Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Vegan Indian Cooking

vegan_indian_cooking_coverI’ve added yet another vegan cookbook to my collection. This time Vegan Indian Cooking. I have a few Indian cookbooks, but sadly hardly used. I haven’t spent the $ that’s needed to buy all the spices that are required. On top of that, a lot of the recipes in those books are too complicated (exception: Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking. See review).

You do need a few spices to get the right taste. I’ve accepted this as a necessary part of Indian cooking and I’ve begun buying spices on an as-needed basis. I find if you start skipping a lot of spices, the end product becomes bland.

The recipes here are simple to prepare and flavourful. I made the tofu curry and I recommend baking the tofu first to boost the texture. The curry was easy to make and if you’re not vegan/vegetarian, this is a good base for meat like chicken. I knew this dish would turn out spicy so I omitted the teaspoon of cayenne which would have been suicide for me.

The sweet and sour potatoes even though the ingredient list is short, it doesn’t come off as bland.

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Chickpea poppers. I think the oven took longer to preheat than the actual bake time. The prep work is nearly zero and it’s healthy because it’s baked, not fried. I did find the original recipe makes a large batch so next time I’ll halve it. Singla, has the chickpea popper recipe posted on her blog.

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The Ripe Banana Curry is another easy one to prepare. It’s a nice change from using those over-ripe bananas for banana bread to make something more savoury.

As someone who can’t really tolerate spicy food, I found I had to tone down the recipes quite a bit. If you’re spice averse, I’d only use a fraction of what’s suggested or omitting some items completely (e.g. if a chile pepper is needed, you might not need the cayenne pepper as well). The index is a little frustrating to use and could be laid out better. They’re sorted by their title name and that makes it harder to find what you’re looking for. The banana curry, for example, wasn’t under banana or curry. It was listed under the Indian name and the title (which was a person). I’m not too familiar with the Indian names so I’d often have to flip through the book to find what I was looking for. Another thing I’d like to see is the serving size. The yield is stated, but serving sizes are my lazy way of seeing how many people it can feed. I do like how the author has included weights for some ingredients. I’d like to see more cookbook authors do this as a “large” potato is open to interpretation.

I’ve bookmarked more that I need to try (baked samosas, anyone?) and I really like how it’s health-focused without sacrificing taste.

Thanks to Agate Publishing for sending me a review copy. As always, reviews are my own opinions and I did not receive monetary compensation.

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Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts: Review and interview!

Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts

If I had to name one of the most influential people in my baking life, it would be Alice Medrich. Before her I didn’t know how to cook, let alone bake something edible. So when I had the chance to meet and interview her, I was afraid I came off as a creepy fan girl when I gushed about how instrumental she was in changing my life.

Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts would have been a great book for me to start my baking journey. Baking is all about precision and technique and the recipes here are more forgiving for those who are more carefree in their cooking style. If you’re a more experienced baker, don’t let the title put you off from buying it. It’s not just about composing different ingredients together, the book dives into more complicated recipes like souffles and tarts.

Note: You have a chance to win a copy of this book!

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One year and my Birthday

It’s been a wee bit over one year since I made the big move from Toronto to Vancouver. I’ve made some amazing friends, picked up a new sport (snowboarding!) and I’m still in awe when I see the mountains every day. It was a major adjustment getting used to the weather here. It was hard to handle the grey skies in the winter, spring…and part of summer.

My birthday passed a week ago and I was lucky enough to be taken to Minami for dinner. It’s the sister restaurant of Miku in Coal Harbour and located in Yaletown. It opened up recently and I wanted to try it, especially with the good reviews I saw. It did not disappoint at all. I can say that it is the best sushi I have ever had.

The prices for Minami are more expensive than what you can get at most sushi places in Vancouver (e.g. $25 for 7 pieces of aburi), but the quality that comes with it helps assuage the sticker shock. I like to think of this place as a splurge where you can treat yourself, but not too crazy where you can only afford to eat there once.

They serve aburi sushi (flame seared) that enhances the flavours of the fish. The use of charcoal imparts a slightly smoky taste to it.

Minami

Premium Aburi, a selection of Aburi sushi (Aburi Tenderloin Nigiri that I ordered is seen on the end)
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Spinach Pasta with Pesto

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They say that your first attempt at making pasta should be an easy, basic one without any fancy flavourings. Once you get the feeling for the dough, you can try other flavour combinations. Of course I ignore that sage advice and try my hand at spinach pasta.

Making pasta is a sensory experience. While most people are intimidated by strict instructions, I need structure. I like working in grams and digital thermometers so when I’m left to my own devices to judge whether something looks/feels “right”, my heart starts palpitating.

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