Tag Archives: indian

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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Eggs with Fresh Green Herbs

Eggs with fresh green herbs

R is usually the one that makes breakfast in the household. It usually involves eggs, potatoes and whatever random spices/ingredients he wants to use that day. My breakfasts are always a little bit more structured and often never the same recipe.

These eggs from Madhur Jaffrey’s book Quick and Easy Indian Cooking have so much flavour to them. There is minimal prep work involved with big results. If you’re cautious about the heat, I would start off with half of a chile and adjust accordingly next time you make it. Make sure to do prep everything beforehand as you’ll need all the ingredients on hand right away.

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Embracing the spice

I am probably the biggest spice wimp you will ever know. Until recently, I never put pepper in my meals. BBQ chips are too spicy. I refuse people who offer gum in those bubble packs because they are too spicy. Movie Man loves spice. The hot sauce bottle is never far from him as he puts it in everything.

Recently I’ve been trying to embrace more spice. In L.A. I fell in love with Chipotle’s gigantic burritos even though they were very spicy (the Corona also helped). I then went on to eat Indian food for the first time. People told me that the only thing I could eat that wasn’t spicy was the butter chicken and naan. The butter chicken ended up being spicy. Even though my face started to look like I got too much sun, the back of my neck felt like steam was coming out of it, and I was downing my mango lassi like nobody’s business…I was hooked.

Movie Man was shocked when I suggested buying Vij’s: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine cookbook and happily agreed to it. I can’t wait to try the recipes from this book. I first learned about it through my co-volunteer who said that this restaurant is one of the best Indian restaurants in the world and the recipes he’s tried have all been fantastic. That night, I saw the restaurant being reviewed on the Food Network and so I was persuaded to look for the book on Amazon. There are a couple of recipes on the restaurant website and also on the Indigo’s website.

Related recipes:

YouTube clip on how to make naan
Double Pink Lassi
Frozen Yoghurt Lassi
Butter chicken

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