It’s a sign of a good cookbook when you fancy making something you’ve read, so much, you hop straight off to the shops to get the ingredients you need. Chai, Chaat & Chutney spurred me do just that. Inside the cheerfully-bright red and yellow cover are dozens of recipes for Indian street foods, that had me part salivating, part pipe dreaming about booking flights, and mentally planning my upcoming weekend meals around them. From finger food bites to hearty bowls, and few sweet treats for good measure, there’s plenty here for those wanting to cook outside the curry box (though, curries do feature).

This ode to Indian street food is the second cookbook by Jabalpur-born, former Great British Bake-Off finalist, Chetna Makan – her first, The Cardamom Trail was published in 2016, and focused mainly on baking. These are the foods Chetna has fond memories of queuing up for as a child with her family, tucking into as a fashion student in Mumbai, and discovering on her travels back to the country as an adult, from her current home in Kent. Chai, Chaat & Chutney is split into the four major cities, aiming to roughly cover all corners of India: Delhi (North), Kolkata (East), Chennai (South) and Mumbai (West). Each one is introduced with a description of the city and its distinctive street food flavours and cultures, and peppered throughout with colourful images to set the scene. The photos of street food sellers in action and Chetna’s evocative family tales, make you want to travel and taste the foods on location; while the simple-to-follow recipes, using easy-to-find ingredients and common kitchen cupboard staples, make them accessible to the home cook.

It was Chai, Chaat & Chutneys Malai Prawn Curry (pg. 105), from the Kolkata section, that piqued my interest enough to head out for the extra ingredients I needed. The photo summed up exactly what I fancied that Friday evening, and the instructions made it sound like a cinch to make (which isn’t always the case with Indian food) and the dauntingly long list of ingredients that often accompanies each recipe. It’s a creamy dish, without a drop of cream; the comforting richness comes from coconut milk and a paste made from blending up milk-soaked fennel seeds and cashew nuts. Chilli powder, ground turmeric and garam masala provide the warmth, kick and colour, and the overall effect, taking about 15 mins to cook – it was one of those dishes you want to lick clean; that seem like they must’ve taken a great deal of effort, but don’t at all.

The next day, I eyed up the Egg Chops (pg. 84) –  also from Kolkata – for lunch. A big fan of Scotch eggs, these instantly appealed. A little more effort than the curry, but, requiring very basic skills – chopping, mashing, boiling, frying. The end result looked like something you’d pick up at Maltby Street Market for four quid a pop. Mighty fine indeed.

There’s much in the Kolkata section I’m looking forward to making soon: the Moong Dal with Cashews (pg. 66) and the battered aubergine Baigan Bhaja (pg.69) are two cases in point; definitely the stand-out chapter for me, though I’m equally intrigued by the Pani Puri (pg. 181), from Delhi, which Chetna cites as her ‘all-time favourite street food’; they’re reminiscent of Shanghai soup dumplings, and look fiddly, but worth it. Ditto the doughnut-y Medu Vada (Chennai, pg.35) and sweet-spicy Bhakarwadi (Mumbai, pg. 164), which look like an Indian take on the cinnamon bun – ones to master at the weekend.

Chai, Chaat & Chutney is an enticing introduction to one of the main pulls to visit India – the street food – a handy travel partner to navigate the myriad of stalls and tastes on offer, and a delicious addition to the kitchen shelf for you to sink your teeth into until you get there.

Published by Mitchell Beazley, Chetna Makan’s Chai, Chaat & Chutney: A Street Food Journey Through India is available to buy online here.