free. Just after this was first made it seemed wonderfully balanced in flavour. When I came to reheat it a few hours later the Aleppo pepper was the predominant flavour, so I would cut back on this next time or maybe not make it so far in advance. On the whole we enjoyed it though.

    • darcie_b on January 18, 2021

      I only used half as much Worcestershire and thought it well balanced. I think more would have been too much. The pomegranate molasses adds a nice sour note.

    • lizbot2000 on November 07, 2020

      This was really good and easy. I liked the extra pizzaz from the pomegranate molasses and pepper.

    • lizbot2000 on November 17, 2020

      This was unexpectedly good for how simple it was to make. I used urfa chili flakes and I think they and the pomegranate did a lot of work toward making this more than just a standard blended squash soup.

    • dc151 on January 30, 2021

      We felt the Aleppo pepper overpowered the other flavors. Next time I'll cut back.

  • Tomato aachari polenta tart

    • bernalgirl on July 25, 2021

      I was very excited about this recipe (summer tomatoes!), I loved the flavors but not the textures. The polenta stays too soft for my taste (and there’s too much of it). I did make the mistake of using a ceramic tart pan, perhaps the polenta would have developed a more crisp bottom with metal. But I stopped filling the pan with a full cup of prepared polenta left over, and the proportions still seemed wrong, with way to much bland polenta against not enough tomatoes and cheese. I might fiddle with this one, perhaps stirring some flour and seasoning into the polenta.

  • Baked sweet potatoes with maple crème fraîche

    • darcie_b on January 18, 2021

      Excellent balance of flavors. Potatoes took longer to bake than the recipe stated.

    • dc151 on January 23, 2021

      This is my new favorite food! It was perfection. Subbed in sour cream and hazelnuts as suggested since they were on hand. Cooking time was perfect for me. This sauce was AMAZING! I actually can’t stop thinking about it

  • Crab tikka masala dip

    • meggan on June 02, 2021

      Woah - so good!

    • maestra on February 08, 2021

      This is fantastic. I used chopped shrimp that I had in the freezer instead of crab, but you don't need a seafood or protein at all. The base is a delicious spread. We ate so much of this and an avocado-spinach dip from Bryant Terry's Vegetable Kingdom on Superbowl Sunday that the rest of our planned meal was either canceled or postponed by hours. Excellent party dish, when we have parties again.

    • patioweather on June 21, 2021

      It was good but I still felt like it mostly just tasted like cream cheese with crab. Maybe my spices are too old.

    • Lsblackburn1 on June 19, 2021

      Delicious! I used a Spanish smoked paprika and ancho chili powder. Everyone loved this.

  • Shepherd's pie with kheema + chouriço

    • meggan on February 20, 2021

      This is fantastic! I didn’t have chorizo and just used garlic sausage.

  • Chicken kanji

    • meggan on February 10, 2021

      This was great - the chutney really makes it. A couple things- I used boneless chicken thighs which was fine but I did pull them out let the rice cook more. Also, I don’t know how 1/2 a cup of rice is supposed to be enough for 4 people; It was barely enough for two. Last, maybe put the cloves and bay leaves in a bouquet garni bag situation. My husband swallowed a clove which led to some dramatic gagging and looks of reproach.

    • lizbot2000 on November 07, 2020

      I love congee/jook/kanji/etc and have made it regularly for years. This is the best version of it I've ever made, and I'll never go back to any of the other types. The spices were excellent, and the shallots and chutney really made it taste special. I made it for family who ate it all and very pointedly commented that I should make it again.

    • Dannausc on April 18, 2021

      Quite easy. Pretty decent.

  • Manchow soup

    • Yildiz100 on November 15, 2021

      Ok, but not super special. Would make it again if I had everything on hand, but probably wouldnt go out of my way. Used Napa cabbage for the cabbage. Needed a bit more water to fully submerge veg. Otherwise, followed recipe exactly.

  • Hibiscus (ginger pepper) refresher

    • Yildiz100 on May 07, 2021

      Too sweet. Needed lemon and extra water to balance it out. I prefer making hibiscus drinks where the entire thing is infused with hibiscus rather than this way, where you make a concentrate and then dilute it. Won't drink the rest of this as the book intended, but I would flavor a cocktail with it.

  • Gunpowder oven "fries" with goat cheese dip

    • VineTomato on October 17, 2021

      Nik calls for russet potatoes, which were not available. I used plain old white potatoes and they didn't crisp up, we were left with some soggy old fries - not the best. In South Africa you would say a 'slap chip', often sought out! The flavours were good and the goats cheese dip really good. Mr VT was not a fan of the rather overwhelming ghee smell while cooking but liked the end result (minus the soggy texture). If I make this again I'll go for Kind Edwards and avo oil which I know makes a good oven chip!

  • Spareribs in malt vinegar + mashed potatoes

    • Jojobuch on June 10, 2021

      Used cider vinegar, which worked well - ribs were very tender after the long time in the oven. I also liked the mashed potatoes, which felt lighter than the normal milk/butter variety I make. Adding the garlic and nigella seeds gave it some nice extra flavor. Will make again.

  • Shaved Brussels sprouts salad

    • Jojobuch on June 10, 2021

      This is a fine Brussel sprout salad but felt like nothing special.

    • Twysbeek on January 23, 2021

      Plan on the shallots taking a lot longer to really caramelize and become crispy--closer to 1.5 hours.

  • Dal makhani

    • Lepa on April 06, 2021

      This was pretty good. Not my favorite dal but we liked it. I liked the inclusion of kidney beans, as the mixture made a nice texture. We used 1/2 the ginger and garlic, per the recipe, because we were cooking for children and didn't want it to be too "fiery." I think we could have used a bit more spice so maybe I'll use 3/4 next time. The ingredient list on EYB, strangely enough, is not accurate and not at all like the recipe.

  • Roasted cauliflower in turmeric kefir

    • grindabod on November 29, 2021

      I love how to me this felt like a nod to cauliflower in béchamel sauce, a dish from my childhood (one of those "vegetables" that all children love). The warm spices are really lovely in this, and thanks to the chickpea flour roux you can heat through your dairy without any fear of it curdling.

    • turnipgreens on January 30, 2021

      I used fresh full-fat buttermilk in place of kefir. Besan flour takes a while to cook out, it thickened quite a bit, so I had to add more buttermilk at the end to get a proper sauce. The final flavor of the sauce is a bit strange - only half the family liked it. Therefore I served the cauliflower and sauce separately. Final tadka is essential. This recipe will not make it to repeat status in our house.

    • DFarnham on December 30, 2020

      We liked this dish. Made exactly as written, using buttermilk. I would try keifer next time. My buttermilk was very thick, and I thought it was a tad heavy for the dish.

  • Chocolate miso bread pudding

    • lizbot2000 on November 27, 2020

      This was good, but I thought it needed something. I ended up making a bourbon glaze for it, because that's the way we've always had bread pudding. I only had time to leave it for an hour, and I think my bread pieces were too big and there were too many of them. So if you give smaller pieces longer to soak in the liquid, you probably won't necessarily need a glaze to pour over it like I did.

    • pattyatbryce on April 26, 2021

      VERY rich. Needs ice cream or something to cut it. I liked it, but it's not an every day recipe.

  • Collard greens, chickpea + lentil soup

    • lizbot2000 on November 17, 2020

      This was the least successful recipe I've tried from this cookbook, which is to say it was quite good but not at the level some of the others have been.

  • Chicken hakka noodles (Indo-Chinese)

    • lizbot2000 on November 17, 2020

      This was really, really delicious. I didn't make the accompanying sauces, but I want to next time because I bet they make it even better. This is a great way to cram a ton of veggies into one meal without really noticing how veggie-heavy it is. I subbed bok choy (sliced white parts with the other veggies, green parts at the end) for the green beans, which I'm not a fan of in stir fries.

  • Roasted chicken thighs + vegetables

    • lizbot2000 on November 07, 2020

      This was very easy and fast, but took standard roasted chicken and vegetables to a higher level than the recipes I'd normally make. The almost burnt peas were really unexpectedly good. Next time I think I will take the chicken out and roast the veggies even longer, because I like them even more soft and charred.

    • Lsblackburn1 on March 18, 2021

      This is the kind of meal my son wishes I’d make for every dinner! Simple, classic and tasty. I usually don’t think I like frozen peas, but roasted with the marinade, they were delicious!

  • Blistered shishito peppers with bonito flakes

    • mjes on September 11, 2021

      Blistered shishitos is a common recipe -- the soy sauce and bonito flakes enhance the peppers. Recommended.

  • Polenta kheer

    • leilx on February 11, 2021

      Made this for breakfast and it was delicious. changes: I used regular cardamom, and a combination of milk and cream instead of evaporated milk. It was enough for several breakfasts for me and reheated easily.

  • Saffron swirl buns with dried fruit

    • leilx on February 11, 2021

      Fantastic! Like a cinnamon bun but different flavors. I used different fried fruits based on what I had around the house. For the final rise, I put it in the fridge overnight and then let it sit out awhile in the morning. The golden syrup adds a nice touch of sweetness.

  • Indo-Sichuan sauce

    • TonyInSeattle on April 15, 2021

      Very good! We use the leftovers on sandwiches or on roasted cauliflower.

  • Chicken coconut curry

    • Dannausc on April 18, 2021

      Good and tasty

  • Garlic + ginger dal with greens

    • damjih on May 06, 2021

      Made with spinach instead of kale, but this has almost zero flavour, kind of odd with this book name. Ive made similar recipes before that have more spices and tomatoes or something added too.

  • Grilled hearts of romaine with chilli pumpkin seeds

    • Lsblackburn1 on January 17, 2021

      Nice sweet, sour, spicy flavors going on with this. The dressing recipe makes way more than you need, so I’ll have to figure out another use for it.

  • Warm kale, white bean + mushroom salad with chilli tahini

    • Lsblackburn1 on December 17, 2020

      Super easy to put together and very delicious! This made a nice light dinner served with bread and cheese. I used 2 bundles of kale (not sure about the weight), which seemed like the right ratio for the other ingredients.

  • Roasted delicata squash with herbed yogurt dressing

    • Lsblackburn1 on November 16, 2020

      Loved the dressing for this! The recipe makes a lot so it’s a good idea to serve it with a main that can use it. For me that was lamb meatballs and flatbread. I used jarred tamarind chutney. Excellent meal.

  • Beef chilli fry with pancetta

    • Lsblackburn1 on April 20, 2021

      I really liked this. Relatively easy week-night dinner served over white rice. One red chili was the perfect amount of heat for me.

  • Roasted eggplant raita

    • Lsblackburn1 on May 30, 2021

      I doubled this because I thought one eggplant would not be enough and now I have a ton of leftovers! Not a problem because this was very delicious as part of a meze spread. Served with flatbread and pita chips - both great vehicles for the spread.

  • Braised cabbage with coconut

    • DFarnham on December 30, 2020

      This was a miss for me. The cabbage/onion mixture was just okay. The toppings of sliced fresno, cilantro and shredded coconut held all the flavor. Not a repeat.

  • Burnt shallot dip

    • jenburkholder on February 08, 2021

      I quite enjoyed this, although I don't know that anyone else was that taken with it. On the tart side.

  • Lemon-lime mintade

    • Twysbeek on January 27, 2021

      Delightful! Double the recipe, it is super easy.

  • Pomegranate + poppy seed wings

    • allisonsemele on August 31, 2021

      Did not have the time or fridge space to dry the wings for more than a couple hours, so my wings were not perfectly crispy, but this was still a very satisfying and easy dinner. Sauce is delicious.

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  • ISBN 10 1452182698
  • ISBN 13 9781452182698
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Oct 27 2020
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 304
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Chronicle Books

Publishers Text

Aroma, texture, sound, emotion—these are just a few of the elements that play into our perceptions of flavor.

The Flavor Equation demonstrates how to convert approachable spices, herbs, and commonplace pantry items into tasty, simple dishes.

In this groundbreaking book, Nik Sharma, scientist, food blogger, and author of the buzz-generating cookbook Season, guides home cooks on an exploration of flavor via 115 recipes.

• Provides inspiration and knowledge to both home cooks and seasoned chefs • An in-depth exploration into the science of taste • Features Nik Sharma's evocative, trademark photography style

The Flavor Equation is an accessible guide to elevating elemental ingredients to make delicious dishes that hit all the right notes, every time.

Recipes include Brightness: Lemon-Lime Mintade, Saltiness: Roasted Tomato and Tamarind Soup, Sweetness: Honey Turmeric Chicken Kebabs with Pineapple, Savoriness: Soba Noodles with Mushrooms and Walnut Sauce, and Richness: Coconut Milk Cake.

• A global, scientific approach to cooking from bestselling cookbook author Nik Sharma • Dives deep into the most basic of our pantry items—salts, oils, sugars, vinegars, citrus, peppers, and more • Perfect gift for home cooks who want to learn more beyond recipes, those interested in the science of food and flavor, and readers of Lucky Peach, Serious Eats, Indian-Ish, and Koreatown • Add it to the shelf with cookbooks like The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by J. Kenji López-Alt; The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg; and Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat.



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