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Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen: Traditional and Creative Recipes for the Home Cook Paperback – Illustrated, May 19, 2015
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From the Publisher
Mom’s Okra and Onion Stir-Fry (Pyaaz Waali Bhindi)
Prep: 10 minutes | Active: 15 minutes | Inactive: 45 minutes |Serves 4
Either you like okra or you hate it. This recipe might help you like it. Okra is cooked with onions until crisp and no hint of slime remains. This is another one of Mom’s simple recipes. She cooks the okra, spiced with just cayenne and turmeric, on low heat for an hour so it is perfectly crisped. Serve this easy and delicious stir-fry with any of the spicy dals or spicy curries. (Shown in thali photo, page 19, at top right.)
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the green chile and cook for 2 minutes. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Add the okra and turmeric, mix well, and cook uncovered for 35 to 45 minutes, stirring twice while cooking.
- Once the okra is cooked to your preference, add salt and cayenne. Mix well and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Serve hot.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds or fennel seeds with the green chile at Step 1.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon dry mango powder or 1/4 teaspoon Indian black salt at the end and mix well.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon garam masala along with the salt.
- 2 teaspoons safflower or other neutral oil
- 1 to 2 hot green chiles, finely chopped (remove seeds to reduce heat)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped or thinly sliced red onion
- 3 cups chopped fresh okra
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Street-Style Tempeh Wrap
Butternut Coconut Red Lentil Curry
Sweet and Spicy Baked Cauliflower
There are no shortage of Indian cookbooks published, but this one bests them all. There is so much more to Indian food than Butter Chicken. Choose your own flavor explosion! The photos in the book are stunning. The recipes are weeknight friendly. -- T.O.F.U. Magazine.
Exotic and richly developed, Richa's plant-based, spiced Indian recipes are neither too complicated nor made with ingredients too obscure to find, to make them unapproachable for the home cook. Complex flavors and textures, hallmarks of Indian cuisine, are the big draw to the 150 recipes in this book, but so, is the photography. -- Bluffton Today.
Once in a while, a food blogger comes along who goes the extra mile or 70. Richa combines a respect for tradition with a modern cook's pragmatism and in doing so, many recipes trade painstaking effort and hours in the kitchen for much more convenience without sacrificing the most important detail: fantastic food. -- Marla Rose, Vegan Street.
I love this cookbook because it displays an array of whole, plant-based foods that are truly nutritious, combining grains and legumes with a wide variety of vegetables, while offering ridiculously delicious dishes with aromas that will totally keep you hooked. Each recipe indicates whether it is, or could be made soy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free - and that includes the breads! -- The Vegan Woman.
From the Author
- Publisher : Vegan Heritage Press, LLC; Illustrated edition (May 19, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1941252095
- ISBN-13 : 978-1941252093
- Item Weight : 1.53 pounds
- Dimensions : 7.6 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #22,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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I received the book a week ago. Here are the recipes I've tried so far: Spicy South Indian Tofu Scramble, Street Style Tempeh Wraps, Mint Cilantro Chile Chutney, Mashed Potato Fritters (baked), Dad's Favorite Cauliflower Potatoes, Tofu in Spinach Curry, and South Indian Chickpea Eggplant Stew. Every recipe was amazing and my husband and I were so impressed with how well the Mashed Potato Fritters turned out. The book is perfect in every way. The recipes are clear, concise, and well organized. The photographs are appetizing and inspiring. Richa gives preparation choices, always allowing you to make recipes low fat and healthy. The flavors are just fabulous. I've owned other vegetarian Indian cookbooks before, but have usually found that the recipes are excessively complicated or just too high fat. I did visit a local Indian grocery store and stock up on recommended spices and ingredients, a small investment that has already paid great dividends! These foods are even better than Indian restaurant foods because they are not heavy, loaded with greasy coconut milk, or fried.
My only problem with this book is that I have to force myself to use my other cookbooks sometimes.
Update: I have had this book for many months now and I've come to the conclusion that this book needs it's own category: cooking magic! The recipes are superb. I have not been disappointed in anything that I have made. An added bonus is that my house smells heavenly whenever I make any of these recipes. Recommended without hesitation.
I'll start with the overall look of the book itself. The size of the book is very practical- not huge like some of my cookbooks but large enough enough to make the pictures and text very easy to read and interpret. I do not believe that every single recipe has an associated photo but many of them do and they definitely inspire you to cook.
Organization is very important with any cookbook- from the standpoint of technique, I think this is where this book really shines. Most "ethnic" cookbooks start with an introductory section that covers the basic ingredients- particularly those that may be a little more unusual to their target audience. Richa takes this a step further, this section is chapter 1- she breaks it up into sections and gives an overview of what each ingredient is and what it actually contributes to the cuisine. I also appreciate that she gives both the English names and the Hindi for the various ingredients. This is very helpful when shopping for two reasons:
1) Some of the ingredients given do not actually have a meaningful English name that are widely used
2) Some of the ingredients do have an English name- but it is shared with something more common here (e.g. There is both a "Bay Leaf" common in the US, and a "Bay Leaf" used in Indian cuisine- tejpatta which is more closely related to Cinnamon than to Sweet Bay common in the US)
The last thing I will say about this section is that she tops it off with a shopping list of Indian ingredients broken down into "Must Have" ingredients, "Good to Have" ingredients, and "Nice to Have" ingredients. I found this incredibly helpful when I started because I was able to go online to an Indian grocer and simply add one of everything from the "Must Have" and one of each of the harder to find locally items from the "Good to Have" list. I spent less than $100 and don't anticipate needing to buy Indian spices for a long time.
Now for the recipes. The first thing I will say is that this is not the best cookbook to buy if you are looking for recipes which are quick and easy- done in 30 minutes. This is a book you buy if you are looking for quality and an authentic flavor. The biggest thing I appreciate about this book is the apparent commitment to authentic ingredients. Richa seems unapologetic about the relative obscureness of some of the ingredients and I like that (and really she should be unapologetic- this is the 21st century, everything in her book can be found online or at an Indian Market if you live close to one). For those without a local Indian market, she does provide some links to online grocers. She does provide suggestions for substitutions with regard to some of the ingredients but I have not found it necessary to use them.
The books contains a lot of the classics (Vegan styled) you would expect to see at your favorite Indian restaurant (Particularly one which draws from Punjabi cuisine)- Palak Tofu (Palak Paneer), Chana Masala, "Dad's Favorite Cauliflower Potatoes" (Gobi Aloo), Tempeh Tikka Masala (A veganized version of Chicken Tikka Masala). Additionally, she adds in a few recipes which seem to demonstrate her creative side a little more (e.g. Avocado Naan).
I found the recipes to have a lot of depth and complexity to them. They do take a considerable amount more time than I think some people might be used to putting into a recipe; however, if you prep your ingredients ahead of time it really makes your life much much simpler in this respect (Most of the recipes I have worked with to date have over 20 ingredients each- most of which are spices of some kind). Many of the recipes take longer but most of this it time spent simmering or boiling down rather than attention demanding time. Again, prepping ahead of time really makes a huge difference.
The only negative I can think of is that some of the recipes were not clear on some points (or I missed a detail somewhere) such as when to boil with the lid on and when to do so with the lid off. Sometimes she specifies this and sometimes I think she assumes it is clear from context. Given how much time is spent boiling things down this distinction is pretty important but I did find as time went on and I got used to the recipes I found myself reading between the lines and sort of intuitively knowing what to do. My best advice is when in doubt- either try to find the recipes on her website or find a similar recipe elsewhere and see what they do. I also found that some of the recipes seemed to call for too little water or other liquid- admittedly this may have been my misinterpretation of technique. There have been recipes which I questioned but tried out and had great results.
Overall, if you are looking for something leaning in the authentic flavor direction and plant based then you can't go wrong with this book. My recommendations based on the recipes I have worked through so far-
1) Start on the low end with salt and add to flavor toward the end. Many of these dishes can become overly salty pretty easily. This is especially true with the black salt which adds a wonderful flavor to dishes like Channa Masala but if you add too much can quickly make your dish taste "eggy".
2) Man of these dishes can burn very very easily if you are not careful. It will take a little getting used to but when you are cooking down be sure to keep an eye on things and deglaze with water before you get to the burning point if needed- I found that my cooking times often varied from what the book stated.
3) Definitely read the entire recipe ahead of time and make sure you understand each step. It is also very much worth your time to read chapter 1 before you make a single recipe (18 pages- many of which are charts or pictures)
4) I like to prep my ingredients ahead of time according to step. I put all of my step 1 spices into a cup, step 2 spices and vegetables, etc... that way when the time comes I just have to pour them into the pot.
5) These techniques take practice. I would suggest not trying a new recipe on guests. Make it a time or two for yourself and see how it goes first. Many of my first attempts ended up in the trash (Gobi Aloo being a good example- first try was a smoking disaster).
I really appreciated the time estimates given, the clarity of the instructions, the presence of great GF, soy-free and nut-free modifications, and the delicious end result. I think a lot of vegan authors feature a few "Indian" dishes, but these are authentic, and give a great sense of the scope and diversity of the cuisine and an access to making those wonderful dishes at home.
Another thing I love about this book, as a vegan, is that Richa has always supported animal protection causes in the US and India, and I was so happy that part of the proceeds of this book are going to those causes as well. I really appreciate her compassion and her dedication not just to the flavors of the food, but also to helping animals.
Top reviews from other countries
I recently decided to try vegan cooking, and decided to try original vegan recipes rather than trying to modify traditional recipes with a variety of substitutes.
I really got lucky with this cookbook; it is so good that I want to try every single recipe!
The presentation is excellent, with colour photos for most of the dishes. The ingredients are listed in the order that you will need to use them, and the instructions are very well written and easy to understand.
There is an introductory section which describes all of the spices and equipment used in the book, which was very helpful for me as I have not cooked many Indian dishes before.
There's a section at the back of the book with recipes for spice blends like Garam Masala, Tandoori Masala, Sambhar, Chaat Masala and more. You don't need to gring your own spice blends, but if you want to be adventurous the recipes are there. There are also recipes to make your own chutneys.
There are recipes for other ingredients that may be difficult to find such as Vegan Paneer, Chickpea Tofu, Non-Dairy Yoghurt, Cashew Cream and more. Again, you don't need to make these if you don't want to or if you're not 100% vegan and prefer to buy such from the shops.
I would recommend that you consider an electric spice grinder/chopper ( James Martin Grind and Chop, 200 W )because if you love this book as much as I do you' may want to grind your own spices every day to get maximum flavour. A pressure cooker ( https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00XC935TO/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 ) is also very useful as you can cook the dishes containing dried legumes without soaking overnight first. However, you don't need a huge kitchen - I only have one hob and a combination micro/convection oven/grill ( Russell Hobbs RHM3003B 30L Digital 900W Combination Microwave, Black ).
I've only included the links to show you what I use, I am not associated with any of the retailers, manufacturers or the author.
We have a well stocked bean, spice and herb cupboard anyway, so didn't need to get anything special - you might be daunted by the amount of spices, in terms of preparation, but it's nothing. Read the recipe, get out the appropriate spices ahead of time, even combine those that can be combined - all part of the prep. If you do this, it's a cinch when you get round to the cooking.
It is an American book, so there are measurements in cups, but either buy a set of measuring cups, or to be honest, choosing a mug from your cupboard, and using that or cup measurement going forward, and you'll be fine.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough if you like Indian food - doesn't matter whether you're WFPB, Vegan, Vegetarian, or an Omnivore, this book should definitely be in your collection and used regularly.
I have always been a bit afraid of curries, as I imagined the amount of spices I would have to get would be too much, but actually once you get the main few, you can do most of the recipes with them.
I tried a few recipes, and all have been brilliant. The instructions are easy to follow, and everything tastes absolutely great. Recipes are also easily adaptable if I want to made them vegetarian instead of vegan. I have not tried everything, but what I did became some of my all time faves. So many of these can be done and packed away as lunches to take to work. Big thumbs up- and that comes from someone who would not imagine a few days without meat on the plate!